known for its national leadership, developing many programs
that have become models for other states to follow, such as animal
traceability and influenza response.
Dr. Bret Marsh – A Resume of Success
Twenty years into his job, Dr. Bret Marsh (PU DVM ’84) is
leading a distinguished career as the Indiana State Veterinarian.
After September 11, 2001, he was selected to serve on the
Homeland Security Staff in the office of the U.S. Secretary of
Agriculture. Dr. Marsh also is active in organized veterinary
medicine. He has served as president of the Purdue Veterinary
Alumni Association, Indiana Veterinary Medical Association,
United States Animal Health Association, and as treasurer of
the American Veterinary Medical Association. Additionally, Dr.
Marsh received Distinguished Alumnus Awards from both the
Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine and College of
Agriculture. Looking back over a 30 year career of service to the
State of Indiana, Dr. Marsh shared his perspectives in response to
the following questions.
How has the role of the State Veterinarian changed
over the past 30 years?
We serve an increasingly sophisticated constituency, and
BOAH is required to be as knowledgeable as possible on a broad
range of topics. One of the most significant advancements is in
animal health data management. We are much better equipped
to respond to an animal health event because we are increasingly
using electronic identification in livestock as well as recording
movements on electronic documentation. New diagnostic
capabilities have also greatly enhanced our ability to identify a
disease and properly respond to it.
What do you enjoy most about your career?
I really enjoy the opportunity to serve the citizens of
Indiana through our animal health, food safety and disaster
preparedness initiatives. There are always new challenges, and
BOAH is fortunate to have a very talented team to carefully and
thoughtfully respond to whatever task is presented.
What role has PVM had in your success?
Regardless of where I go or what I do, Purdue’s College of
Veterinary Medicine will always be a part of me. I received
an excellent education during the professional program, and I
continue to take advantage of the educational opportunities that
PVM offers. BOAH’s veterinary team is almost entirely made up
of PVM graduates, so we have capitalized on the quality students
produced through the program. Further, BOAH has welcomed
many PVM interns and externs through our summer internship
and senior student externship programs.
Dr Marianne Ash (PU DVM ’77) serves as Animal Programs
Division Director at BOAH, where she plans and coordinates
state-level responses to animal health emergencies and disease
outbreaks. She has pioneered disease traceability and biosecurity
work in Indiana, and acts as a link between BOAH and producers.
Her expertise and leadership has been recognized through her
election to the National Academies of Practice as a Distinguished
Fellow and Practitioner member. In this role, she will help lead
the nation by serving as an advisor to public policy makers,
including those in Congress, on health care issues. Dr. Ash also
serves as an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of
Veterinary Clinical Sciences at PVM.
Yet Dr. Ash still finds time to experience the human-animal
bond first-hand on her beautiful farm in Tippecanoe County,
which she shares with an eclectic mix of animals, including
several horses, two miniature donkeys, and seven chickens. A
long-time veteran of Hunter and Jumper horse shows, Dr. Ash
has six of her own horses and boards several others. She also is a
client of the Purdue Veterinary Teaching Hospital where she most
recently brought her mini donkeys for treatment after they were
injured in a dog attack. As pictured above, the mini-donkeys have
recovered well, and are back to their usual antics. “Donkeys are
so smart,” Dr. Ash says, “that’s how they know how to make you
so frustrated!” Dr. Ash truly has found the best of both worlds,
combining her love for animals and her veterinary experience
with an opportunity to protect animal health and public safety
through her service at BOAH.
Dr. Cheryl Miller (PU DVM ’84), Director of the Scrapie Programs Division
and District 6 Veterinarian, examines an elk. Dr. Miller is also an adjunct
assistant professor in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences at PVM.
• Equine Herpesvirus (EHV- 1) in Indiana horses
• Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus at a rodent breeding
facility, while coordinating response to human illness with
public health officials
• H3N2 influenza virus in kids and pigs at fairs, and
• the touchdown of 5 tornadoes.