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Welcome to the 2011 Briefing Series for Members of Congress and Staff

This year's theme is "Start with Science"

Previous Congressional Briefings

Third in the 2011 series

Global Threats from Emerging Wildlife Diseases and Invasive Species

Decision makers across the United States and internationally are increasingly confronted with the vexing problems of invasive species and wildlife diseases. Minimizing economic and wildlife losses and the associated negative ecological and health impacts depends on having technical expertise, providing knowledgeable guidance, and timely intervention. Come hear how USGS and its partners are working to meet the challenges of conducting cutting edge scientific research and providing information and technical expertise to the public and scientific community regarding national and international wildlife health.

Date: Friday, November 18, 2011
Time: 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2325
Washington, D.C.

nwhc identifierDr. Jonathan Sleeman
Director, National Wildlife Health Center www.nwhc.usgs.gov

EcoHealth Alliance Wildlife Trade and Global Disease Emergence identifierDrs. William Karesh and Jonathan Epstein
EcoHealth Alliance Wildlife Trade and Global Disease Emergence

nps identifierDr. Brenda Moraska Lafrancois
National Park Service Avian Botulism in the Distressed Great Lakes

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Speaker Biographies

National Wildlife Health Center

Jonathan Sleeman

Jonathan is currently the Director of the USGS National Wildlife Health Center whose mission is to provide national leadership to safeguard wildlife and ecosystem health. He graduated from the University of Cambridge, England with a Master's Degree in Zoology and his Veterinary Medical Degree. He is a recognized veterinary specialist in wildlife diseases and is a Diplomate of the American College of Zoological Medicine and the European College of Zoological Medicine. He has published widely in the field of wildlife medicine on topics as varied as disease threats to great apes, wildlife anesthesia, and wildlife disease surveillance, and is an adjunct Professor at the University of Wisconsin's School of Veterinary Medicine. Previous positions include Director of the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project, and wildlife veterinarian for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

Jonathan Epstein

Jonathan, along with colleagues at EcoHealth Alliance, has most recently begun working with a consortia of university and NGO partners under USAID's "Emerging Pandemic Threats" program, designed to establish an early warning system for zoonotic disease emergence by studying the diversity of pathogens in wildlife and assessing the risk of spillover into livestock and human populations in the most vulnerable countries around the world. He received his DVM and MPH from The Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and Tufts School of Medicine's Graduate Programs in Public Health. Jonathan holds adjunct faculty positions at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and the Dept. of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology; Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and Tufts School of Medicine; and Mount Sinai School of Medicine. His work has been published in several leading scientific journals including the CDC's Emerging Infectious Diseases journal, and Science.

William Karesh

William is the Executive Vice President for Health and Policy for EcoHealth Alliance.  He serves as the president of the World Animal Health Organization (OIE) Working Group on Wildlife Diseases and also chairs the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Wildlife Health Specialist Group. International programs under his direction have covered terrain from Argentina to Zambia, including efforts in the Congo Basin to reduce the impact of diseases such as Ebola and measles on humans and endangered species. William has also contributed to global surveillance systems for emerging diseases. He serves as the co-chair of the IUCN Veterinary Specialist Group, and is a member of the Advisory Council for the Wildlife Disease Association. In addition to having published over one hundred scientific papers, Dr. Karesh has written a book called Appointment at the Ends of the World: Memoirs of a Wildlife Veterinarian.

Brenda Moraska Lafrancois

Since 2002, Brenda has served as the aquatic ecologist for the National Park Service Midwest Region, working primarily in nine National Parks, Lakeshores, Riverways, and Monuments in the western Great Lakes area. Since 2010, she has served as the program lead or co-lead for three large-scale Great Lakes Restoration Initiative projects, addressing park needs related to benthic habitat mapping, nearshore water quality conditions, protection of vulnerable shoreline habitats, and effects of recent food web changes in Lake Michigan. Brenda has worked intensively with National Park Service staff, university partners, and scientists from several US Geological Survey Science Centers to coordinate a research program addressing nearshore ecological changes and type E botulism outbreaks at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan. Brenda holds Bachelor of Science degrees in Biology and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse, and a Ph.D. in Ecology from Colorado State University, where she studied the effects of atmospheric deposition on mountain lakes.

For information on the Briefing on Capitol Hill, please call 703-648-4455.

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