Career Options in Disaster Veterinary Medicine

Animals are impacted by the same disasters and emergencies as humans. Whether it's a hurricane, flood, earthquake, wildfire, chemical leak, or act of terrorism, veterinarians are crucial to emergency preparedness, response, and recovery from such large-scale disasters. Dr. Warren Hess, an assistant director in the AVMA’s Division of Animal and Public Health, discusses career opportunities in disaster veterinary medicine and what you can expect if you want to assist in disaster recovery and response efforts. You will also learn how you can help your clients prepare for and respond to a disaster.

Participants can expect to learn about:
• Opportunities in the field of disaster veterinary medicine – either as a paid professional or a volunteer
• The training and skills needed to be an emergency responder, and which organizations can help you prepare
• How to educate animal owners about emergency preparedness planning and post-disaster response

As an assistant director in the AVMA’s Division of Animal and Public Health, Dr. Warren Hess provides technical and scientific expertise to several AVMA committees, including the Committee on Environmental Issues (CEI), the Aquatic Veterinary Medicine Committee (AqVMC), the Council on Veterinary Service (CoVS), and the Committee on Disaster and Emergency Issues (CDEI).

Dr. Hess received his DVM from Colorado State University. After graduation, he worked in small animal practice with an emphasis on birds and other exotic animals. He then served as field veterinarian, assistant state veterinarian, and acting state veterinarian for the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. Dr. Hess has led numerous state and national organizations, including serving as president of both the Utah Veterinary Medical Association (UVMA) and the National Alliance of State Animal and Agricultural Emergency Programs (NASAAEP).

Dr. Warren Hess