(HOUSTON, TX) — Edward John Wozniak, D.V.M., Ph.D., assistant director of the Program for Animal Resources at the Texas A&M Health Science Center Institute of Biosciences and Technology at Houston, was recently honored as Veterinary Responder of the Year by the U.S. Public Health Service.

U.S. Surgeon General and Vice Admiral Richard Carmona, M.D., M.P.H., conferred the award at the 2006 Commissioned Officers Association USPHS Professional Conference in Denver, Colo., in recognition of Dr. Wozniak’s leadership and exemplary performance in several recent response missions during public health crises.

U.S. Surgeon General and Vice Admiral Richard Carmona, M.D., M.P.H., right, presents Edward John Wozniak, D.V.M., Ph.D., of the Texas A&M Health Science Center Institute of Biosciences and Technology at Houston the “Veterinary Responder of the Year” award at the recent 2006 Commissioned Officers Association USPHS Professional Conference in Denver.

Specifically, Dr. Wozniak was acknowledged for his deployment to the Tohono Odham Reservation in Arizona to work with the Indian Health Service on rabies control; contributions to the Rocky Mountain spotted fever control initiative in Arizona; volunteer work on venomous snake capture/removal with 9-1-1 emergency services in San Antonio; and work on the Hurricane Katrina animal rescue and recovery mission in Louisiana.

Following the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons, Dr. Wozniak drew on his lifelong interest and 24 years of specialized experience with venomous snakes to complete a detailed deployment safety-training module. He identified the distribution of the 19 medically significant venomous snake species inhabiting the hurricane-prone regions of North America and catalogued their distribution habits.

Dr. Wozniak also advised about field safety in snake country and first aid measures for snake envenomation (venom injection into an animal). This information will be implemented as part of the USPHS Office of Force Readiness and Deployment safety training.

“I plan to maintain my commission as a USPHS reserve officer,” Dr. Wozniak said. “I am devoted to the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and its mission to protect the health and safety of the nation. I will stay active on the veterinary team and continue my response work in crisis and disaster situations.”

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