AVMA announces 2015-2016 Congressional Fellows

AVMA’s Governmental Relations Division is pleased to announce three veterinarians who have been selected to participate in the 2015-2016 AVMA Congressional Fellowship Program: Drs. Rachel Cumberbatch of Washington, D.C., Honorata “Kuki” Hansen of Silver Spring, Md., and Lauren Stump of Baton Rouge, La.

During their year-long assignments on Capitol Hill, the fellows will use their scientific expertise and training in veterinary medicine to advise their respective members of Congress on a variety of policy issues, including: agriculture, animal health and welfare, appropriations, food safety, biosecurity, and public health. The program is another way for veterinary medicine to have an impact on public policy. The AVMA fellows will learn firsthand the amount of work and scientific knowledge that is needed to craft and pass legislation.

The 2015-2016 AVMA Congressional Fellows are:

  • Dr. CumberbatchDr. Rachel Cumberbatch, originally hailing from Lebanon, Ind., is a 2011 graduate of Purdue University who is interested in the human-animal interface, healthcare services, workforce development, and the role of public veterinary medicine in health policy. She most recently served as an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the Environmental Protection Agency, where she supported efforts to promote better air quality. She has also served as: an associate veterinarian for the Connecticut Veterinary Center; veterinary intern at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service; president of the non-profit insurance organization, DC Science & Technology Fellows, Inc.; and student trustee for Purdue University.


  • Dr. HansenDr. Honorata “Kuki” Hansen from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a 2001 graduate of University of Glasgow’s School of Veterinary Medicine in Scotland, who is interested in One Health, resilience to climate change, and aquatic animal health. She has over 10 years of private practice experience and has worked in the translational sciences department of a biotechnology firm and most recently as a chief veterinarian for a municipal animal shelter. She completed her M.P.H. in environmental health from the University of Minnesota in 2012 and became board certified in Veterinary Preventative Medicine in 2013. She volunteers with local and state emergency management agencies, such as the Montgomery County Animal Response Team and Maryland’s Medical and Public Health Volunteer Corps.


  • Dr. StumpDr. Lauren Stump, from De Ridder, La., graduated from Louisiana State University this month, and is focused on leadership in the veterinary profession. As a veterinary student, she served as the president of her student chapter of the Student American Veterinary Medical Association, extern for the Louisiana Infectious Disease Epidemiology Program, and has experience in other organizations and activities, such as AVMA’s 2013 Legislative Fly-in, aimed at furthering veterinary medicine.


The three 2015-2016 fellows were selected out of 15 applicants after completing a three-phased, competitive selection process which started in February. They will serve as full-time employees to their members of Congress, supporting the needs and activities of their respective congressional offices, until August 2016. They are not AVMA employees or lobbyists.

Best of luck to our new fellows as they embark on this unique opportunity which will help shape the future of the veterinary profession. Learn more about the AVMA Fellowship Program here.

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