Heather Simmons, DVM, MSVPH, serves as the education and outreach systems theme leader and program manager at IIAD as well as associate department head and extension program leader for Veterinary Medical Extension at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. She provides leadership in establishing the Institute’s vision related to educational programs and directs all efforts related to the Institute’s outreach and training portfolio.
Since 2008, Simmons has served as a principal investigator on 35 projects and provided program management oversight to 78 projects in a multi-million dollar education, extension, and training portfolio. Her programs span the K-12, graduate and professional realm both within the United States and internationally. Simmons has co-developed and implemented six research and extension programs (i.e., Veterinary Science Certificate Program, IIAD International Laboratory Training Program, IIAD International Epidemiology and Surveillance Program, IIAD Career Development Program, and the Scientific Business Development & Management Program). She has also authored two textbooks, 15 online courses, 36 Extension training manuals and provided more than 174 presentations at national or international conferences.
For international programs, Simmons provides training in advanced analytical applications for epidemiology and diagnostic epidemiology. Since 2011, she has provided U.S.-based in-country training to more than 169 international scientists (i.e., veterinarians, diagnosticians, and public health personnel) from 15 countries (i.e., Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Egypt, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Pakistan, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uganda, and Ukraine).
Simmons is a member of the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD), the United States Animal Health Association (USAHA), and the Texas Veterinary Medical Association (TVMA). She serves as Chair of the Joint AAVLD/USAHA Committee on Animal Emergency Management.
Prior to her role with IIAD, Simmons served as an assistant research scientist with the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Simmons holds a doctorate in veterinary medicine, a master’s degree in veterinary public health focusing on epidemiology, and a bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences, all from Texas A&M University.