Dr. Heather Simmons is the IIAD education and outreach systems theme leader and program manager. 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, she has also served as a principal investigator with the Institute on 18 projects, and provided program management oversight to 40 projects in a multi-million dollar education and training portfolio. Her programs span the K-12, graduate, and professional realm within the United States and internationally.
Dr. Simmons is the program manager for the Institute’s nationwide Homeland Security Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (HS-STEM) Career Development Program and has mentored 22 graduate students from 10 universities across the United States.
For international programs, Dr. Simmons provides training in advanced analytical applications for epidemiology and diagnostic epidemiology. She has developed international training programs for veterinary laboratory management, biotechnology and vaccine development, diagnostic detection of zoonotic pathogens, epidemiology and surveillance methods. Since 2011, she has provided U.S.-based in in-country training to over 50 international scientists from 10 countries.
In youth education, Dr. Simmons co-manages the IIAD national veterinary science certificate program that trains over 400 agricultural educators a year and provides education to over 11,000 youth annually across the United States. She has authored two textbooks and eight online course packages, covering topics in one health science & technology and laboratory science & technology.
Prior to being her role with the IIAD, Dr. Simmons served as an assistant research scientist with the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
Dr. Simmons serves on the Joint AAVLD/USAHA Committee on Animal Emergency Management, for which she is the Vice-Chair. She 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).
Dr. 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.