Heather Simmons, DVM, MSVPH, has recently been named as associate director for the Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases (IIAD). In her previous role at IIAD, Simmons served as Education and Outreach Theme Leader, overseeing a multi-million dollar education and extension portfolio and building a program portfolio which continues to span K-12, graduate and professional training globally. Simmons will continue to serve as serves as Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service’s associate department head and extension program leader for Veterinary Medical Extension.
As associate director, Simmons will assist the Institute’s director, Melissa Berquist, Ph.D., in the executive operation of the Institute. Simmons will provide scientific leadership for all day-to-day project management oversight, work in close concert with the project directors/management and provides direct supervision to employees. Simmons will also oversee ad-hoc project teams, coordinate development and submission of associated proposals and budgets, work closely with the director to ensure overall strategic continuity and, along with the director, is responsible for facilitating ongoing communication with stakeholders in partner universities, agencies and private industry.
Simmons brings a wide range of veterinary experience to the Institute – she has co-developed and implemented six research and extension programs and has provided international training to veterinarians worldwide in over 20 countries. She has also authored two textbooks, 15 online courses and 36 Extension training manuals.
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. She is a member of the United States Animal Health Association and the Texas Veterinary Medical Association, and serves on the OIE ad hoc Working Group for Veterinary Para-professionals.
The Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases focuses on research, education and outreach to prevent, detect, mitigate and recover from transboundary, emerging and/or zoonotic diseases, which may be introduced intentionally or through natural processes. IIAD is a member of the Texas A&M University System, a World Organisation for Animal Health Collaborating Centre in the specialty of biological threat reduction and a Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Emeritus Center of Excellence. For more information about the Institute, visit iiad.tamu.edu.