DHS Centers of Excellence are university-based groups that focus on certain mission areas related to the safety of the U.S. The centers conduct research and develop educational materials to help meet DHS’ needs within those specific mission areas.
“For IIAD, that area is zoonotic diseases and transboundary animal diseases of importance to both animal health and public health,” said Heather Simmons, DVM, director of IIAD, Bryan-College Station. “We became a DHS S&T Center of Excellence in 2004 and were focused on the homeland security presidential directives that dealt with food and agriculture defense and biodefense. We still help provide either research technologies or workforce development initiatives for DHS.”
As an emeritus Center of Excellence, IIAD has expanded from its original domestic scope. Today, it is actively engaged in building international networks to proactively address foreign animal diseases. Their mission includes preventing diseases such as foot and mouth disease, FMD, or African swine fever, ASF, from reaching the U.S.