Announcement by Tom J. Sidwa, DVM, MPH
Southern Illinois University (SIU) has bestowed upon Pam Wilson an honorary degree of Doctor of Community Health; the commencement exercise will be in May. Pam earned her bachelor’s degree in zoology from SIU Carbondale in 1979.
SIU recognized that Pam merited her doctorate through devoting her career to protecting the public health via her work with the Texas Department of State Health Services, where she served as a member of a core team that developed and implemented the state’s innovative Oral Rabies Vaccination Program which eliminated the domestic dog/coyote and Texas fox variants of rabies.
Additionally, Pam’s contributions to the public health field have been noticed at the state, national, and international levels and her scholarly works have been widely cited. Her dedicated efforts to collect and analyze data related to rabies over a period of more than two decades led to her serving as the lead author of a definitive reference book, Rabies: Clinical Considerations and Exposure Evaluations, published by Elsevier in 2019 for physicians, nurses, veterinarians and public health personnel.
Early in her career, Pam advocated for the State of Texas’ rabies postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) protocol for domestic animals, which was contrary to the national standards of the day. Her pursuit of knowledge and science led to recognition that a new and effective pathway to addressing rabies was possible. She published program results and data in peer-reviewed articles in the Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association for use by other states to implement similar protocols.
Pam, who is a Licensed Veterinary Technician and Master Certified Health Education Specialist, has provided language for Texas state laws that incorporated the protection of public health pertaining to zoonotic diseases. She was an adjunct instructor for 16 years at Austin Community College and has conducted veterinary assistant training programs with the Texas Veterinary Medical Association. She has written three additional books: two for children that contain valuable life lessons, one of which includes the importance of responsible pet ownership, plus a book on care tips for pet owners. Pam earned an associate’s degree in science from Spoon River College (Canton, Illinois) where she has been recognized with its Alumni Achievement Award. She holds a master’s degree in education from the University of Texas at Austin in 1991.
Please join me in congratulating Pam on a long and fruitful (and not yet over) career in public health and this most prestigious and well-earned honor.
Tom J. Sidwa, DVM, MPH is a State Public Health Veterinarian. He is a Manager in the Zoonosis Control Branch for the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Pamela J. Wilson, DrCH, MEd, LVT, MCHES is the author of Rabies: Clinical Considerations and Exposure Evaluations, 1st Edition.