A Different Direction

While many of her fellow College of Veterinary Medicine classmates will be heading to clinical practices after graduation, Bailey Goff is heading in a different direction.

“I enjoy working on broader population health issues,” Goff said. “This has interested me from the very beginnings of my veterinary education.”

During her fourth year at Iowa State’s College of Veterinary Medicine, Goff took steps to achieve her goal. Instead of pursuing preceptorships in small or large animal clinics, she looked to veterinary organizations that focus on animal health policy.

She spent weeks with the American Veterinary Medical Association in both Chicago and Washington, D.C. She did a preceptorship jointly with the National Pork Producers Council and Merck Animal Health.

Throw in another four weeks with the Indiana Board of Animal Health and two weeks with Iowa State’s Center for Food Security and Public Health and you can see the direction Goff is seeking.

“Wow, that’s a lot of time,” Goff said when adding up the number of weeks she spent away from the College of Veterinary Medicine. “These opportunities gave me a 40,000-foot view of animal health and the opportunity to learn how to translate animal health on a much broader scale than working in a clinic.”

Each preceptorship was different, giving Goff a broad overview of public health.

At the Indiana Board of Animal Health, she followed law enforcement officials as they conducted animal welfare investigations. In Washington, D.C., Goff attended two AVMA Political Action Committee events. Another experience was “event-hopping” to chat with elected officials and staff members on Capitol Hill.

She attended a House Committee hearing investigating the origins of COVID-19 and another on the train derailment and subsequent chemical release in Ohio earlier this year.

“On one of my preceptorships, someone told me that every day was different,” Goff said, “and they weren’t lying.”

After graduation, Goff is heading, not to a clinic to practice, but back to class. She will be pursuing a MS in global infectious disease at Georgetown University.

“Hopefully I’ll be able use all I’ve learned, not only at Iowa State but in these preceptorships,” she said. “I will still have plenty of ways to engage as a clinician since animal health reaches across a lot of areas.”

April 2023