Harrogate, Tennessee, March 12, 2018 – The Center for Animal and Human Health in Appalachia (CAHA) is pleased to announce the hiring of Dr. Karen Gruszynski as the CAHA epidemiologist. Gruszynski was appointed to the position in February 2018 by Dr. Jason Johnson, executive director of CAHA and dean of the Lincoln Memorial University-College of Veterinary Medicine (LMU-CVM). She will also serve as assistant professor of epidemiology for LMU-CVM.
In her new role, Gruszynski will be tasked with advancing the goals of the Center for Animal and Human Health in Appalachia (CAHA). She will work directly with CAHA team members to develop long range research plans and collaborations at the local, state and national levels in the areas of One Health, infectious disease emergence, curricular development and community outreach.
“My work will focus on studying factors that influence the existence and spread of diseases among and between humans and animals in the Appalachian region,” Gruszynski said. “We intend to use our findings to improve animal and human health within the Appalachian Region.”
As the CAHA epidemiologist, Gruszynski will collect and analyze animal and human health data using a One Health approach. This includes coordinating interdisciplinary research and community service activities across departments and colleges. She also will be responsible for establishing and developing research partnerships at the local, state, and national level. Engaging students in research activities will also be a major focus of her program.
“Ever since my time as a PhD student, I have been interested in involving students in projects and teaching,” Gruszynski said. “I think it is really important to engage and excite the next generation of students, and CAHA provides the perfect opportunity for collaboration on research to improve the animal health and public health here in the Appalachian region.”
Gruszynski has a long history of studying infectious diseases among populations. After completing her undergraduate studies at University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, she went on to earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from University of Wisconsin-Madison. During this time she completed an externship with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Center for Epidemiology and Animal Health, where she researched commercial poultry populations on the East Coast and their relationship to the spread of the West Nile Virus.
“It was during my externship that I was introduced to the potential Geographic Information System Mapping (GIS) had as a tool for epidemiologist to map diseases and understand how they move through the environment,” Gruszynski said.
She continued her education by earning a master’s degree in public health and a PhD in epidemiology and infectious disease at Louisiana State University. In 2007, Gruszynski served as a contractor for the U.S. Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Center, where she worked on mapping outbreaks related to wild bird mortalities. She then joined the Virginia Department of Health as a veterinary epidemiologist in 2009, and where she worked on a variety of zoonotic disease projects. Gruszynski is a board certified Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine.
Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) is a values-based learning community dedicated to providing educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies. The LMU-College of Veterinary Medicine is located on LMU’s main campus in Harrogate, Tennessee, with additional academic facilities in nearby Lee County, Virginia. LMU-CVM is an integral part of the University’s medical programs and provides real-world, community-based education in a collaborative learning environment. For more information about LMU-CVM, call 1.800.325.0900, ext. 7150 or visit us online at vetmed.LMUnet.edu.