Newswise — The life story of James H. Steele, D.V.M., is set to be released this week at the 2009 American Veterinary Medical Association Convention in Seattle. The biography, "One Man, One Medicine, One Health: The James H. Steele Story," covers more than nine decades of Steele's life from his childhood in Chicago to his retirement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to his work at The University of Texas School of Public Health. All proceeds of book sales will benefit the Steele Endowed Lecture Series and the James H. Steele Professorship of Epidemiology at the UT School of Public Health.
Steele, professor emeritus at the UT School of Public Health, is known by colleagues worldwide as the "father of veterinary public health."
"Dr. Steele has dedicated his entire career to this calling, working diligently to prevent suffering and death from diseases transmitted from animals to humans, and his efforts have had a worldwide impact," said Robert Emery, Dr.PH, associate professor of occupational health at the UT School of Public Health.
Author Craig N. Carter, Ph.D., D.V.M., professor of veterinary epidemiology at The University of Kentucky, and editorial assistant Cynthia Hoobler, D.V.M., M.P.H., will release the book this month on Amazon.com. The biography's debut is being marked by Steele's book signing Friday, July 10, at the convention.
"Dr. Steele has been a source of constant inspiration over the last almost 30 years. His mentorship has been crucial in my mission to integrate the field of epidemiology into veterinary diagnostic laboratory medicine," Carter said.
One of Steele's major contributions to veterinary public health was helping to develop a safe and effective rabies vaccine to reduce canine rabies. After World War II, Steele recognized rabid stray dogs as an important veterinary public health problem. To this day, his model of a response to a rabies outbreak is used worldwide. Steele has traveled in the Americas to explore outbreaks of equine encephalitis, foot and mouth disease, tuberculosis, brucellosis and rabies.
Steele founded the veterinary division of the CDC in 1947 and introduced the principles of veterinary public health to the world, which has saved animal and human lives. His work has helped to create a better understanding of the epidemiology of diseases shared by animals and man, the field of zoonoses. After leaving the CDC, he began teaching as a professor of environmental health at the UT School of Public Health. During his tenure at the school, he compiled and edited the world's first comprehensive series of books on diseases shared by animals and man, the CRC Press Handbook Series in Zoonoses.
Serving as a United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps officer, he became the first assistant surgeon general for veterinary affairs and was later appointed as deputy assistant secretary at the rank of admiral. "The field of public health is a noble calling, where teams of dedicated professionals work together to improve the health status of people whose names we will never know," said Emery.
At 96, Steele continues to lecture, mentor and inspire public health students and workers. In 2006, Steele became the only veterinarian to ever receive the Surgeon General's Medallion presented by then-U.S. Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona. Steele lives in Houston.
The University of Texas School of Public Health (UTSPH) is one of eight institutions of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. UTSPH is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health and offers the quality graduate education needed for public health careers. The main campus, located in the heart of the Texas Medical Center in Houston, offers M.P.H., MS, Dr.P.H. and Ph.D. degrees. Five regional campuses, each established to meet the public health education and research needs of its community, are located throughout Texas. Faculty and students engage in research in areas such as health promotion, environmental health, and disease control.