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Two New State Veterinarians
Studied at CVM

Dr. Linda Hickam
Dr. Manoel Tamassia

Two veterinarians with ties to the MU College of Veterinary Medicine were recently named to positions as state veterinarians. Missouri Department of Agriculture Director Dr. Jon Hagler announced that Dr. Linda Hickam, DVM ’90 has been appointed as the Missouri State Veterinarian. New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher announced the appointment of Dr. Manoel Tamassia as New Jersey State Veterinarian, serving as director of the New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s Division of Animal Health. Tamassia pursued his veterinary degree at the Universidade Estadual de Londrina, Brazil before undertaking an internship and residency in theriogenology at the MU CVM.

A native of Columbia, Mo. , Hickam will serve as Missouri's lead animal health authority and administrative head of the department's Division of Animal Health. Dr. Taylor Woods, who held the position of state veterinarian prior to Hickam’s appointment, will stay on as a senior advisor on livestock industry issues.

“Missouri's animal health practices are among the best in the nation and I am confident Dr. Hickam is the right person to take over,” Hagler said. “Dr. Hickam has worked closely with Dr. Woods over the past three years and the livestock industry will continue to move forward under her leadership.”

Hickam has been with the Missouri Department of Agriculture since 2007. For the past three years she has served as Missouri’s deputy state veterinarian and state epidemiologist. She has a diverse background in animal health, including small and large animal practice, commercial livestock production and sales facilities, as well as regulation and policy development.

“Dr. Hickam’s academic training, knowledge of the department and experience will serve her well as state veterinarian,” Woods said. “I am looking forward to working with the director on livestock issues and being of assistance to Linda as she leads the animal health division.”

Tamassia served as New Jersey’s acting state veterinarian since April and held the position of principal veterinarian and assistant director of the Division of Animal Health for the past two-and-a-half years.

“Dr. Tamassia is an experienced and caring professional who will work hard to protect the state’s animal population,” Fisher said. “He recently put his skills to the test during Hurricane Irene when animal emergency teams had to be mobilized to protect the welfare of animals impacted by the storm and successfully accomplished that mission.”

Dr. Tamassia was raised in a farming family and entered engineering school, only to drop out six months later to pursue a veterinary degree. Upon completion of a master’s degree at the University of Missouri, he stayed on an additional year as an assistant instructor. It was during that time that he completed the requirements for the ECFVG program, the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine equivalency for foreign graduates.

In June 2009, Tamassia was awarded Diplomate status from the American College of Theriogenologists. “My goal as state veterinarian is to keep our agricultural animals safe from foreign animal diseases at the same time assuring that they are being raised humanely,” he said. “Treating animals humanely includes educating the population about the need of having plans to care for animals during disasters. I also want to work with the veterinary community and offer them the services of our diagnostic laboratory.”

Since his arrival at the department, Tamassia has been instrumental in successfully containing outbreaks of equine herpes virus, equine piroplasmosis and contagious equine metritis. He has been involved in the performance of numerous diseases and humane investigations, monitoring of chicken flocks for avian influenza and delivery of shelter and evacuation trailers for pets to several New Jersey counties. He also conducted trainings on emergency preparedness.

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Last Update: February 29, 2012