WASHINGTON, November 22, 2021 -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) Administrator Kevin Shea announced Dr. Rick Fredrickson Jr., the Director of the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) at the University of Illinois’ College of Veterinary Medicine, as this year’s recipient of the APHIS Administrator’s Award.
Each year APHIS presents the Administrator’s Award during the joint meeting of the United States Animal Health Association (USAHA) and American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD). The award is presented to a USAHA or AAVLD member whose contributions have had a significant and enduring impact on animal health in the US.
“Dr. Fredrickson goes above and beyond the call of duty in service to both animal—and human—health,” Administrator Shea said. “He is a dedicated researcher with nearly 20 years of public service, as well as 10 years of experience in private practice before that.”
As the Director of VDL, Dr. Fredrickson oversees a staff of 90 employees engaged in various types of animal health research and testing. Since becoming Director in 2011, he has tripled the number of tests, cases, and total revenue of his lab.
In the Spring of 2020, the University of Illinois asked Dr. Fredrickson to set up a testing site—this time for humans. He immediately rose to the challenge, obtaining the certification necessary to test human samples. Dr. Fredrickson worked many nights to ensure the COVID-19 testing site was functioning smoothly while continuing his director duties during the day. At the height of COVID, when many National Animal Health Laboratory Network labs were reporting a drop in capacity for other testing, Dr. Fredrickson’s lab reported an increased capacity for foreign animal disease testing. Additionally, Dr. Fredrickson and his team were one of the first labs to begin testing animals for COVID-19.
Furthermore, Dr. Fredrickson teaches at the University of Illinois’ College of Veterinary Medicine nurturing the next generation of researchers, veterinarians, and educators, keeping them engaged and involved in agriculture and animal health.
He continues to make significant contributions to our shared mission of protecting the health of U.S. animals and providing high-quality diagnostic services to the Nation. APHIS could not do its job without his work and the work of others like him throughout the country. APHIS is very grateful for his service.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.