Get to know your state veterinarian, Dr. Katie Flynn
- By CHRIS ALDRIDGE
- Kentucky Agricultural News
After working six months as Kentucky's deputy state veterinarian, Dr. Katie Flynn replaced retiring State Vet Dr. Robert Stout on Jan. 1. The following is a question-and-answer style interview with Kentucky’s new state veterinarian.
- Start date as state veterinarian: Jan. 1
- Time at the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA): 6 months
- Before coming to KDA: Before beginning as deputy state veterinarian on July 1, Dr. Flynn worked 18 years as an animal health official, primarily with the California Department of Food and Agriculture. “My 18 years of regulatory experience includes foreign animal disease outbreak responses, endemic disease responses, natural disaster responses, and legislative and policy development,” she said. “These experiences provide the skill set and insights which will assist me in protecting and promoting animal agriculture in Kentucky.”
- Six months as deputy state vet smooths the transition: “My previous regulatory experience and current experience as deputy state veterinarian in Kentucky has prepared me for transitioning into the state veterinarian position,” Dr. Flynn said. “Unfortunately, due to the COVID restrictions, I have had limited opportunities to visit our producers and leaders in Kentucky animal agriculture. In the future, I look forward to traveling around the 120 counties of Kentucky to learn from the various individuals engaged in animal agriculture.”
- Advice from her predecessor: “Dr. (Robert) Stout’s best advice has been to listen to the employees, staff, and industry stakeholders to determine how we can best serve their needs and protect the health of the Kentucky’s livestock and poultry.”
- Looking forward to putting grant to good use: “With the recent federal grant funding awarded to Kentucky Department of Agriculture for emergency preparedness and biosecurity efforts,” Dr. Flynn said, “I look forward to working with animal agriculture sectors to better protect and promote Kentucky animal agriculture.”
- Education: doctorate degree in veterinary medicine in 2001 from University of Glasgow, Scotland; bachelor's degree in animal science from the University of Massachusetts in 1995; graduate of Grafton High School in Massachusetts
- Interned in Lexington: Prior to veterinary school, Dr. Flynn worked as an editorial intern for Horseman and Fair World Magazine in Lexington. "While here, I developed a love for Kentucky and the agricultural communities, and I had always hoped to one day return," she said. "I am humbled and honored to be able to come back.”
- Born and raised on a small family farm in South Grafton, Mass.: Dr. Flynn’s family bred and trained Standardbred racehorses, raised Hereford cattle, and sold corn and vegetables from a stand.
- Family: Dr. Flynn’s mom and dad are retired teachers still living on the family farm. Her dad races the horses that he breeds and trains at harness tracks throughout New England, New York, and Canada. Her brother and sister both live in Massachusetts, where they followed their parents into the teaching profession.
- Loves harness racing: "When I am not in the office, I can often be found enjoying horse competitions, exhibitions, or races," Dr. Flynn said. "My passion has always been harness racing, which I can often be found watching live or televised. When visiting my family, I still enjoy jogging horses in the early morning."
- Experienced FMD outbreak firsthand: “During my final year of veterinary school (in 2001), the United Kingdom experienced a significant outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease,” Dr. Flynn said. “I witnessed firsthand the devastating impacts of a foreign animal disease. This outbreak will always be a constant reminder of the importance of regulatory medicine and the need for emergency preparedness and disease prevention measures.”
- FMD outbreak changed her career path: "I have dedicated my career to protecting and promoting animal agriculture,” Dr. Flynn said, “and I am proud to be able to continue this work in Kentucky."