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Michael Blackwell

Senior Director of Veterinary Policy

The Humane Society of the United States

  • Dr. Michael Blackwell is The HSUS's Senior Director of Veterinary Policy. James Bergelie/For The HSUS

Michael Blackwell, D.V.M., M.P.H., is The HSUS's Senior Director of Veterinary Policy and acts as our chief veterinary spokesperson. He works to strengthen and expand our reach with veterinary organizations, practitioners, and other stakeholders, including those with our affiliate, the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association. Dr. Blackwell serves as The HSUS's chief veterinary spokesperson.

In 2015, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack appointed Blackwell to serve on the Secretary's Advisory Committee on Animal Health.

Blackwell has had a distinguished career in public service and as an educator.

After operating a private veterinary practice, Blackwell took a post with the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine. During his 20 years with the FDA, Blackwell served in both its human and veterinary medicine branches. As a manager, he served as chief of the Restorative Devices Branch and as chief of the Investigational Device Exemptions Staff of the Center for Devices and Radiological Health. During his last five years with the agency, Blackwell served as deputy director of the Center for Veterinary Medicine.

From 1994 to 1998, Blackwell served as the chief veterinarian of the United States Public Health Service. In this role, he was the chief advisor to the Surgeon General of the United States. He became the chief of staff of the Office of the Surgeon General, managing day-to-day operations of the office. In 1997, Blackwell was promoted to the rank of Assistant Surgeon General (Rear Admiral) of the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service.

Blackwell left the Office of the Surgeon General to become the dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Tennessee. He led the college for eight years, during which time he aggressively promoted the role of veterinary medicine in public health. From 2006 to 2008, Blackwell served as vice chair of the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production. He followed that experience by working to reorganize the animal shelter for the Knoxville region.

Blackwell received his bachelor of science degree, as well as his doctorate of veterinary medicine, from Tuskegee University in Alabama.

Blackwell has received numerous awards, among them the Distinguished Service Medal, the highest personal honor award of the USPHS, as well as the Meritorious Service Medal, the second highest personal honor award. In addition, Blackwell twice received the Surgeon General's Exemplary Service Medal.

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