March 26, 2010

In the Spotlight - Celebrating the Career of Dr. Robert McLean

In Recognition of One Man's Career Contributions to Wildlife Health

This week, WDIN would like to honor and shine the spotlight on Dr. Robert G. McLean who retired after 43 years of service to the United States Government on January 1, 2010. During his tenure as Director of the USGS National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC; 1998-2002), Dr. McLean was instrumental in the initiation of the NBII Wildlife Disease Information Node, and has actively supported its work since that time. He has also worked closely with WDIN partner, the Wildlife Information Network in the United Kingdom, producing volumes in the Wildpro series of electronic resources.

Bob McLean received Bachelors and Masters degrees from Bowling Green State University, followed by a PhD in Ecology from Pennsylvania State University in 1966. After serving as a US Army Captain at the Ft. McPherson Medical Laboratory, he became an Epidemiologic Intelligence Service (EIS) officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, GA. For the next 26 years, Bob worked as a Research Ecologist in many areas and locations within CDC, primarily with rabies and arboviral diseases. These duties involved numerous international assignments and field investigations in Central and South America, as well as Africa. In 1996, he became the Bird Research Program Manager at the USDA National Wildlife Research Center in Ft. Collins, CO, supervising work to limit problems caused by locally abundant bird populations. Bob returned to the wildlife disease arena as Director of the NWHC just in time to play a major role in identifying and addressing the threats posed by the arrival of West Nile Virus in the United States. He continued this work, as well as shifting his focus to new concerns about Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, after returning to USDA as the Wildlife Disease Research Program Manager in 2002.

Dr. McLean’s reputation as a distinguished arbovirologist and disease ecologist is evidenced by his extensive publication record, countless presentations made at national and international meetings, as well as providing expert testimony to the US Congress. He has served in many important capacities on governmental panels and in professional organizations, including President of the Wildlife Disease Association.

To recognize his outstanding career, a Retirement Celebration for Dr. McLean was held at the Colorado State University on Saturday March 20, 2010. We extend WDIN’s best wishes to Bob on this occasion, thank him for his efforts to enhance wildlife disease information products, and hope that he will continue to be a friend and supporter in the future.