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Permanent Epidemiologist 1 *01866-21

Company: State of Washington
Location: Olympia
Posted on: June 3, 2021

Job Description:

Full-Time/Permanent *1866-21

Fish Health Specialist - Epidemiologist 1 Non-Medical

Fish Program - Science - Genetics and Health Laboratories

Natural Resource Building 

1111 Washington St., SE, Olympia, WA98501

 

Anticipated start date is May 1, 2021.

Olympia Harbor

Do you want to contribute to the agency mission by providing maximum recreational fishing opportunities while ensuring the long-term conservation of salmon, steelhead, and inland fisheries resources?  Do you want to make a positive impact to the recovery of federal ESA listed anadromous stocks?  If so, then join a great team that shares your interests!

The best suited candidate has strong work ethic, the ability to take initiative, work independently and has excellent inter-personal communication and relationship skills.

Fish Vaccination

This position reports to the Aquatic Veterinarian (Epidemiologist 3) and Fish Health Unit Supervisor for the Puget Sound and Coastal area in the Fish Program, and is responsible for fish health and public health by compiling; maintaining; planning; conducting; analyzing; interpreting; and reporting on issues related to fish health, zoonotic and non-zoonotic fish pathogens, antimicrobial resistance associated with therapeutants; and by conducting epidemiological investigations as connected to fish hatchery facilities and related natural origin fish populations.  

 

Specifically, this work addresses current and emerging risks associated with fish diseases, prevalence of pathogens, and associated host response(s) (i.e., immunological changes), environmental variables that affect the disease status of fish populations, and the potential effects of disease status on human populations as it relates to zoonotic fish pathogens.   This position will provide epidemiological support when needed to minimize health risks, improve biosecurity protocols, and collect health-based samples involving live fish and provide comprehensive health assessments for fish populations.  This position will conduct surveillance for regulated and reportable pathogens to meet the requirements of the Salmonid Disease Control Policy of the Co-Managers of Washington State (Policy); monitor hatchery populations for zoonotic and non-zoonotic fish pathogens; provide directions to Fish Program staff and aqua culturists regarding compliance with the Policy; and as it relates to the diagnosis of diseases and their treatments with prescribed therapeutants or Veterinary Feed Directives (VFDs), under the direction of the Veterinary of Record (VOR).  This position is expected to collaborate with veterinarians and other Fish Health Pathologists employed by WDFW, Washington Departments of Agriculture and Health, with tribal co-managers, federal government (USDA-APHIS-VS, USFWS, USGS, and NOAA), and with universities, and will maintain open communication with appropriate federal, state, and tribal agencies concerning public health, when necessary.

 

This position's assigned facilities are primarily in the south Puget Sound area (WDFW Regions 4 and 6): Issaquah, Cedar River (Seattle Public Utilities), Tokul Creek, Icy Creek Ponds, Soos Creek, Chambers Creek, Garrison Springs, Lakewood, Puyallup, Voights Creek, Coulter Creek Ponds, Hupp Spring, Minter Creek, Palmer Ponds, and Tumwater Falls.  

Egg Sampling

KEY DUTIES INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO: 

Clinical health monitoring. 

Provides clinical support to assigned facilities in an effort to protect humans and fish from zoonotic and non-zoonotic disease. With funding, conduct research designed to improve the fish disease diagnostic capacities especially for those with zoonotic potential. Occasional screening and diagnosis of wild fish. 

Tasks include: 

  • Conducts zoonotic and non-zoonotic fish disease investigations for hatchery or wild morbidity and mortality events at designated hatcheries and watersheds within designated region.
  • Recognize and detect non-zoonotic and potentially zoonotic fish pathogens, including viral, bacterial, fungal, or parasitic pathogens.
  • Recognize environmental factors, including toxicants, or fish culture practices that may cause or contribute to fish disease.
  • Collect the appropriate samples for detection, confirmation, and prevalence testing, ensuring that sampling is consistent with at least the Co-Managers Salmonid Disease Control Policy.  
  • Train hatchery staff to correctly obtain samples when this position is unavailable. Directs hatchery staff to maintain compliance with the Policy when carrying out their fish culture duties.
  • Ensure that for all stock samples are taken properly, and they are packaged and labeled correctly for transport to the laboratory.  
  • Determines appropriate preventive or corrective actions needed to mitigate fish morbidity or mortality, which may include consultation with VOR, vaccination, or fish care procedural changes.
  • When working with VFDs and prescribed therapeutants, follow directions from VOR and advise VOR as to effects of treatments.
  • Prepares study plans and budgets and serves as the principal investigator on health surveillance and works with federal and tribal co-managers.
  • Communicate with hatchery staff and federal or tribal co-managers when regulated or reportable pathogens, as defined by the Policy, are detected and confirmed, and with appropriate state and federal public health agencies, including, but not limited to WSDA, WDOH, and USDA-APHIS, when known zoonotic pathogens are detected and confirmed.  

Fish Health support to the Fish Program. 

Serves as an expert in the specialized field of fish diseases, monitoring non-zoonotic and zoonotic fish pathogens and disease at assigned facilities, identifying disease by determining when the presence of fish pathogens is detrimental to a specific stock and determines if non-prescribed treatment is warranted, and when the presence of zoonotic fish pathogens may affect human health; when necessary determines fish treatment or prevention plans.

Tasks include: 

  • Implements agency policies, procedures, and protocols to ensure the safe, humane, legal, and effective use of drugs/chemicals in WDFW aquaculture facilities, under the supervision of the VOR.
  • Work with supervisory VOR to make certain that microbial resistance to the therapeutants is considered.  This is particularly important if the class of therapeutant used is also used when treating human disease.  When antimicrobial resistance is detected, ensure that appropriate federal, state, and tribal fish and public health agencies are notified.
  • Under the direction of the VOR ensure the guidelines regarding drug residue withdrawal periods (that specify the amount of drug legally permitted in the edible tissue of fish), are effectively communicated to hatchery staff who are responsible for compliance to protect against premature release of tainted fish into public fisheries. 
  • Monitor the use of INADs for assigned facilities and work with the USFWS AADAP Program in conducting studies recognized by the FDA to support approval of New Animal Drugs in fish.

Epidemiological research and monitoring. 

Gross anatomical and molecular-based health research on fish in Washington to evaluate health, disease, prevalence of zoonotic and non-zoonotic fish pathogens, genetic effects (immunological gene expression) associated with survival, and changes in environmental and fish microbiomes as they relate to population health.

Tasks include: 

  • Compiles, maintains, and analyzes fish health data and reports and identifies causative agents or conditions resulting in adverse fish health conditions.
  • Proposes, plans, coordinates, and implements epidemiological studies of morbidity and mortality in fish.
  • Analyzes, interprets, and applies findings from disease surveillance programs; formulates and justify conclusions and recommendations based on current scientific principles.

Communication

Tasks include: 

  • Provides expertise and response to concerns from the public, WDFW staff, and other agencies on issues related to fish health or the potential for zoonotic diseases associated with aquaculture.
  • Work with WDFW Veterinarians and the Washington Department of Health (Zoonotic Disease Epidemiologist and Public Health Veterinarian) to develop and maintain a list of fish pathogens or antimicrobial resistance that when discovered would be reported to the Washington Department of Health.
  • Give presentations to scientific community and to the public.
  • Represents WDFW by attending at least one fish health or aquaculture conference per year.  
  • Write scientific reports and submit for peer review and publication if appropriate.

Other duties as assigned

 

WORKING CONDITIONS: 

Work Setting, including hazards: 

  • This is primarily (60-80%) field work (weather, trips, falls, etc.) requiring site visits, travel to meetings, and workshops, and forums throughout the State, driving (accidents) and secondarily (20-40%) office work (ergonomics). 
  • Must be willing to work during inclement weather, in difficult terrain, and with potentially diseased or dangerous animals. 
  • Must be willing to safely handle potentially dangerous animal drugs. 
  • Will be required to safely handle contaminated sharps (needles, darts, scalpel, blades) and other medical waste.  
  • Laboratory work may also be required, working with hazardous chemicals and pathogens (Biosafety Level 2).

Schedule:

  • Generally, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday - Friday with some evening and weekend work possible. 
  • Work hours may extend beyond the core hours of 8 am - 5 pm, Monday through Friday, including evenings and weekends.

Travel Requirements: 

  • Travel on a frequent basis to hatcheries or field areas approximately 3-4 days per week, and will require travel to meetings, site visits, and workshops and forums throughout the State.

Tools and Equipment:

  • Use a PC up to 75-100% of the office workday. 
  • Computers, cell phones, highway vehicles, hand tools, centrifuges, autoclaves, microscope, laboratory testing mediums, surgical tools.

Customer Interactions:

  • Provide technical direction to internal and external program and Agency professional staff involving complex or controversial studies or projects.
  • May have policy level negotiation, interaction, and discussion with other Agencies at both the State and Federal level. 
  • Complete required administrative paperwork in an accurate and timely manner. 
  • Responsible for legislative, contentious issue resolution and leaders of major stakeholder interaction. Excellent personal interaction and diplomatic skills.

Licenses:

  • A valid unrestricted driver's license.
  • First Aid Training 

Other:

  • Conduct surgical and other pathologist-related procedures.
  • Conduct necropsies; collect, process, and submit appropriate specimens; and interpret findings from fish and wildlife morbidity and mortality investigations.
  • Establish and maintain cooperative working relationships with governmental and private organizations and groups concerned with wildlife health issues.
  • Effectively communicate in writing and orally on both technical and non-technical levels.
  • Develop and conduct training.
  • Prepare work plans and budgets.
  • May be required to euthanize animals using methods approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association. 
  • Maintain field vehicle in good and clean working condition.  
  • Complete paperwork for paying bills; ordering supplies; and packaging and shipping diagnostic specimens.  

REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS:

  • A graduate degree from an accredited college in fish biology, anatomy, health/pathology, or related fields and three years of professional experience in fish health/pathology.  
  • Expertise in conducting necropsies and collecting diagnostic samples in fish.
  • Knowledge of fish pathogens that occur in the Pacific Northwest, including those known to cause zoonotic disease.
  • Experience working with:
  • anadromous fish both in natural and aquaculture environments.
  • comprehensive understanding of pathogens including current issues in fish health, including the identification, transmission, prevention, clinical signs, and control of fish diseases and parasites, including those important to public and wildlife health.

Knowledge of: modern epidemiologic principles and practices including the symptoms, causes (common diseases faced by fish in Washington, including the identification, transmission, prevention, clinical signs, and control of such disease caused by pathogens and environmental conditions), means of transmission and methods of control of communicable, non-communicable, and chronic diseases; basic medical terminology. 

 

Ability to: apply laws and departmental rules and regulations to problems of disease control; establish and maintain cooperative working relationships with governmental, voluntary, and private organizations, and groups concerned with public health services; communicate clearly and concisely orally and in writing on both technical and non-technical levels.

Preferred/Desired Qualifications:

  • Masters or Doctorate in fish health/pathology or related fields
  • Experience preparing grant proposals and budgets.
  • Experience prioritizing and making independent decisions on diverse issues.
  • Experience with microbiology and pathophysiology.
  • Experience with modern research procedures including bio-statistical methodology.
  • Computers and programming in database management and statistical software.  

Please note: Failure to follow the instructions below may lead to disqualification. 

In order to successfully apply for this position you MUST complete your profile at www.careers.wa.gov and attach the following to your profile before completing the online application:

  • A cover letter describing how you meet the qualifications of this position (Generic cover letter will not be accepted).
  • A current resume
  • Responses to all supplemental questions. 
  • Three professional references. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: 

The Department of Fish and Wildlife's priority during the Covid-19 health crisis is to keep our staff, candidates, and the public safe.  We are hiring and encourage you to apply to open positions.  Many of our staff are currently working from home; we have transitioned to a virtual recruitment process, to include web-based interviews.

JOIN THE WDFW TEAM:

Learn about our agency and the perks of working for WDFW!

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has some of the most talented people in the natural resource field.  We celebrate and value diversity, appreciating that a workforce composed of those from different backgrounds and experiences creates an inclusive environment, strengthens positive relationships with the local community, and brings new perspectives and approaches to fulfilling the agency's mission. We value demonstrated skill in living WDFW values of professionalism, accountability, empathy, integrity, service, and respect.

WDFW employees may be eligible for the following:

Medical/Dental/Vision for employee & dependent(s), Public Employees Retirement System (PERS),   Vacation, Sick, and other Leave, 11 Paid Holidays per year, Public Service Loan Forgiveness, Tuition Waiver,   Long Term Disability & Life Insurance, Deferred Compensation Programs, Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP),  Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA), Employee Assistance Program, Commute Trip Reduction Incentives (Download PDF reader), Combined Fund Drive, SmartHealth.

WAFWP:

This position is in the bargaining unit represented by the Washington Association of Fish & Wildlife Professionals and is subject to the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the State of Washington, Department of Fish & Wildlife, and the Washington Association of Fish & Wildlife Professionals. 

 

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Employer

 

VETERAN PREFERENCE NOTICE:

To take advantage of veteran preference, please do the following:

  • Email a copy of your DD214 (Member 4 copy), NGB 22 or USDVA signed verification of service letter to RecruitmentTeam@dfw.wa.gov.
  • Subject line should include recruitment number, position, and Vet (for example: #10155 Biologist 1 - Veteran)
  • Include your name as it appears on your application in careers.wa.gov

 

MILITARY SPOUSE PREFERENCE NOTICE: 

To take advantage of military spouse preference, please do the following:

  • Notify us of your military spouse status by email at RecruitmentTeam@dfw.wa.gov.  
  • Subject line should include recruitment number, position and MS (for example: #10155 Biologist 1 - MS)
  • Include your name as it appears on your application in careers.wa.gov

 

Note: Please blackout any PII (personally identifiable information) data such as social security numbers. For further information, please contact us at recruitmentteam@dfw.wa.gov

 

 

As part of WDFW's efforts to advance respectful and inclusive work environments, the Agency expects inclusivity as part of our professional interactions and communications.  Therefore, we want to ensure that all individuals feel welcome, are treated fairly and respectfully.  All staff are empowered to fully contribute to serving their work unit, Agency, and the citizens of Washington.

 

The Department of Fish and Wildlife is an equal opportunity employer.  We strive to create a working environment that includes and respects cultural, racial, ethnic, sexual orientation and gender identity diversity.  All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status and are encouraged to apply. 

 Persons needing accommodation in the application process or this announcement in an alternative format may call (360) 902-2276 or the Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) at (800) 833-6388.

 

This recruitment is essential: Maintain animal husbandry, hatchery operations for fish/animal welfare and associated testing/vet response etc.

 

  • (Images shown are Pre-COVID, WDFW Staff follow current COVID Safety Protocol including the use of face masks)

If you are having technical difficulties creating, accessing or completing your application, please call NEOGOV toll-free at (855) 524-5627 or support@neogov.com.

 

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Keywords: State of Washington, Olympia , Permanent Epidemiologist 1 *01866-21, Other , Olympia, Washington

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