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Change Agents: Ian and Rashida Moore

Ian and Rashida Moore

Ian N. Moore, D.V.M., Ph.D (left)., is a section chief and Rashida M. Moore, D.V.M. (right), is a deputy animal program director, laboratory animal veterinarian where they both work at The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). The Moore’s share their story, how they are champions for community outreach, what success means to them, and how they can aid in supporting the structure of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education pipeline for African-American students as change agents.

Where were you born?

Ian: Pensacola, Florida.

Rashida: Detroit, Michigan.

How important is community outreach to you?

Ian: Community outreach is probably one of the best ways to give back. Not only for the help you can give to a person in need but the ability to encourage and, in some cases, redirect someone’s perspective about a program or career path (this can transform someone’s life). The other aspect is the optics; sometimes people believe in themselves more, simply by seeing someone they can relate to on some other personal level.

Rashida: Community outreach is extremely important to me, as I have benefited firsthand from community members going above and beyond and “giving back” to the community through me. One of the reasons I attended Tuskegee University is because my high school counselor knew I wanted to be a veterinarian; she was the one who introduced Tuskegee University and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in general to me. If it wasn’t for her taking that extra step, I likely would have stayed in Michigan and never had the awesome experience of attending an HBCU. Tuskegee College of Veterinary Medicine has a very active, engaged Veterinary Medical Alumni Association who continually give back to “Mother Tuskegee” via attending the annual Veterinary Medical Symposium to provide veterinary students with resume workshops, summer internship opportunities, and to provide financial support to the school. My husband and I were those students not too long ago and we go back to Tuskegee every opportunity we get and participate in those workshops and try to give back what was given to us.

How long have you been at the NIH?

Ian: Almost 10 years.

Rashida: Approaching 9.5 years.

What is your professional background?

Ian: I am a graduate to Tuskegee University (undergraduate) and Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine; D.V.M.). After completing veterinary school, I applied and was accepted into a dual residency/Ph.D. program in anatomic pathology at Michigan State University; the Ph.D. program is part of the NIH’s Graduate Partnerships Program. Upon completion of my residency training and my graduate coursework, I moved to Maryland and began my dissertation research within NIAID’s Laboratory of Infectious Disease (LID). After successfully completing my Ph.D., I was offered a position in the Comparative Medicine Branch’s, Infectious Disease Pathogenesis Section (IDPS) where I am currently the section chief. The IDPS is the pathology support core laboratory that assists NIAID investigators in designing and executing studies, data analysis, and publication in top tier scientific journals. I am also a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists.

Rashida: I attended undergraduate and veterinary school at Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama. After receiving my veterinary degree, I completed my Laboratory Animal Medicine residency at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. After completing my residency, I joined NIAID in 2009 as a Clinical Veterinarian. I am a Diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine.

How can you help improve the composition of the STEM education pipeline for African-Americans?

Ian: In addition to maintaining a certain level of activity in outreach opportunities, one of the biggest contributions I can make is, being visible and available to students and parents who have basic questions about career opportunities and the tangible applications of STEM in the real world.

Rashida: Become more involved in STEM programs that are specifically geared towards African-Americans to include outreach, mentoring, and being part of health professional panels and other related activities.

How can HBCUs build stronger partnerships with Institutions like NIH?

Ian: HBCUs should more aggressively engage and promote NIH programs; HBCU graduates who are employees should serve as mentors and, in some cases, liaisons, between the NIH and their respective Alma Maters.

Rashida: Increase the number of formal partnership programs (i.e. internships, fellowships, post baccalaureate and postdoctoral programs, etc.) between HBCUs and the NIH and other Institutions; increase the number of outreach programs and have teams designated to visit the HBCUs and promote the programs; an increase in the number of successful programs would likely lead to strengthened partnerships.

What is your leadership style?

Ian: My leadership style is most accurately defined as "grass-roots." While larger, corporate-style agreements and meetings between institutions are very important and serve their purpose, I believe in meeting with people face to face and engaging people directly; this allows me to appreciate the real and personal story of everyday people.

Rashida: Participative, I highly value team member’s opinions/insight when making decisions.

What does success mean to you and any last words?

Ian: Some people believe that success and achievement are an endpoint; I believe success (however the person defines it) should be the beginning of your journey to inspire someone else to do what makes them happy and helps them become a productive human being.

Rashida: Success is truly enjoying what you do, being kind to everyone, and helping the next generation achieve their goals. Sometimes just seeing someone “who looks like you” in fields/occupations that you never imagined may be all the spark needed to ignite the fire in someone else.

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