Richard D. Slemons
Class of 1959
Hall of Honor 2006
After graduating from Grand Island Senior High School, Richard Slemons attended the University of Nebraska for two years and then transferred to Colorado State University where he graduated in 1965 (D.V.M.).
Three months after returning to practice veterinary medicine in Grand Island, Slemons entered the USAF with a two year obligation which turned out to be a 20 year career with duty assignments in the USA, Thailand, and Indonesia.
While in the military he completed M.S. (1971) and Ph.D. (1981) programs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and worked with type A influenza, Newcastle disease, rabies, dengue hemorrhagic fever, chikungunya, Japanese encephalitis, hepatitis A and B and respiratory diseases as an epidemiologist, laboratory diagnostician and/or researcher. It was during this time that Slemons and his colleagues discovered that wild birds were natural reservoirs for type A influenza viruses and that these viruses caused enteric infections in their natural reservoirs.
In 1986, he took a position in the College of Veterinary Medicine at The Ohio State University where he is currently a professor in the Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine. His teaching focus is on the prevention, control and eradication of animal and zoonotic diseases. His research focus is on defining the natural history of type A influenza viruses in birds and preventing and controlling influenza in poultry, lower mammals, and humans.
Slemons has served on the program committee or as the co-chair of the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th International Symposia on Avian Influenza and as a short term avian influenza consultant to the Nicaragua Ministry of Agriculture (2004) and to Assiut University in upper Egypt/USAID-Egypt (2006) and as a member of the USDA Expert Advisory Panel for the Exotic Newcastle Eradication Task Force in Southern California in 2003.
In 2004, Slemons was honored by the American Association of Avian Pathologists for sustained excellence in research in poultry diseases and health. In 2006, he was awarded the Ohio Poultry Association Meritorious Service Award for his work on avian influenza and preparation of the first Ohio Poultry Industry Emergency Disease Response Plan. Since 1987, he has served as the faculty advisor for the student chapter of Christian Veterinary Mission Fellowship at OSU.
Slemons and his wife Liz have three daughters and their first grandchildren, twins, are due in late October 2007.