Extraordinary contributions: Harlingen doctor of veterinary medicine receives public health award

From left, Texas Academy of Family Physicians (TAFP) immediate past president Dr. Javier “Jake” Margo, Jr. presented Dr. Ronald D. Tyler, Jr. with the TAFP Public Health Award. (Courtesy photo)

HARLINGEN — A local doctor with a passion for veterinary medicine and a desire to educate about the subject area was recently awarded for his service and dedication to the field.

The Texas Academy of Family Physicians (TAFP) presented Dr. Ronald D. Tyler, Jr. with the TAFP Public Health Award this November at TAFP’s Annual Session and Primary Care Summit in The Woodlands.

Tyler is from Harlingen and is a doctor of veterinary medicine and head of the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Public Health Region 11 Zoonosis Control (PHR11-ZC.)

PHR11-ZC serves 19 counties in South Texas and addresses health threats on both sides of the international border.

TAFP is a membership organization that formed to unite family doctors of Texas through advocacy, education and member services, as well as to empower them to provide a medical home for patients of all ages.

Tyler’s recently acquired TAFP Public Health Award was created as a way to recognize individuals who are making extraordinary contributions to the public health of Texas.

According to TAFP personnel, Tyler has created innovative programs to enhance the professionalism and competency of health care and agricultural workers throughout the DSHS Region 11 area.

He worked closely with Cameron County Public Health in identifying and responding to the first locally acquired Zika case in 2016 and helped in preventing its further spread.

Tyler helps coordinate the community’s response to prevent Chagas disease in humans and dogs, and has developed education and outreach efforts for physicians and veterinarians.

He also helps reduce rabies threats in South Texas through the DSHS PHR-ZC’s participation in oral rabies vaccine hand bait distribution, presentations on rabies risk assessments, rabies in wildlife and rabies post exposure prophylaxis consultations with physicians.

In 2016, Tyler created the South Texas Tropical Medicine and Vector Borne Disease Conference.

The conference provides continuing education to physicians, nurses, veterinarians, vet technicians, animal control officers, licensed pesticide applicators, social workers, sanitarians and others.

“It doesn’t matter what medicine you come from, all medicine starts with trust,” Tyler said. “And I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for trusting the Texas Department of State Health Services for trusting me and for trusting my staff.”