As early as 4th grade, Sherry Burrer ’89, a 2021 inductee into the SHS Hall of Distinction, knew her life’s goal. She wanted to become a veterinarian. Sherry loved animals and one day found a garden snake that had been injured by a car. Sherry wanted to sew it up.
While at SHS Sherry shown brightly in academics and played in the band all four years. After graduating she went to Bowling Green State University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in pre-veterinary medicine. At Ohio State University she earned her doctorate in veterinary medicine.
Sherry’s career began in small animal clinics in Fairborn and Columbus. Years later she returned to OSU for a master’s degree in public health which changed the arc of her career and life. Today? Sherry is devoted to helping keep us safe. She has been central to our nation’s battle with Covid-19. She is serving as a senior epidemiologist in the Emergency Preparedness & Responses Office of the CDC’s (Center for Disease Control) National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health. Her responsibilities include addressing hazards faced by workers responding to disasters such as hurricanes, floods and infectious disease outbreaks.
Early in 2020 she was deployed to JFK International Airport as a Covid-19 screener for people arriving from abroad. Next she was assigned as deputy head for the Health Systems & Worker Safety Task Force within the CDC’s emergency operations center. Observes Sherry, “That place where people and the environment and animals meet, it’s not always taken into consideration when looking at a problem. Veterinary public health allows us to look at situations from a more holistic view.”