Estella Jones, DVM ’76 saves lives every day, including animal lives and human lives, providing strategic and executive direction on programs that continually combat global health threats. Her full professional title illustrates the national and global reach of her career: Rear Admiral Estella Jones, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Deputy Director, Office of Counterterrorism and Emerging Threats in the Office of the Commissioner at the Food and Drug Administration. Promoted to the rank of rear admiral (RADM) in January of 2020, Dr. Jones is the first Black female veterinarian in the U.S. Public Health Service to achieve this rank, which is equivalent to brigadier general in other uniformed services. Rear admirals also earn the title and responsibilities of Assistant Surgeon General.
Dr. Jones safeguards the development and availability of critical medical countermeasures that mitigate and respond to public health emergencies involving chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and emerging infectious disease threats, such as Ebola virus outbreaks, pandemic influenza, Zika virus, and now COVID-19. RADM Jones advises and supports the Assistant Commissioner for Counterterrorism Policy at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) who assists with coordinating the FDA's Medical Countermeasures Initiative. This initiative is a significant component of broad government programs to increase and improve the United States' capacity to prepare for and improve government responses to public health emergencies. Her calling is nothing less than to protect, promote, and advance the health and safety of our nation.
A graduate of Tuskegee Institute and Louisiana State University, Dr. Jones is an animal model and zoonosis subject matter expert, with expertise in tick-borne disease complications and physiology. Dr. Jones previously worked at the World Health Organization’s Institute for Primate Research in Nairobi, Kenya, and held a faculty appointment in comparative medicine and anesthesiology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. RADM Jones maintains modern clinical and surgical skills with multiple species by staying active in a large emergency and rescue practice with over 70,000 clients. In 2017, Dr. Jones was appointed to the new Tick-Borne Disease Working Group created by Congress to improve federal coordination of efforts related to tick-borne diseases.
Dr. Jones knew early on that studying animals was her calling, stating, “I didn't choose veterinary medicine; it chose me.” Given her determination and demonstrated leadership skills and her ability to seek out new experiences with her heart grounded in public service, her wide-ranging success comes as no surprise to her Emma Willard teachers, one of whom wrote, “Estella has proven herself to be a fine and overwhelmingly successful person. Fame and fortune should be an easily attainable goal.”
For reaching ever greater heights in her career and leading by example as she serves and shapes our world, the Emma Willard community proudly bestows upon Dr. Estella Jones ’76 the 2021 Career Achievement Award.