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Press Release

Dr. Dominic Travis Announced as New Chief Program Officer

October 27, 2021

Travis is a well-respected leader on biological and environmental security issues who joins the Center from the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine

The Marine Mammal Center – the world’s largest marine mammal hospital – has announced the hiring of Dr. Dominic Travis, DVM, M.S. as the Center’s Chief Program Officer. As marine mammals and the environment face tremendous challenges including climate change and overfishing, Travis will continue to build the Center’s capacity in addressing these issues and inspiring action.

Travis brings over two decades of experience in research and developing and building educational programs. His work has focused on biological and environmental security and defense, specializing in emerging issues and threats, such as infectious diseases, toxins and natural disasters. He spent the last 11 years as a tenured Associate Professor and faculty member at the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine, where he led the university’s One Health Division, an initiative to find innovative solutions to complex problems crossing human, animal and environmental health.

Prior to that, he served as the Senior Director and Vice President of the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. As part of the zoo’s leadership team, Travis strategically integrated conservation and education missions into their programs and oversaw the rapid growth of the Conservation and Science program. He received his Master of Science in Aquatic Animal Health focused on marine ecology from the University of Maryland and his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Michigan State University.

Dominic’s skillset, background and experience are exactly what the Center is looking for to lead our conservation and educational programs.

“Dominic’s skillset, background and experience are exactly what the Center is looking for to lead our conservation and educational programs,” said Dr. Jeff Boehm, CEO of The Marine Mammal Center. "He will play an integral part in the Center’s growth, and we’re excited to welcome Dominic and his family to California and to our team.”

Travis is a well-respected and active participant on several U.S. government advisory committees – including those at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, U.S. Geological Survey, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy – with a focus on the area of human-animal disease and threats from wildlife to public health. 

As Chair of the Zoo Animal Health Network, he created and led partnerships between the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and United States Department of Agriculture, among others, to organize a public and animal health surveillance network comprised of over 250 zoos and wildlife rehabilitation centers focused on emerging diseases. Travis has been quoted and appeared in top-tier media outlets, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Nature, 60 Minutes, ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX national newscasts, National Geographic Television and PBS, and more.

Dominic has dedicated his career to the sustainability of interconnected human, animal and environmental health and wellbeing.

“Dominic has dedicated his career to the sustainability of interconnected human, animal and environmental health and wellbeing. He has helped build long-term partnerships focused on science-based solutions in support of conservation around the world for more than 20 years,” said Lilian Pintea, Ph.D., Vice President of Conservation Science at the Jane Goodall Institute, where Dominic served as a veterinarian for two decades. “The Marine Mammal Center is lucky to have his expertise and experience.”

In his new role, Travis will oversee all conservation programs, including Learning & Community, Animal Care, Hospital Operations, Pathology & Diagnostics, Field Operations & Response, Electronic Animal Record Systems, and Life Support Systems & Facilities. He will help further build out the Center’s research programs and promote their work in education locally as well as internationally.

“I could not be more excited to join an organization whose mission aligns with my passions as well as the Center’s does. The sustainability and resilience of our aquatic system is the most important, complex and underappreciated grand challenge of our time,” said Travis. 

Our goal is the same: to promote sustainability and resilience within our aquatic systems and save the lives of marine mammals.

Travis will be taking over from Rachel Bergren, who left earlier this year to become the Executive Director at Get Outdoors Nevada. Travis joined The Marine Mammal Center on October 1.

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Jeff Boehm
Dominic Travis