Where TB They may not be magic wands, but they come administrative tasks—traditionally completed by
pretty close. hand during herd testing—and increases the speed
and accuracy of information.
Veterinary Services’ (VS) electronic wand
By David Morris readers—paired with other pieces of mobile The program’s current emergency TB efforts
and Elisabeth Lively technology—are showing their power to transform in California, which began in December 2007,
the way agency veterinarians test have now almost fully adopted MIM technology
herds for bovine tuberculosis (TB). for their herd testing.
Collectively, the new technology “California alone is on track to test up to
is referred to as mobile information 400,000 animals during this TB investigation,”
management (MIM) technology. says Kevin Varner, the area veterinarian in charge
MIM technology is improving the for California and Nevada.
program’s TB testing efforts and
shows the same potential for other A Hard Job Gets Easier
disease programs as well. Herd testing for bovine TB is routine, hard work.
It begins with a veterinarian injecting antigen
Developed and tested first in into each animal near the base of its tail and
Michigan and then in New Mexico returning 3 days later to check injection sites for
VS’ John Harris uses an
electronic wand reader to for VS’ TB efforts, MIM technology is basically reaction. If there is one, VS conducts further
scan cows prior to TB an IT toolset used to quickly collect, record, and diagnostic testing.
testing in New Mexico. transmit testing data. It reduces the burden of
(APHIS photo) Continued on page 2
CFC Dear Friends and Coworkers, your CFC contributions serve community needs in
Launches All around the country, Combined Federal many areas, including poverty, hunger, healthcare,
education, and cultural enrichment.
Campaign (CFC) efforts are now
underway for the 2008 season. I This year’s CFC campaign is taking
Campaign invite each of you to join your place against a backdrop of economic
local campaign and to participate uncertainty. And this will most likely be
Letter from in the giving and in the fundrais- felt by the organizations that depend on
Marilyn Holland, Chair ers that are happening in your CFC donations. While we are all
2008 CFC Campaign your area. affected by today’s economic uncertainty,
To understand the good work we still have much to be thankful for and
that results from your CFC efforts, CFC is an opportunity for us to share our
you likely need to look no further than to your good fortune.
friends, family, neighbors, and even coworkers. As chair for APHIS’ CFC efforts, I know that
I’m sure that some of them—and maybe even you our success this year will rely on many hands to do
personally—have been touched by local organiza- the lifting.
tions that receive CFC funding.
I encourage you to give what you can and to
CFC dollars reach into your community, do what you can for CFC efforts in your area. t
wherever you may live, and they make good
things happen. The organizations that receive
United States Department of Agriculture
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
Inside APHIS Page 2
Continued from page 1 Sounds simple, right? Except that sticking Where to from Here
needles into numerous side-stepping, heavy-footed Using MIM technology to improve herd test-
TB Meets IT animals—while trying to stay safe—can be highly ing for TB is only the tip of the iceberg. Critical
challenging. Imagine visiting a dairy operation to spinoffs include the ability to incorporate USDA’s
test 2,000 cows. It makes for long and physically National Animal Identification System (NAIS)
exhausting days. standards into data collection. NAIS helps trace
The days get longer and harder when you add animal disease by linking standardized location
in the recordkeeping and paperwork. Throughout and animal identification numbers. By pairing
the entire process, veterinarians must NAIS and MIM technology, VS can improve the
stay focused and accurate while read- accuracy and speed of its disease program infor-
ing and recording animal identifica- mation and enhance traceability.
tion tags. MIM technology is also spreading to other VS
During follow-up visits to check programs, such as the brucellosis program. The
injection sites for signs of reaction, latest field test of a MIM application, which also
they must examine the exact same incorporates NAIS data standards, involves bru-
animals previously injected, not just cellosis vaccination efforts in the Greater Yellow-
the same number of animals. They stone Area. t
also cross-check animal identification
numbers and reconcile records.
Thanks to the area Traditionally, much of the recordkeeping
in the field is done manually. Handwritten ID
veterinarians in charge
in California, Nevada, numbers and test results collected during the day The APHIS Biosecurity
New Mexico, and other are later entered into a computer. For Birds Web site is
States—along with TB now available in Span-
program staff and special- Now, MIM technology makes herd testing
ish. While APHIS has
ists within VS’ Office of easier and faster with less opportunity for error.
the Chief Information a variety of outreach
Officer—VS is bringing Moving Information Fast materials available in translation, this new
mobile information Using an electronic wand reader, a veterinarian site marks the first time that APHIS has cre-
management (MIM) ated a Web site in a foreign language.
first scans and collects an animal’s identification
technology to the field.
(APHIS photo) number from its radio frequency identification Launched in August, the site’s goal is
(RFID) eartag. The wand sends this data via a to reach the significant number of backyard
wireless signal to a rugged, hand-held, personal poultry and pet bird owners who are native
digital assistant (PDA). Spanish speakers. The site is also a valu-
The veterinarian then checks the animal and able resource to Spanish speakers in other
easily enters additional information—such as other countries who are interested in Biosecurity
identification numbers, age, sex, breed, and test For Birds information.
results—into the PDA using a stylus, touch screen, The site provides information about
or key pad. infectious diseases, such as avian influenza
Once entered, all of the relevant information and exotic Newcastle disease, as well as
about an animal is immediately retrievable onsite important guidance on backyard biosecurity
and in real time. Later, this same information can and practical steps that owners can take to
be quickly transferred to a computer and uploaded keep their birds healthy. Visitors to the site
to appropriate databases. can also order outreach materials online.
This not only reduces the time required to To access the Spanish version of the
process animals on the farm and build valuable Biosecurity For Birds Web site, go to www.
databases, but increases test accountability and the aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/birdbiosecu-
accuracy of data collection. rity/enespanol/. t
Inside APHIS Page 3
A Good Crop Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) Deputy
Administrator Rebecca Bech recently visited
materials and have furthered EAB enforcement
actions, new heat treatment initiatives, and the
Year for PPQ several field sites to honor this year’s crop of regulation of pallets.
Safeguarding Safeguarding Award recipients.
Awards The PPQ Safeguarding Awards are divided
Promising Practices Award
This award category honors common sense and
into three categories—each awarded in recogni-
By John Scott ingenuity in new safeguarding efforts.
tion of individual or team efforts to carry out the
program’s mission of protecting U.S. agriculture. The Quarantine 56 (Q-56) Rule Revision and
Implementation Group earned the award for its
The three award categories are: Deputy
regulatory initiative that streamlines the approval
Administrator’s Safeguarding Awards, Outstand-
of certain imported fruits and vegetables. In ad-
ing Achievement Awards, and
dition to its PPQ members, the group includes
Promising Practices Awards.
members from Policy and Program Development
This year, for the first time, PPQ
and USDA’s Office of the General Counsel.
presented honorable mentions in
all three categories. PPQ’s Eastern Region received the award
for its Cooperative EAB Program Clinics. The
Deputy Administrator’s two-day clinics provide stakeholders with practi-
Safeguarding Award cal information on the EAB program together with
The Cactoblastis cactorum field demonstrations and hands-on-training.
Cooperative Program, led by
PPQ’s Joel Floyd, received hon- Honorable Mentions
ors for its efforts. The program PPQ also awarded honorable mentions to the
Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has successfully halted the westward movement following teams: the Smuggling Interdiction and
Program group award
of this damaging pest along the U.S. Gulf Coast. Trade Compliance (SITC) National Information,
presentation. Click on
photo to see listing of Communication and Activity System Development
The Red Palm Mite Response Team, led by
those shown. (photo by PPQ’s Florida State Plant Health Director Paul
and Implementation Team; the PPQ-CPHST Treat-
D. Bopp) ment Quality Assurance Unit, 556 Cold Treatment
Hornby, earned recognition for its multi-agency
Tracking Team; the Eastern Plant Board for their
cooperative efforts. The team is effectively
work on the Sirex noctilio survey; and CBP’s
addressing one of the suspect pathways for red
Susan Spinella and Charles Cunningham—both in
palm mite on handicrafts carried by passengers
Washington State—for developing CBP agricul-
travelling on cruise ship lines.
For more detailed infor- tural training. t
mation about this year’s
awards and a listing of Outstanding Achievement Award
the honorable mentions, PPQ’s Outstanding Achievement Award recog-
please visit http://www. nizes efforts that reach or exceed the goals desig-
aphis.usda.gov/plant_ nated for a given safeguarding project.
shtml. Alisha Shumaker, an agricultural specialist
with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
in Seattle, Washington, received an award for cre-
ating a comprehensive training program. Target-
ing CBP agricultural specialists, CBP officers, and
the U.S. Coast Guard, the training program aids
in the detection of Asian gypsy moth on vessels
arriving from the Russian Far East and Japan. The Red Palm Mite Response Team award pre-
sentation. Click on photo to see listing of those
PPQ’s Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Program, a
shown. (photo by Z. Mann, CBP)
multi-state group led by Philip Bell, also received
recognition for its work. The program’s efforts
have uncovered and identified pathways for host
Inside APHIS Page 4
In early July 2008, APHIS Additionally, GovTrip also automatically
began using the new e-travel routes both the employee’s travel authorization and
system, GovTrip. The USDA-wide voucher through the appropriate approval chains,
system is still new to many agency travel- making paper copies a thing of the past. According
ers, but after some initial implementation to Ford, most travelers using GovTrip are receiving
hurdles, the changeover is making progress their voucher reimbursements within 5 days.
and now operating more smoothly.
GovTrip “It has been a lot of hard work, but we expect
GovTrip is also able to split an employee’s
voucher reimbursement, paying Bank of America
Comes the agency savings to be well worth it,” says Donna charges and then routing the remaining voucher
to APHIS Ford, GovTrip implementation lead for APHIS and reimbursement via direct deposit to the employ-
USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service. ee’s established paycheck address.
By John Scott and Ford estimates that more than half of agency “Travel spending has received a lot of atten-
Donna Ford travelers are now preparing their own travel docu- tion lately,” says Ford. “This system is helping
ments using GovTrip, and she expects that number APHIS save time and resources. It also has tools
to increase. for producing the many travel reports that we’re
asked for by Congress and others.”
As with any new system, there have been
bumps during implementation. “This is a major
Where to Turn for Help
change, and it will take some time for everyone to
“We have done our best to make sure at least
10 Tips for feel comfortable with the system,” says Ford.
one person from every office has been trained in
GovTrip Initially, employees had problems accessing GovTrip,” says Ford. To learn who to contact lo-
Click here to view and/or the new system. The agency’s GovTrip imple- cally with travel questions, Ford recommends that
print Donna Ford’s tips mentation team, which consists of five specialists, employees check with their unit’s travel specialist
for using GovTrip.
handled more than 5,000 phone calls, e-mails, to see who has received the GovTrip training.
and other inquiries per week in the first 3 weeks
In addition, Federal Agency Travel Adminis-
of implementation. Since then, most of the initial
trators (FATAs) have been trained and are located
problems have been resolved, and the agency con-
in each of the agency’s programs to assist travel-
tinues to work on new issues as they arise.
ers. And, as always, the Travel Services Team,
which is within the Financial Management Divi-
What to Expect
sion, is also available to provide help. The main
For agency travelers, the GovTrip system is
telephone number is (301) 734-0882.
designed to do most of the work—from finding
and booking the cheapest air fares, hotels, and “The Travel Services Center is very aware
rental cars, to making sure per diem amounts are that some travelers need some ‘hand holding’
accurate, to allowing employees to upload receipts and they’re doing an excellent job,” says Susan
and other documentation right into their travel Murphy in Biotechnology Research Service. “No
documents. GovTrip even assigns authorization matter how many times I ask for help, they’ve
numbers automatically and stores employees’ been there to assist me.” t
entire travel files for 6 years and 3 months.
Click photo to view
Hispanic Heritage Month
For National Hispanic Heritage Month, headquar- For Riverdale’s celebratory kick-off event,
ters employees recently participated in several agency employees contributed to a video, sharing
events celebrating the agency’s diversity and the on camera their heritage experiences and thoughts
contributions of its more than 900 Hispanic Amer- about the celebration’s theme, “Getting Involved:
ican employees, who together comprise about 10.5 Our Families, Our Community, Our Nation.”
(photo by A. Eaglin)
percent of the current APHIS workforce. Organizers showed the full video at the event. t
Inside APHIS Page 5
Worktip As Federal agencies have discovered, there’s an • Ground rules: don’t set your laptop on the
upside and downside to laptop computers. The floor or, if absolutely necessary, place it be-
Is Your good thing is they’re portable. The bad thing is… tween your feet or lean it against your leg.
Laptop well, they’re portable.
• Take it with you: never leave laptops
Secure? So to answer the question—“Is your laptop unattended and unsecured at conferences.
secure?”—you need to think seriously about your
• Car care: don’t leave your laptop in your car
computing habits and the precautions
unless you are transporting it between work
and home. When transporting, lock it in the
What’s at Risk trunk and out of sight.
The greatest risk is of someone taking and
Secure Your Data
maliciously using information from your
Guarding your laptop’s whereabouts is vital, but
computer. Armed with your data, a thief
here are some other steps you should take to pro-
may be able to seriously harm the agency’s
tect your data.
computer resources, or steal other people’s
identities. • Save to the H drive and put sensitive informa-
tion behind the firewall. Don’t save PII on
By John Scott Identity theft is a real problem. As Federal
your laptop’s C drive.
employees we are responsible for protecting the
privacy of agency employees and our customers. • Practice good password habits: remember
This means protecting what is called personally your password and don’t write it down.
identifiable information (PII). PII includes infor- • Use encryption software and password protect
What to Do mation such as names, social security numbers, sensitive files.t
if Lost or Stolen and other data that when combined with other ID
information can be linked to specific individuals.
Report losses quickly to
help the agency mitigate For more information regarding PII, please visit:
any further damage.
To report lost or stolen Lost or stolen laptops result in other costs for
equipment such as the agency as well. Each laptop lost is money out
laptops, personal data the door, plus the cost of replacing it. So far in
assistants, cell phones, 2008, the agency has lost 17 laptops. Click Camera
and removable storage to See Photos
media, call : There’s also significant potential for the loss
1-877-PII2YOU of public confidence in APHIS. When the agency
(or 1-877-744-2968). loses a laptop, it runs the risk of becoming the In this issue, our photos come from PPQ
next Federal agency in the media spotlight for coworkers doing Asian citrus psyllid work in
putting PII at risk. Louisiana and educational outreach in Indiana.
Plus, we have one employee’s brush with the
Guard Your Laptop President.
Employees are responsible for protecting govern-
ment property and information that is entrusted to
Send Your Photos for Next Issue
their care. Here are some quick tips for prevent-
Give others the chance to step outside their
ing the loss or theft of your laptop.
day and into yours. We’re still accepting
• Treat your laptop like cash: when in public, photos.
don’t leave it sitting out and don’t leave it
It’s a quick way to share your work and
your workplace with others and to connect
• Make stealing hard: use laptop security with the wider APHIS community across the
cables at work, hotels, and conferences. country and around the globe.
• Use caution at airports: keep an eye on Send photos by e-mail with a brief caption
laptops and don’t get distracted at security to: email@example.com t
Inside APHIS Page 6
Animal To the general public, its appearance may have developed to have improved fat composition and
Biotechnology: gone quietly unnoticed. But the “request for infor- provide a more healthful nutrient profile.
mation” (RFI) recently published by the Biotech-
Viewing Online Comments
Putting nology Regulatory Services (BRS) program is the
With its RFI, BRS is asking the public for com-
Out the Call latest important step in the agency’s look into a
new and rapidly advancing area of biotechnology: ments and information concerning several areas.
genetically engineered (GE) animals. They are: GE animal research being conducted
By John Scott or planned; possible implications for the health
APHIS published the RFI on September 19,
of U.S. livestock from importation and interstate
2008, to gather information about ongoing and
movement of GE animals; and, the steps APHIS
future research on GE animals. The goal is to
should consider under the Animal Health Protec-
ensure that these animals do not pose risks to U.S.
tion Act to complement the requirements and rec-
livestock health. BRS is seeking to gain a better
ommendations described in FDA’s draft guidance.
understanding of this issue through public input
before drafting any official guidance or policy. The public is able to submit input using the Feder-
al eRulemaking portal. To view online comments,
With the rapid development of the biotechnol-
you can visit this site as well and read the elec-
ogy industry, it’s important for BRS to look ahead
tronic comments received. The address is http://
to possible future developments. With planning,
APHIS and other agencies can keep pace as indus-
try opens new doors for science and farming.
BRS’ request coincides with the U.S. Food
and Drug Administration (FDA) announcing the
availability of its draft guidance clarifying its November
oversight of GE animals under its new animal drug • National American Indian/Alaska Native
regulatory provisions. Heritage Month: watch e-mail for local events.
Animals on the Horizon • National Association of Plant Protection and
Many kinds of GE animals are in development, Quarantine Managers (NAPPQM) Annual
although none have yet been approved for com- Convention, Nov. 5–8, San Diego, California.
mercial use by the FDA. At this time, the largest • Mandatory U.S. Bank Travel Card Training:
class of GE animals under development is those employees with travel cards must complete
that would produce substances that could be used the training by Nov. 30. Contact your pro-
as human or animal pharmaceuticals. Through gram travel specialists for information about
genetic engineering, scientists potentially have the completing the training.
ability to completely change the way that certain
chronic diseases are treated. December
• APHIS Headquarters Holiday Party, Dec. 16,
An example is bleeding disorders. The clot- Riverdale, Maryland.
ting factors used for medical treatments of these
disorders are difficult to obtain; people are cur- January
rently treated only following acute attacks. With • Mandatory supervisory training, “Re-invent-
an increased supply and use of clotting factors— ing Diversity for Today’s USDA,” deadline
produced by GE animals—patients could poten- Jan. 31.
tially have bleeding disorders better controlled.
• Mandatory FY09 IT Security Training, course
Scientists are also trying to develop GE cattle title: “USDA Information Systems Security
resistant to bovine spongiform encephalopathy. Awareness,” deadline Feb. 16. See AgLearn
GE animals could also be engineered to grow or contact your program’s Information Sys-
more quickly, or to reduce their environmental tems Security Manager.
impact by virtue of producing a lower level of pol- • Basic Agricultural Safeguarding Training,
lutants in their wastes. Other GE animals may be Jan. 21–Mar. 26, Frederick, Maryland. t
Inside APHIS Page 7
Legislative and APHIS has created and recent- Zimmers—now joined by Hegeman who start-
Public Affairs ly filled two new State liaison ed with the agency October 27—has been working
positions within the agency’s closely for the past 6 months with State organiza-
APHIS Legislative and Public Affairs tions. They include: NASDA, the National Plant
(LPA) program. The positions Board, the National Associa-
represent a new function for tion of State Animal Health
State Liaison LPA, bringing focused atten- Officials, the Association of
Positions tion and energy to APHIS’ outreach, collaboration, Fish and Wildlife Agencies,
and communication efforts with States. and the National Alliance of
By John Scott State Animal and Agricultural
Through the two new dedicated positions, LPA
will work to strengthen and grow the agency’s in- Emergency Programs.
formation sharing and relationships with our State With a wider agency focus, Zimmers and
cooperators—major partners in APHIS’ work. Hegeman’s efforts in LPA will complement the
For more about the joint Hallie Zimmers, who joined LPA in 1999 and other liaison positions that already exist within
assessment recommenda- has worked as interim liaison since early 2008, was other agency programs. Gwen Burnett serves as
tions, go to www.aphis. selected in mid-September. She is joined by Jake State liaison for Biotechnology Regulatory Ser-
usda.gov/about_aphis/ Hegeman, who recently worked with a firm spe- vices, and Paula Henstridge in Plant Protection and
NASDA.shtml. Quarantine is currently working on a detail with an
cializing in State regulatory and legislative issues.
intensive focus on State issues.
The idea for the positions within LPA grew out
of a joint assessment report completed by APHIS, Practicing good communications within
the National Association of State Departments of APHIS is a strong starting point for keeping our
Agriculture (NASDA), and other State partners. communications with State cooperators on track
Zimmers and Hegeman are responsible for
overseeing the assessment’s recommendations If you have questions about State-related
and ensuring progress on each. Additionally, the activities or would like to pass along information
two LPA liaisons serve as central points of contact that could contribute to APHIS communications
for the States, bringing APHIS and State officials with State cooperators, please contact Zimmers
together to address issues. or Hegeman. t
Veterinary Services Veterinary Services’ (VS) leadership is actively
early response activities; an expanding veterinary
Looking engaged in the process of determining what kind
of organization VS needs to become by the year
health mission that is responsive not only to issues
Forward 2015. This effort has resulted in a draft strategic
impacting animal agriculture, but also public health
concerns connected to animal populations of any
with document, recently shared with VS employees,
kind; and an expanding portfolio of interstate and
VS2015 that many are referring to simply as “VS2015.”
international certification services.
VS2015 is a draft strategic prospectus that
Program leadership has shared the draft
By John Scott projects a broad view of the program as it is an-
VS2015 prospectus with all VS employees, who
ticipated to be in the year 2015. It’s not a detailed
are encouraged to review it and provide feedback
map outlining how to get there; instead, VS2015
to their supervisors. Additionally, VS leadership
takes the first critical step in describing the scope
has recently begun discussing VS2015 and the pro-
of the organization’s activities, mode of operation,
gram’s future direction with external organizations.
and its partnerships.
To help manage implementation of VS2015,
Feedback for the Future the program has selected Nora Wineland, from
Many of the features on VS’ future work landscape VS’ Centers for Epidemiology and Animal Health,
remain familiar, but the program is also look- as project leader. Wineland has been assigned to
ing at issue areas that are growing or changing. the position full time and will soon establish work
These include: the program’s greater emphasis on teams and create other avenues to gather both em-
disease prevention, preparedness, detection, and ployee and stakeholder input. t
Inside APHIS Page 8
Wildlife When more than 400,000 gallons of tar-like oil Net Success
Services spilled into the Mississippi River on July 23, Capturing the affected animals
APHIS’ Wildlife Services (WS) program was was no easy feat. Even coated
called in to rescue any and all manner of wildlife, in oil, the birds and reptiles
the Wild including birds, snakes, and alligators. Respond- moved quickly, attempting to
ing to the spill, which was the result of a tanker avoid getting caught. Working
By Hallie Zimmers collision with an oil-filled barge along the New in three teams of two individu-
Orleans shore, WS biologists used all the tools of als each, WS used some newer
their trade to capture oil-encrusted wildlife and technology to assist with the
prevent healthy wildlife from entering the spill rescue efforts. Click on the picture
zone. Oil from the spill affected an approxi-
In addition to traditional above to see a photo
mately 100-mile stretch of the river. series of the CODA
handheld nets, throw nets, and
launcher in action.
Working alongside the U.S. Coast Guard catch poles, WS used soft-
and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, catch traps modified to capture
WS provided assistance based on their unique wading shore birds. They also used the CODA
expertise in dealing with wildlife issues. In total, capture-net system, a commercially available and
WS rescued 31 oiled animals—including 23 birds, innovative tool similar in function to conventional
5 alligators, and 3 snakes— to be cleaned by FWS rocket and cannon net systems but easier, safer,
rehabilitation specialists and released back into and more efficient to operate in many situations.
Most net launchers require the use of regulat-
While some of the rescued animals were only
ed explosives to fire a net over the targeted animal.
partially coated, others were entirely covered with The CODA net launcher, however, is propelled by
oil from the spill. “The spill was number six fuel .308 blanks, making the process safer and quicker
oil, which is real sticky, like tar,” said WS’ Walter to set up and reload.
Cotton, a supervisory wildlife biologist in Louisi-
“The CODA launcher takes about 12 min-
ana. “When it dries, it’s like asphalt.”
utes to set up,” said Cotton. In contrast, the other
In addition to capturing animals, WS used py- rocket net equipment used by the program can
rotechnics and other noise devices to prevent birds take up to 2 hours to prepare for use.
from entering the oil spill zone. As part of the
WS performed all capture activities without
project, WS also did fieldwork to study whether
any injuries to wildlife and received numerous
mammals successfully learn to avoid oil spills.
compliments on how well employees responded
WS captured more than 50 mammals, including
to reports of oiled animals. With the successful
27 raccoons and 12 opossums, to visually inspect
use of the tools in New Orleans, WS anticipates
them for oil. None of the animals were harmed by
expanding their use in other locations. t
the oil spill, and they were immediately released.
Got Thanks to APHIS’ streamlined regulatory application of one or more designated phytosani-
Dragon approach, you just might. tary measures.
Fruit? APHIS announced on July 30 that it would APHIS’ decision became effective upon pub-
begin issuing import permits for dragon fruit lication of notice in the Federal Register. The first
entering the continental United States from shipments of irradiated dragon fruit from Vietnam
Vietnam. arrived in Long Beach, California, on October 25.
APHIS began allowing imports of the For a quick overview about dragon fruit—
fiery looking fruit using its Q56 import regu- including a description of its taste, texture, and
lations. Based on a previously published pest nutritional value—visit http://en.wikipedia.org/
risk analysis, APHIS determined that the dragon wiki/Pitaya. t
fruit could be safely imported if subjected to the
Inside APHIS Page 9
Leadership If you spend a little time looking at the new The behavioral examples provide concrete
Development APHIS Leadership Development Toolkit, you just instances of the kinds of actions and experiences
Toolkit might find something interesting. Your future. that you can use to show mastery of a specific
competency at a given leadership level. In
The Leadership Development Toolkit is a
Look detailed and thorough guide to prepare yourself
short, the behavioral examples give you clear
Inside and for leadership positions and professional growth
ways to show proficiency and to identify actions/
experiences that you may want to focus upon
within the agency. Whether you’re just start-
for growth. Both of these are useful—especially
ing your APHIS career or are a more seasoned
when competing for a new position or when pre-
employee, the Toolkit offers specific guidance for
paring an individual development plan (IDP) with
learning experiences that will help you grow.
By John Scott your supervisor.
A Critical (But Easy) First Step Finally, to help you plan your development,
The first step is to get familiar with the Toolkit. the Toolkit suggests learning experiences for
Open it up and take a look around. You don’t each competency. These learning experiences are
need to read it cover to cover. The Toolkit is a not limited to the classroom—they include free
reference document and can be easily navigated AgLearn courses, books lists, developmental as-
online using its clickable links and tabs. signments, and personal development activities.
Start with the brief “How to Use the Toolkit
and Roadmap” section. Then, go to the section
Good Things Come in Threes
The agency is providing employees with three
that applies to you and invest time in yourself and
ways to access the Leadership Development Tool-
in learning how the Toolkit can help your career.
kit. It’s available online as an easily navigable pdf
Let’s Get Specific file. Go to http://www.aphis.usda.gov/mrpbs/esd/
The Toolkit starts with the 28 core leadership leadership_toolkit.shtml to view or save a copy.
competencies for APHIS employees—the same In addition, the agency is also sending each
competencies identified in the APHIS Leadership employee a copy on CD, and a print version is
Roadmap. It then offers numerous “behavioral available in limited numbers through designated
examples” for these competencies at each of five program contacts. Click HERE for a list of
different employee levels within the agency, rang- program contacts. t
ing from “all employees” to agency “executives.”
Coming Soon Inside APHIS will be getting a new look for One Click Away
the new year. For convenience and speed, we’re building in new
New Look Beginning with the 2009 winter issue, we will functions that make it easier to get around. The
for Inside introduce a new design that sharpens the newslet- redesigned newsletter includes clickable page
APHIS ter’s look and feel. The revamped design numbers along the top, forward and backward but-
offers improved readability by changing tons on each page, and a clickable list of articles
the format and by providing better op- up front.
tions to navigate newsletter content. “I’m looking forward to running the new
design,” says John Scott, Inside APHIS editor. “I
think readers will really like the new look and op-
We’re changing the layout to a hori-
tions for moving around.”
zontal format, minimizing the need
for up-and-down scrolling when The Good Stuff Stays
reading articles. We’re also adding Although the look is different, the good stuff will
white space and bolder headlines and remain the same. Many of the articles and features
subheads to bring better focus to the that readers enjoy will stay—including program fo-
Click image newsletter’s content and images. cused articles, the APHIS Manager Profile, stories
for larger view from our contributors, and photos from the field. t
Inside APHIS Page 10
• James Zablotny and Robert Brown, PPQ en-
Emerald ash borer (EAB) beetles have killed tens
tomologists and identifiers, examine collected
of millions of ash trees in
E AB samples, sorting through similar-looking
the United States, and
native beetles—and the occasional flies, bees,
The AB APHIS is in the middle
of the epidemic. Liter-
and other insects—to see if the surveys have
found new areas of infestation. The discovery
ally. The Riverdale
of EAB in the State of Missouri and Charles
headquarters sits inside
County, Maryland, were confirmed by the
the quarantined area
of Prince George’s
County, Maryland—one of 10 • Sharon Lucik, in APHIS’ Legislative and
States with confirmed presence of the invasive Public Affairs, coordinates the extensive
little pests. public outreach effort that includes distrib-
uting 600,000 bumper magnets with the
By Scott Moore APHIS’ Plant Protection and Quarantine
message, “Don’t move firewood, it bugs me.”
(PPQ) program is also at the center of the $120
Brochures, T-shirts, identification guides,
million Federal effort to fight EAB, first found in
and other tools are also being used to make
Michigan in 2002.
citizens aware of the purple traps and alert
Ongoing APHIS efforts include: regulatory them to the dangers (and illegality) of moving
activities, trapping/surveillance, public outreach, firewood outside of quarantined areas. The
and the development of biocontrol methods. The campaign funnels citizens to a central Web
fight against EAB involves many hardworking site, www.emeraldashborer.info, and has
hands within APHIS and its partnering agencies. resulted in another 10 detections.
Here’s a brief recap of some key agency activities
• PPQ’s Juli Gould leads the program’s EAB
biocontrol research efforts. APHIS has es-
• PPQ’s Phillip Bell and Ken Witt coordinated tablished a laboratory in Brighton, Michigan,
efforts to distribute 60,000 EAB traps—corru- where three insect enemies of the EAB will
gated, purple prisms that were put in place in be reared. The five-year plan calls for millions
the spring at high-risk locations in 48 States. of stingless wasps to be produced and then
EAB’s have a natural preference for purple released in targeted areas.
(hence the color of the traps) and a particular
“It doesn’t appear that EAB will be eradicat-
shade of light green. The purple traps are
ed; however, with good preparation, municipali-
part of survey efforts to delimit the edges of
ties can proactively plan for its arrival,” said Craig
known infestations and identify pockets of
Kellogg, State plant health director in Michigan.
infestation outside of quarantined States.
“If biocontrol efforts are successful, managing the
The distinctive traps also helped raise
pest may be an option, therefore ultimately reduc-
ing the impact on our ash resources.” t
Did You Did you know that, as part of their inspections un- rodents; bales of hay; bags of grains and other
der the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), Animal Care dry food (“monkey chow,” anyone?); and even
employees also inspect the animal food prep and live insects.
food storage areas for exhibitors?
AC inspectors look at exhibitors’ sanitary
Large zoos throughout the country often have practices in preparing meals and in storing food
several food prep areas and can be responsible for supplies to prevent spoilage and infestation,
feeding hundreds of animals each day. In the com- among other things. Inspectors also review
missary, the “central kitchen” of many zoos, you whether exhibitors are meeting the varying nutri-
can often find hundreds of pounds of fresh fruit tional needs of their many animals. t
and vegetables; boxes of frozen meat, fish, and
Inside APHIS Page 11
Chronic APHIS and several other research partners recently CWD is a transmissible spongiform enceph-
Wasting Disease completed the third year of evaluating and validat- alopathy, a disease in which abnormal proteins
ing the first live test for chronic wasting disease accumulate in the central nervous and lymphatic
Researchers (CWD) in elk. The new test uses a rectal-tissue systems of infected animals, and brain lesions de-
Develop biopsy method for detecting the disease in elk. velop, followed by a “wasting-away” death. Cur-
rently, there is
“Until now, there was no practical live test
no cure. At this
for Elk for CWD in elk,” said research wildlife biologist
Kurt VerCauteren with Wildlife Services’ National
time, the only
Wildlife Research Center.
By Gail Keirn for CWD in elk
Research on the new test—which is still require brain
undergoing validation—has been a collabora- and lymphoid
tive effort between APHIS’ Wildlife Services and tissue removed
Veterinary Services programs, as well as other from an animal
Federal, State and international partners. They after its death.
include: USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, APHIS and partnering scientists
Colorado State University, and the Canadian Food conducted most of their test research
Inspection Agency. To date, researchers have at Velvet Ridge Elk Ranch, owned by
in captive and Dennis and Stephanie White, near
collected more than 1,500 biopsies from captive
elk in Colorado and used the test to find 15 CWD-
free-ranging Fort Collins, Colorado. (photo by G.
mule deer, Keirn, APHIS)
“We’re hopeful that this new live test will deer, elk, and moose. The disease is devastating
greatly aid in the management and control of the for the captive elk industry. An estimated 12,000–
disease in the wild, as well as in captive settings,” 14,000 captive elk have been killed in the western
said VerCauteren. “To better understand its United States and Canada in the past 8 years to
limits and usefulness, we need to test a lot more control CWD. Additionally, several thousand free-
animals—especially during the depopulation of ranging mule deer, white-tailed deer, and elk have
entire infected herds.” been killed in efforts to reduce CWD in the wild. t
Inside First, a big thanks to the 109 readers who responded
Your New Question
APHIS to our last question of the day. Here’s how your
coworkers answered the question, “How far is your
Question typical roundtrip drive to and from work?”
How many hours a month
do you volunteer with outside
of the Day organizations?
31–40 miles • I don’t currently volunteer
• 4 or less hours
21–30 miles • 5–10 hours
5.5% 41–50 miles • 11–15 hours
8.3% • 16–20 hours
• More than 20 hours
Click on the following link to participate in the poll:
11–20 miles 9.2% 7.3% http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=jm6aDLG
hfHIuk9VodYWasA_3d_3d. Participation is volun-
tary and confidential.
5–10 miles use mass transit
0.9% To suggest future questions or stories, please
walk/bicycle e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. t
Inside APHIS Page 12
Keeping For many, the winter holidays bring joy and APHIS’ Riverdale headquarters, prohibit
special times with family, friends, and coworkers.
But safety officials remind us that it is also • When used, keep space heaters away from ob-
Winter a time to be careful. Without the right pre- jects that could ignite or become overheated
Safe cautions, the winter holidays can be a time
• Make sure the heater is in good condition and
of greater risk—especially from fire.
follow the manufacturer’s instructions about
By John Scott According to the U.S. Fire Administra- proper maintenance and ventilation
tion, each year 400 people lose their lives and Candles at Home
another 1,650 are injured due to fires during • Always make sure candles are in a stable base
the holiday season.
• Keep candles away from burnable items and
Take a quick scan of the following tips. replace when wick is low
They’re good reminders about common fire
• Never leave burning candles unattended
safety cautions to keep in mind at home and in
the workplace. And as always, be sure to follow Decorations
your work facility’s fire safety rules and policies. • Use nonflammable decorations when possible
Caution: • Keep away from heat sources and vents
Within seconds, live trees Electrical Safety
can become fully engulfed • Don’t overload outlets by plugging in too • Before leaving home or office, do a quick
in flames. The U.S. Fire many lights or other devices safety check of candles, lights, and other pow-
Administration has video ered decorations
clips online showing how • Practice good extension cord safety: Use out-
rapidly a fire can ignite door cords when needed; match your cord’s Trees
and spread. To view clips, wattage rating with what you’re powering; • For live trees, select a fresh tree that doesn’t
click on the following don’t run cords under carpets show signs of already being dry
link http://www.usfa.dhs. • Keep live trees watered and away from heat
• Check light strings and extension cords for
gov/citizens/all_citizens/ sources that could dry or ignite a tree
home_fire_prev/holiday- signs of wear. Replace them if you find
seasonal/treefire.shtm cracks, frays, or gaps in the wire insulation • When selecting an artificial tree, choose one
Space heaters labeled “flame retardant”
• Follow your office building’s rules regard- • Never locate decorated trees where they can
ing space heaters (many facilities, including block foot traffic, doorways, or exits t
Holland During the summer, Marilyn Holland was selected
as APHIS’ new chief information officer (CIO) and
the agency, her positions included working as chief
of the program planning and management division
director of the agency’s information technology in USDA’s Office of the Chief Information Officer
New CIO (IT) division. (OCIO). In that office, she was responsible for,
among other things, IT capital planning and invest-
As CIO, Holland provides agency leadership
ment control, enterprise architecture, IT workforce
concerning IT planning and design, application
planning and project management.
development, systems administration, telecommu-
nications, security and information management, Holland also served on management details
and customer support services. while in OCIO, including working as the associ-
ate CIO for IT management and the chief of the
Holland plans on working across the agency
information management division. Additionally,
and building upon the work already underway to
she worked on a detail with the Office of Manage-
provide a secure and stable IT environment. “We
ment and Budget in 2003 as a policy analyst.
need to streamline and standardize our IT invest-
ments so we can focus on those that are critical,” Holland obtained her bachelor of arts in his-
says Holland. tory and masters in business administration from
Georgetown University, and she holds a project
Holland first joined APHIS as deputy CIO in
management certification from the Project Man-
2006, and she served as acting CIO from February
agement Institute. t
2008 until her selection as CIO. Prior to joining
Inside APHIS Page 13
APHIS Manager Profile
What is your background? family. My husband and I have three young boys
I was born and raised in Prince George’s County, and a great home life. We are excited about our
Maryland. I attended the University of Maryland, part in helping our children to become young
Baltimore County and graduated in 1992. I first men. Professionally, I am proud of my position
started working in the Federal Government as a here at APHIS. The FOIA is the cornerstone of
cooperative education student right out of college our democracy—in very few countries are citizens
and went on to complete my graduate school allowed to participate in the governmental process.
degree at Bowie State University with a M.A. in The FOIA allows anyone in our country and world
Public Administration. I have worked as an ana- to learn about what the Federal government does
lyst, specializing in working with the Freedom of by requesting Federal records. It’s a huge accom-
Director also worked for a number of years at both the U.S.
Department of Energy and U.S. Department of Last book read?
Freedom of Information &
Privacy Acts Staff Commerce on their FOIA/Privacy staffs. I have I read a lot of fantasy novels, and I am currently
Legislative & Public Affairs been married for 12 years to my husband Mark, reading Knife of Dreams by Robert Jordan.
(photo by A. Eaglin) and I have three sons, Mark, Jr. (9), Michael (5),
and Malachi (3).
I love warm pie and ice cream.
How long have
you been with APHIS?
Ledo’s cheese pizza with a large salad.
This is my second stint at APHIS, having worked
in the FOIA and Privacy Acts Office from 2000 Favorite movie?
through 2004. I rejoined APHIS as the Director in Beaches with Bette Midler.
Most memorable APHIS I enjoy reading, shopping, and going to my boys’
experience? soccer/basketball games. t
My most memorable experience with APHIS was
as a FOIA specialist. During the detection of
BSE in Washington State, I had the opportunity Prepare for Winter
to travel there and assist the State FOIA folks in
reviewing APHIS records. APHIS shares a lot of Operating Status Information
information with their various State partners and As winter weather approaches, you may need
what became apparent was how the State access a quick way to find out the operating status of
laws differed from the Federal FOIA statute. We Federal offices where you work.
were able to offer assistance and advice to the Visit and bookmark the following Of-
State regarding how to protect APHIS records. fice of Personnel Management web page for
quick access to information about offices in
Priorities for the coming months? the Washington, D.C. Area. The OPM web
Can you say backlog, backlog, backlog? My
address is http://www.opm.gov/Operating_
main priority is to reduce our backlog of FOIA
requests. The FOIA office currently has many
initiatives in place to assist with backlog reduc- The OPM web page includes a link to
tion, and I am looking forward to showing off our Federal Executive Boards nationwide as a way
accomplishments as a staff. of providing information about offices in other
geographical areas. Some (unfortunately not
Accomplishment most proud of? all) have up-to-date status information. t
On a personal level, I am most proud of my
Inside APHIS Page 14
Stepping In During an emergency response, it’s important to be ducted aggressive END quarantine, control, and
prepared and have the right number of people with cleanup efforts to prevent the disease from spread-
National the right set of skills. For the Veterinary Services ing. NAHERC was there too, providing much
Animal (VS) program, the National Animal Health Emer- needed help. Approximately 340 Corps members
Health gency Response Corps (NAHERC) is a crucial part
of making that happen.
participated in the disease response.
Emergency Growing the Numbers
VS created the volunteer corps to make sure
VS primarily recruits NAHERC personnel through
that—in addition to its own ranks—it has an
Corps external established network of trained veterinar-
veterinary conferences, fairs, and Web sites, as
well as through colleges and universities. Veteri-
ians and technicians available to combat U.S.
By Brie German narian students serve as excellent technicians and
animal disease outbreaks. NAHERC consists of
can earn pay while gaining valuable on-the-job
private and State animal health technicians and
veterinarians willing to step in and support APHIS.
Depending on the situation, duties may include ex- Thomas Cunningham, NAHERC coordinator,
amining herds or flocks, vaccinating animals, col- is working to form university-based task forces,
lecting epidemiologic information, depopulating consisting of five professors and 20 students ready
diseased animals, or inspecting livestock markets, to be deployed as a team for 3 weeks.
trucks, and vehicles. To aid with recruiting, NAHERC also began
utilizing USAJobs in June 2007 and enrolled
Proven Needs and Proven Benefits more than 500 qualified members in the first year.
During the United Kingdom’s (UK) foot-and-
Members include animal health technicians, vet-
mouth disease outbreak in 2002, the UK’s Minis-
erinarians, retirees, and students.
try of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food requested
APHIS’ help. VS provided veterinary medical VS employees can also help grow the Corps’
officers to assist, but UK officials needed addi- numbers by sharing information about NAHERC
tional help to control the outbreak. In response, with others outside of the agency and by telling
VS coordinated sending approximately 145 Corps them how to get involved.
members on 30-day rotations. Corps members Individuals can apply through www.usajobs.
provided valuable skills to help complement and com. Qualified personnel become temporary VS
support APHIS employees during the outbreak. employees and can serve as veterinary medical
In October 2002, APHIS again drew upon officers or as animal health technicians during an
the NAHERC for assistance. In response to an emergency situation.
outbreak of exotic Newcastle disease (END), VS For more information, please visit
worked closely with State and local officials in http://naherc.aphis.usda.gov. t
California. Together, VS and its cooperators con-
North American Rabies
By Brie German
On October 3, APHIS and the Centers for Disease dian officials Peter Buck and Francine Lord; U.S.
Control and Prevention (CDC) signed the North officials Scott Bender (Navajo Nation), Cindy
American Rabies Management Plan along with Smith (APHIS), and Julie Gerberding (CDC); and
Canadian and Mexican officials. The plan’s aim Mexican officials Fernando Vargas Pino, Franciso
is to strengthen cooperation and communication Velarde Garcia, and Martin Vargas Prieto. (photo
in addressing wildlife rabies management and by B. German) t
control. Pictured (seated left to right) are Cana-
Inside APHIS Page 15
Target National Disability Employment Awareness Additionally, the center loans a variety of
Month takes place in October, but USDA’s equipment for evaluation purposes and to help
Target Center is a valuable resource all year address temporary disabilities. For example, an
Reaches long—even for employees and supervisors in employee with a temporary hand injury can bor-
All APHIS APHIS field locations. row a one-handed keyboard during recovery.
Disabilities and individual needs can vary Some assistive technology equipment is even
widely, and it’s difficult for employees and super- provided to employees with qualified disabilities at
visors to know what equipment and options are no cost to the agency. Examples of such equip-
available to meet those needs. The good news is ment include screen readers, screen magnifiers,
that the Target Center is a good place to turn for speech recognition software, and more.
Training & Presentations
As a resource for all USDA employees, the
The Target Center provides educational programs
Target Center’s mission is to ensure that employ-
and materials on a variety of topics. They host a
By John Scott ees have safe and equal access to electronic and
regularly scheduled online program series called
information technology by assessing, educating,
the Target Discovery Series. Viewers can partici-
and advocating for the integration of assistive
pate live or access archived programs online at
technology and worksite accommodations.
their convenience. Past topics range from ergo-
If you haven’t contacted the Target Center nomics, to mobile reader technology, to workforce
before or visited their Web site, you may be recruitment programs.
surprised by the services they offer.
Additionally, the center offers training on
Below is a quick sampling of some of their demand at local offices and at field offices via its
key services. Check out their Web site at http:// online service, Target Web Connect.
www.usda.gov/oo/target/index.html for a full
view of what they can do for you. More Information
For more information, you can contact either
Assistive Technology of the APHIS disability employment program
The Target Center provides assistive technology managers, Sophia Kirby and Tammy Lowry.
assessments nationwide for USDA employees Additionally, Kimberly Meyer-Chambers, who
with disabilities. Assessments can help match serves as the Marketing and Regulatory Programs
individual employee needs with equipment. They designee for reasonable accommodations, can be
can be done either in person, over the phone, or reached by e-mail in Lotus Notes or by telephone
through an online connection. at (301) 734-8299.
The Target Center staff can offer informed Employees are also encouraged to visit US-
advice about equipment and information about DA’s Target Center online or to call them directly
vendors and pricing. at (202) 720-2600. t
Use or Lose Annual Retiring Soon? Read This
Leave Information The end of the year is the most popular time to
Deadlines are approaching. Go to the fol-
retire. Keep your retirement plans on track by
lowing link for the latest information about
following the Human Resources Division’s retire-
“use or lose” annual leave. The address is http://
ment checklist. Check it out at http://www.aphis.
For additional information, contact your pro-
For more information, please call or e-mail
gram’s resource management official, adminis-
the benefits specialist who services your program/
trative officer, or Nella Roberts in the Human
location. For a list of specialists go to http://www.
Resources Division. Her e-mail address is
Inside APHIS Page 16
Legislative As the 110th Congress comes to a close, we received significant congressional interest, includ-
Corner thought it helpful to provide a brief recap of last ing light brown apple moth, export difficulties with
year’s legislative activities and a quick look ahead. Mexico, and environmental compliance related to
Looking The 110th Congress tried to tackle many high biotechnology.
Back and profile issues during its 2-year session, ranging Looking Ahead
Looking from the Nation’s economy to the U.S. food safety All 435 Members of the House, as well as 35 Sena-
Ahead system. During this time, many in Congress also
kept their eyes on APHIS activities.
tors, were up for reelection this year. There were
many tight races, particularly for incumbents, and
More than 100 bills that could affect the some races remain undecided as of November 5.
By Abbey Shaffer agency were introduced. The most significant— APHIS will continue to be busy surveying the new
the 2008 Farm Bill—touches all APHIS programs political landscape and preparing to discuss issues
through the creation of new activities and authori- that matter most to Congress.
ties, increased funding, and new partnerships. Here’s a taste of issues likely to arise next year:
Other new legislation signed into law includes • The House Committee on Agriculture has
the Animal Fighting Prohibition Act of 2008, committed to evaluating the efficiency of
which strengthens animal fighting statutes, and the USDA’s current organization. To date, no
Openness Promotes Effectiveness in Our National mention has been made about whether APHIS
Government Act, which enhances the Freedom of would be affected.
Information Act. While most bills introduced were
not signed into law, we anticipate many to be re- • The outlaw of horses to slaughter in foreign
introduced in the 111th Congress. countries was a hot issue for Congress this
year, and the issue is expected to return again.
In the past year, APHIS also worked to help
Congress better understand the agency’s role and • We anticipate significant interest in how
authorities. APHIS responded to approximately APHIS and its Federal partners implement
550 congressional calls and conducted over 80 the Farm Bill’s provisions concerning
briefings for Hill staff. Numerous agency issues illegal logging. t
Volunteer Protecting U.S. agriculture and getting the job and finds homes for about 350 shelter and owner-
Spotlight done—that’s what APHIS does everyday at work. relinquished Great Dane dogs each year. With
more than 500 volunteers, it operates within 9
Lissa Scott And for many of your APHIS coworkers,
there’s even more that they do outside of the work-
States and also provides owners with information
to help them keep their Dane.
day to serve the needs of others. Many volunteer
their time and energy to community organizations. Volunteer Activities: Scott assists the rescue
group in many ways, including attending public
To acknowledge and promote the volunteer
events to increase awareness of the breed and res-
spirit that is part of our agency community, Inside
cue efforts; organizing fundraising activities; writ-
APHIS plans to run a series of Volunteer Spotlights
ing fliers and other publicity materials; and helping
on employee volunteers. If you would like to share
to match adoption applicants with rescued Danes.
information for future spotlights about an organi-
zation and your efforts, or the efforts of someone Time Given: Scott has been involved with the
in the agency you know, please send an e-mail to rescue league since March 2001. On average, she
email@example.com. donates about 40 hours a month—with spring and
fall being peak times for the group.
Employee Name: Lissa Scott, Information
Technology Division Organization Web Site: To learn more about the
organization, you can visit http://www.magdrl.org/.
Volunteer Organization: Mid-Atlantic Great
Dane Rescue League Employee E-mail: To learn more about her
volunteer efforts, contact Scott at lissa.n.scott@
Organization Mission: The rescue league is a
501(c)3 nonprofit organization that rehabilitates