The Texas A&M University System (TAMUS) Board of Regents has recognized Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL) Gonzales Resident Director Martin Ficken, DVM, PhD, DACPV as a 2022-2023 Regents Fellow Service Award recipient.
The Regents Fellow Service Award Program was established in 1998 to recognize extension, service, and research professionals. Each year, this award is given to individuals who have provided exemplary professional service to society that has created large and lasting benefits to Texas and beyond.
Ficken joined TVMDL in 2009 as a pathologist at the College Station laboratory. For two years, he assisted the laboratory with necropsy and pathology services for a wide range of animals, however he quickly became a trusted subject matter expert for avian species.
In 2011, Dr. Ficken assumed the role of interim resident director for TVMDL’s Sam and Sally Glass Poultry Diagnostic Laboratory in Gonzales. In 2012, his role was made official, and he began his tenure as the lab’s resident director.
Ficken leads a four-person staff at TVMDL’s Gonzales laboratory. Though his team is small, they are directly responsible for over one third of TVMDL’s poultry testing. The agency’s poultry client roster includes multiple state and national producers in addition to backyard bird owners. As a board-certified poultry pathologist and veterinarian, Ficken is accustomed to working with all types of clients and providing them with the same level of exceptional service.
Evidence of his ability to manage cases of all sizes has been highlighted throughout the current Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) outbreak. In early 2022, HPAI quickly spread across the United States. In March of that year, Ficken identified the first positive case of HPAI in Texas. Due to this early detection, Texas bird owners and commercial producers were alerted and able to quickly implement additional biosecurity measures. Since the initial positive case, Texas has fared relatively well compared to other states in terms of positive cases. Much of this is due to Ficken’s quick thinking and ongoing communication with Texas’ poultry stakeholders.
In addition to his commitment to diagnostics, Ficken also dedicates time to education. He is TVMDL’s most frequently requested speaker for poultry topics and regularly contributes to seminars and other educational opportunities at Texas A&M University.
Prior to joining TVMDL, Ficken had cultivated an impressive career within the realms of veterinary research and laboratory diagnostics. He is now one of nine TVMDL professionals who have received the distinction of Regents Fellow. Please join TVMDL in congratulating Dr. Martin Ficken on this well deserved recognition.