Black History Month 2023: Sharing Stories from Black Veterinary Professionals in Georgia

Meet Dr. Marcus Webster, Associate State Veterinarian

Q: What is your role in veterinary medicine?

Dr. Webster: “Currently I serve as Associate State Veterinarian for the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) as well as a small-animal relief clinician on weekends. As Associate State Veterinarian I act as the One Health Liaison for the GDA to other human and animal health departments and agencies, perform and provide guidance for reportable animal disease surveillance, and support aquatic livestock health on a state level.

Earlier in my career I served as a federal public health veterinarian with USDA-FSIS inspecting livestock and as a routine/emergency veterinarian in a 24 hour small animal veterinary practice.”

Q. Who has served as an inspiration in your life?

Dr. Webster: “There are several who have and continue to serve as inspirations in my life (father and mother, first and foremost). My parents provided the foundation which I stand on today.

During one of my darkest times in veterinary school my father said, “Do not let temporary people have a permanent effect on your life.” That statement was just what I needed to keep going.

Two other major inspirations in my life have been veterinarians, Dr. E. Marie Rush and Dr. William Mitchell. They mentored me at critical points in my development as a veterinarian and demonstrated what it means to have a heart for what you do. Several other veterinarians and veterinary technicians have inspired me by demonstrating how they handle complex challenges.

Q. Does your family have any traditions that are especially important to you?

Dr. Webster: “Every May my extended family travels to Louisiana to celebrate every birthday my grandmother has over 90.

Q: What is your proudest moment in veterinary medicine?

Dr. Webster: My proudest moment was saving a 13 year old Shar Pei with gastric dilation and volvulus at 3:00 am. It was just me, two technicians, a book, and faith.

Q: How has your heritage influenced your path in veterinary medicine?

Dr. Webster: “Animals and agriculture are in my blood. My paternal great-uncle owned a mixed livestock farm and raised rabbits. He and I would talk all things agriculture and livestock whenever we were together. He and my father appreciated my obsessive love for animals and introduced me to the idea of becoming a veterinarian.

Growing up in rural Mississippi and Louisiana I was surrounded by farm animals, pets, and wildlife. I grew up being my friends’ and family’s reference to all things about animals. I have rabbits and a love for catfish to this today because of my great uncle.

My mother raised me and my siblings with an understanding of what it was like for her growing up as a sharecropper during the Jim Crow Era. We visited the plantation where her family raised livestock and picked cotton. My mother’s childhood in Louisiana inspired me to become a licensed veterinarian in that state.