Medical Entomologist Robert Washino Recipient of Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award
March 6, 2012
Robert Washino is a recipient of a 2012 Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Awards.
DAVIS--Renowned medical entomologist Robert Washino, emeritus professor of entomology and a longtime academic administrator at the University of California, Davis, has been selected a recipient of a 2012 Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award from the Academic Senate.
“Your public service contributions over the years have been truly outstanding and we are delighted and honored to be able to publicly recognize them,” wrote Committee on Public Service chair Marc Schenker in a Feb. 28th letter.
During his 1964-1994 academic career at UC Davis, Washino chaired the UC Davis Department of Entomology and served as an associate dean of the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. For the past 18 years, he has continued his public service at international, national and state levels.
Washino will be honored at an awards ceremony from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 2 in Balloom A of the UC Davis Activities and Recreation Center (ARC).
Washino was nominated for the award by long-time colleague Michael Parrella, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology.
In a statement released by the Academic Senate: “Throughout his academic career and now in retirement, Dr. Washino gives freely of his time and expertise to state, federal and international agencies, as well as the private sector. Locally, he committed himself to the public health agency, the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District, which protects the public from disease transmission of mosquito viruses. Nationally, he testified before congressional committees and served on USDA and California Department of Food and Agriculture task forces targeting such insects as the Africanized honey bee and Mediterranean fruit fly."
“He added breadth and depth to national organizations such as the Entomological Society of America and bridged to the international World Health Organization. Dr. Washino focused on the need to study plant pest and disease caused by harmful non-indigenous (exotic) organisms and to solve the critical demand for strengthened pest exclusion, early detection, and alternative strategies for managing pest and disease problems. His efforts demonstrate a total commitment to public service, particularly advancement of public welfare.”
In his letter of nomination, Parrella wrote: “While growing up in Sacramento, he drew inspiration from the work of the Rockefeller Foundation for developing the 17D vaccine against yellow fever; and Walter Reed, who discovered the role of the mosquito as the culprit in the transmission of the yellow fever virus. Like them, young Bob was determined to make a difference in his lifetime and he definitely has.”
Washino received his bachelor of science degree in 1954 from UC Berkeley; his master’s degree in entomology from UC Davis in 1956; and his doctorate in entomology from UC Davis in 1967. He served as a medical entomologist in the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps from 1956 through 1958.
“Throughout his academic career and now in retirement, Dr. Washino gives freely of his time and expertise to state, federal and international agencies as well as the private sector,” Parrella said.
Following his retirement, Washino fulfilled three UC Davis administrative post recalls: special assistant to the dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences; interim co-director of the Center for Vector Borne Diseases, School of Veterinary Medicine; and as chair of the Department of Entomology.
Parrella praised Washino’s commitment to a local public health agency, the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District, which protects the public from disease transmission of mosquito viruses. Appointed by the City of Davis to the Sacramento-Yolo Board of Trustees, Washino served on the board from 1973 to 2011, longer than any other trustee.
“His expertise is invaluable in assuring the safety of the more than two million people who live in the 2000-square-mile district; guiding scientists and sharing information on vector ecology and mosquitoes; and serving the needs of the district personnel,” said Parrella, who served on the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District's Board of Trustees for more than 10 years with Washino.
For research and teaching purposes, Washino generously gifted his entire collection of books and journals, reprints, unpublished master of science and doctorate theses (from UC Davis, UCLA, UC Riverside) and an estimated 1000 2x2 slides. He was instrumental in spearheading plans for the design and development of the present 40-acre district complex, completed in 1994. The building that houses the lab, library and lab staff is named in his honor.
Washino served five terms as president of the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District's Board of Trustees. In 1990 he did triple duty: president of the Board of Trustees; president of the statewide Mosquito and Vector Control Association of California (MVCAC), and associate dean of Academic Affairs, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
In 2010, Dr. Washino coordinated an all-day mosquito symposium at the American Mosquito Control Association's five-day conference in Anaheim, Orange County. He gathered together 17 U.S. and worldwide speakers, including experts from London, Japan, Australia, Portugal and Germany. He is currently involved in the pending (2013) publication of the entire symposium.
A past president of the American Mosquito Control Association, former director of the UC ANR Statewide Center for Pest Management and an ongoing consultant with the USDA Cooperative State Research Service, Washino “also makes a difference by adding breadth and depth to organizations ranging from the Entomological Society of America to the World Health Organization,” Parrella said.
Washino published 193 papers and abstracts on topics related to mosquito biology, ecology, and control. He co-authored the last complete treatise on the Mosquitoes of California. In 2005, as a global authority on the ecology of mosquitoes and mosquito control agents, he received the international Harry Hoogstraal Medal for Outstanding Achievement in Medical Entomology.
Washino chaired the Contained Research Facility Committee that focused on the need to study plant pest and disease caused by harmful non-indigenous (exotic) organisms. His goal of facilitating urgent research in high security quarantine facilities resulted in the establishment of containment facilities on the UC Davis and UC Riverside campuses “to solve the critical demand for strengthened pest exclusion, early detection, and alternative strategies for managing pest and disease problems,” Parrella said.
Washino, who will turn 80 this year (March 14), epitomizes the very meaning of “public servant,” Parrella concluded. Washino continues to be involved with the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District but on a more casual, unofficial basis.
Others named recipients of the coveted Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award are Elizabeth 'Liz' Applegate, Department of Nutrition; Mark Mannis, Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Science; and John Largier, Bodega Marine Laboratory.
--Kathy Keatley Garvey
UC Davis Department of Entomology