Herstory Thursdays: Tolani Francisco


In honor of Native American History Month, today we are talking about one of the two Native American Veterinarians in America, Dr. Tolani Francisco. Dr. Tolani Fransisco grew up on the Laguna Pueblo Reservation in New Mexico always around animals. Her family raised cattle and sheep and she took care of animals as well. In her sophomore year of high school, she decided to become a Veterinarian. In 1986, she attended Kansas State University school of veterinary medicine with hopes of opening her own practice on the reservation. When that plan stopped becoming a reality, she joined several smaller veterinary practices and then joined a became a relief veterinarian.

From her work as a relief veterinarian, Tolani was recruited into the USDA’s Public Veterinary Practice Career Program and learned how to protect the nations animals from animal diseases. She worked as the USDA representative in a effort to eradicate FMD in Bolivia until 2001.

In 2002, she joined the Air Force to become a public health officer where she served for four years. She is still works for the USDA as a wildlife specialist and now directs the agency that works with Native American tribes in the Southwest. She hopes to one day open a veterinary practice in her reservation, and as she says "Reservation animals still deserve the same quality care as those living in more prosperous areas. We owe that much to our four-legged brothers and sisters."