Thursday, November 19, 2015
John Mark Velasco

Dr. Velasco accepting The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) award in the field of medical science and public health (2014)

Virtual Homecoming is a chance to share memories from your time at the UI and reconnect with your alma mater, regardless of where you are in the world. During International Education Week 2015 (Nov. 16-20), we will be sharing some of these alumni stories.

John Mark Velasco, from Manila, Philippines, earned his Bachelor of Science in biology, Masters in Public Health, and Doctor of Medicine degrees from the University of the Philippines, and completed a certificate in emerging infectious disease epidemiology from the University of Iowa College of Public Health in 2010. He went on to earn his post-graduate diploma and Masters of Science in clinical trials from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 2011 and 2013, respectively.

Dr. Velasco works as the regional clinical investigator of the United States Army Medical Component Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences (USAMC-AFRIMS), and was one of the founding staff members of the AFRIMS Virology Research unit in the Philippines. In 2014, he was recognized by the National Academy of Science and Technology in the Philippines as one of the outstanding young scientists in public health. In the same year, Dr. Velasco was also recognized by the Philippine Senate and Philippine Congress as one of the outstanding young men of the Philippines in the field of medical science and public health.

Dr. Velasco vividly remembers Iowa’s parks and fields, where he would go jogging with friends after class. He especially loved watching the sunset while jogging around campus. He had a fantastic experience at the UI, and appreciated how kind and approachable Iowans are. He also has fond memories of visiting pig farms and a turkey processing factory to learn about the interface of transmission between animal and human populations.

Dr. Gregory Gray, who taught an intensive course for the certificate in emerging infectious disease epidemiology, had a particularly positive impact, and Dr. Velasco attributes his current focus on One Health mainly to Dr. Gray’s influence. 

John Mark Velasco's class at the UI

Dr. Velasco (row 3, left) with his classmates at the University of Iowa.