- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
When you say "Thank you for your service," that not only means his service in the Korean War, but his entire career in medical entomology.
Dr. Washino, an emeritus professor/chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology (now the Department of Entomology and Nematology), is internationally known for his expertise in medical entomology and ecology, more specifically the ecology of mosquitoes and mosquito control agents; rice field ecology; mosquito blood meal identification, and remote sensing and geographic information technologies. He co-authored the last complete treatise on the Mosquitoes of California.
He is legendary for not only his research, but for his academic, administrative, and public service accomplishments.
However, few people know that during the Korean War, the Sacramento native served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps from 1956 to 1958. He saw duty in Europe (Orléans, France). As a medical entomologist, Lt. Washino conducted a small detachment and a laboratory and later served as an assistant preventative medicine officer.
And even fewer people are aware that as a child, he was incarcerated with his family in American-Japanese internment camps from 1942 to 1945. It was a sad time in American history. On Feb. 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, sending nearly 120,000 American citizens and legal residents of Japanese descent to internment camps. Young Bob was 10 years old and living in Sacramento with his parents and four older sisters when the mandate took effect. The family eventually returned to Sacramento.
Young Bob went on to graduate from a Sacramento high school, receive his bachelor's degree in public health (1954) from UC Berkeley; and two entomology degrees from UC Davis: a master's degree (1956) and a doctorate (1967). He joined the entomology faculty in 1964. He officially retired in 1993, but continued his academic, research and public service accomplishments into his early 80s. He still consults with the medical entomologist community, including prospective students.
As an emeritus professor, Dr. Washino was called back into service. He accepted a total of three administrative posts on the UC Davis campus: special assistant to the dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences; interim co-director of the Center for Vectorborne Diseases, School of Veterinary Medicine; and chair of the entomology department.
Dr. Washino served 38 consecutive years on the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control (SYMVC) Board, the longest in the agency's history.This included five terms as president. 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 laboratory, laboratory staff and the library is named in his honor. In fact, he not only designed the complex, but gifted his literature and photographic collection for research and teaching purposes.
Among his dozens of credentials:
- Past president of the American Mosquito Control Association and the California Mosquito and Vector Control Association
- Former director of the UC Agricultural and Natural Resources Statewide Center for Pest Management and a consultant with the USDA Cooperative State Research Service.
- Coordinator of an international symposium on “Culex pipiens Complex Symposium: Global Perspectives in the 21st Century” in Anaheim, Orange County, Calif., gathering together 17 U.S. and worldwide speakers, including experts from London, Japan, Australia, Portugal and Germany. This was part of the four-day American Mosquito Control Association conference. He published the results of this landmark symposium on Dec. 2, 2012 in the Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association; see https://bioone.org/journals/journal-of-the-american-mosquito-control-association/volume-28/issue-4s. The publication serves as a general landmark of how mosquito biologists currently view the Cx. pipiens complex. At the time, understanding the systematics of the Culex pipiens complex was one of the most controversial topics in the mosquito world.
- Chairman of the UC Davis Contained Research Facility Committee, resulting 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. During the process, he worked with entomology, plant pathology and nematology faculty and with infrastructure officials on the two campuses.
Highly honored by his peers, Professor Washino received the international Harry Hoogstraal Medal for Outstanding Achievement in Medical Entomology in 2005 and was selected a fellow of the Entomological Society of America in 1997. Among his many other awards: the 2001 Award of Distinction from the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the 1996 Distinguished Achievement Award from the Society of Vector Ecology. At the 2001 Award of Distinction celebration on Oct. 19, 2001, Andrew Spielman, professor of tropical public health, Harvard School of Public Health, praised him this way: “I regard Bob as the most respected and best loved medical entomologist in the whole world."
Robert Washino is also a veteran.
A veteran of the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps.
And today is Veterans' Day.
It's time, past time, to say "Thank you, Dr. Washino, for your service."/span>