‘We are not your father's AVMA’

By R. Scott Nolen

Dr. Ron DeHaven tries to keep as low a profile as possible for a man in his position.

In some ways, Dr. DeHaven's current role as AVMA executive vice president could not be more unlike his former career as chief veterinary officer for the Department of Agriculture. When the first U.S. case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy was diagnosed late in 2003, it was Dr. DeHaven's job to reassure an anxious public about the safety of the nation's beef supply.

Four years later, Dr. Larry M. Kornegay would recall Dr. DeHaven's deft handling of a situation that could have easily spiraled into an international crisis. At the time, AVMA Executive Vice President Bruce W. Little was retiring, and Dr. Kornegay was chairing the committee searching for his successor. Dr. DeHaven—who by then was administrator of the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service—had applied for the job. The rest is history.

“Personally, I was impressed with his interactions with the media during the BSE scare and his ability to convey a professional, coherent, and scientifically sound message in a cool, calm, and collected fashion,” Dr. Kornegay told JAVMA News.

“If anything, Dr. DeHaven has exceeded my personal expectations, and I had some high expectations that he would excel as our executive vice president,” he added.

Since assuming the responsibilities of the AVMA's chief executive officer in 2007, Dr. DeHaven has chosen to work behind the scenes rather than stand in the spotlight at every opportunity. “As administrator at APHIS, I was the one expected to be the spokesman for the agency to the media, the public, and the (USDA) secretary. Here at AVMA, that really is the appropriate role for the volunteer leaders,” he explained.

As a result of his work supporting Association leadership, Dr. DeHaven is helping transform the AVMA from an organization whose primary function was being an informational resource into one focused on program delivery. “We are creating a new AVMA,” he said. “As the Board of Governors likes to say, ‘We are not your father's AVMA.’

“In the past, we've been a source of information on everything veterinary both to the membership and the public, whereas the future is going to be actual program delivery, what I like to call ‘boots on the ground’ activities. What we're starting to do now is assist individual members in their practice of veterinary medicine, whether that is public or private practice, or helping their bottom line.”

Dr. DeHaven wears many hats as AVMA executive vice president. In addition to managing the day-to-day operations of the Association, he provides logistic support and expert opinion to the Executive Board, is a voting member of the American Veterinary Medical Foundation board of directors, and represents the AVMA at stakeholder meetings in the United States and abroad. He also chairs an ad hoc group of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) working to establish minimum standards for veterinary education worldwide as well as the Partnership for Preventive Pet Healthcare.

“I have found the job to be more challenging and rewarding than what I ever anticipated, and I think that's in large part because I have a far better appreciation of what the AVMA is involved in and what it's doing for the profession,” he said.

One of the most compelling reasons Dr. DeHaven had for coming to work for the AVMA was to have a hand in shaping the profession's future through implementing the Association's strategic plan. “It's interesting that we've made significant progress in some areas, and other areas have become bigger issues today than back when I first came to AVMA,” he observed.

The AVMA is doing a tremendous job advocating for the veterinary profession at the federal and state levels and with regulatory agencies, according to Dr. DeHaven. Animal welfare is another area where he believes the Association has made substantial strides and has become more willing to take positions on controversial issues. During that same period, however, veterinary workforce issues, economic growth, and veterinary education have become acutely complex areas, requiring the AVMA to step up its engagement in each.


After five years as executive vice president, Dr. Ron DeHaven sees an organization evolving with the times (Photo by R. Scott Nolen)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 241, 9; 10.2460/javma.241.9.1120


At a Senate hearing, Dr. Ron DeHaven relays the AVMA's response to a Government Accountability Office report on veterinary workforce shortages.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 241, 9; 10.2460/javma.241.9.1120

When Dr. DeHaven came to the AVMA, the strategic plan was largely developed by staff. Over the past five years, however, the Executive Board has taken over that responsibility. Dr. DeHaven noted that the AVMA's 2012–2015 strategic plan was created by the board with staff input.

“Now, much more time in board meetings is spent discussing strategic issues than actual day-to-day operational items,” he said. “I think that's an important area of improvement and success.”

Staff are by no means playing a lesser role. In fact, he said, it's just the opposite. “When I came, staff (were) very reluctant to speak up unless their input was requested,” Dr. DeHaven said. “For me, it's been rewarding to see this highly professional and competent staff volunteer to make a statement and express an opinion. The board is seeking out their input now, whereas in the past, it wasn't always that way.”

Dr. DeHaven says he has evolved as a leader. Early in his career as a Washington “bureaucrat,” he was a self-described micromanager who had a handle on what each of his employees was doing. But as his responsibilities and staff grew, Dr. DeHaven learned to be more hands off and empower employees. “Here at AVMA, it's a matter of establishing a vision for the future in conjunction with the Executive Board, communicating that to the employees, and then stepping back and letting them do their thing,” he explained.

Like all professional organizations, the AVMA must demonstrate its value to members. Over the past five years, Dr. DeHaven has watched generational and gender trends become much more prominent within veterinary medicine. “As a profession, we're becoming more female, and we are serving a membership made up of four generations with very different needs and wants,” he explained. There's also an increasing tendency among the various disciplines within veterinary medicine to become entrenched in particular issues, which worries Dr. DeHaven.

“We are a profession of some 100,000 individuals,” he said. “That sounds like a lot, but from a national perspective, we are a small player, and we can't afford to have divisive issues that split us.”

Dr. DeHaven continued, “One of the challenging things is we hear from the companion animal groups that you're focusing all of your efforts on the food animal side, and we hear from the food animal side that you're focusing all of your efforts on the companion animal side. Pick a discipline within the profession, and you hear the same thing—that we're not getting enough attention paid to our issues. That's inherent, given the diversity within the profession.

“You have to start from the premise that you're not going to please all of the people all of the time. In our context, that means looking at the myriad of challenges we're facing as a profession, picking out the ones that we think are the highest priority, and focusing on those while also doing the core activities that everyone benefits from, such as advocacy, publishing premier journals, and hosting a world-class national convention each year.

“We do provide a good value for everyone in the profession, and at any given time the priorities are going to shift in terms of what we're working on. At any given time, one group may perceive AVMA is not working effectively for them. That is a challenge in terms of getting the membership to understand that on any given day, we're doing things for all of them, but we're also working on high-priority issues that may have far greater impact for one part of the profession than others.”

One of Dr. DeHaven's biggest frustrations is the AVMA's inability to effectively communicate to members all the Association is doing for them and the profession. “We get survey results back that indicate AVMA should be doing certain things which clearly indicate that the members don't realize we're already very much engaged in the same activities they suggest we should be involved in,” he said. For instance, members have suggested the AVMA should have an office in Washington, D.C., to advocate for the profession. The AVMA has had an office in the nation's capital since 1953.

“I find that as a shortcoming on the part of the staff in general, and me personally, in terms of not being able to connect with the members on some of the things we're doing for them,” Dr. DeHaven said.

The new strategy is to not focus on communicating all the AVMA is doing, but rather, to highlight a few initiatives that most members can relate to. “We've tried being all things veterinary to everyone, and because of that, we've been ineffective at communicating all the things we're doing. So you'll see, going forward, a focus on a half a dozen key initiatives that we're working on as opposed to everything. We'll continue working on all the things we do, but we're going to focus our communications on just a few of them,” Dr. DeHaven said.


In 2009, Dr. Ron DeHaven traveled to Beijing as the AVMA representative to address the first assembly of the Chinese VMA. (Courtesy of the Chinese VMA)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 241, 9; 10.2460/javma.241.9.1120

Not only does the AVMA represent the interests of a diverse membership, the organization also advocates for the humane treatment of all animals. At times, these dual obligations can come into conflict. Arguably, there is no more explicit example of this than when, earlier this year, the Executive Board voted to support H.R. 3798—the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012. Introduced by veterinarian and Oregon congressman Kurt Schrader, the legislation would codify an agreement between the Humane Society of the United States and United Egg Producers over a set of standards regulating the treatment of egg-laying hens. H.R. 3798 is controversial because there currently is no federal oversight of animal housing and production practices on livestock farms.

Dr. DeHaven takes issue with longstanding criticism that the AVMA marches in lock step with the livestock industry. “We have a position that supports the use of animals for human purposes taking into account that we should be the most strident advocates for their welfare and well-being. Because we have that basic philosophy, there's been this perception we've been inherently supportive of the food animal groups,” he said.

In the past, the Executive Board would not have supported a bill as controversial as H.R. 3798, according to Dr. DeHaven. “The board would've understood the merits of the animal welfare component and the concerns about on-the-farm regulatory oversight by the government. But for fear of offending segments of the membership, we would've taken no action. What's changing—and this is part of our greater engagement in the animal welfare arenA—is more of a willingness to take a position on an animal welfare issue,” he explained.


Dr. Ron DeHaven uses a chance encounter with Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin on Capitol Hill to advocate for the AVMA's legislative priorities. (Photo by R. Scott Nolen)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 241, 9; 10.2460/javma.241.9.1120

“It was a bold action by the board, one taken with full understanding of the complexities of the legislation and (with board members) fully realizing the position taken was going to create a lot of angst among a number of groups, but they felt the animal welfare concerns were the most compelling argument,” Dr. DeHaven continued. “It is a transition and one that brought to the surface the fact that we're going to take the position that we think is best for the veterinary profession and not necessarily one that supports or doesn't support particular interest groups.”

Dr. DeHaven says there's no such thing as a perfect piece of legislation. Once a bill is introduced, there are multiple opportunities to remove the objectionable parts while still supporting the overarching purpose. Legitimate concerns exist over H.R. 3798, he acknowledged, such as whether it would be the first inroad for on-the-farm government oversight of production animal welfare or set a precedent for making animal welfare requirements a component of trade. The AVMA will work to address those concerns, Dr. DeHaven added.

On the global stage, Dr. DeHaven has capitalized on his connections from his time at APHIS to strengthen AVMA ties with foreign veterinary organizations, including the OIE, Pan-American Association of Veterinary Sciences, and Federation of Veterinarians of Europe.

“Going back to my role at APHIS, I quickly understood that the rest of the world looks to the United States to assume a leadership role in virtually any capacity, including veterinary medicine,” he said. “For example, I think there's an understanding outside the U.S. that AVMA has the gold standard for veterinary education. We have an obligation to help less-developed countries improve their standards, and we do have a leadership role, whether we like it or not.

“There are others around the world more than willing to assume that leadership role if the U.S. isn't there. It gets at that adage of you can either have a seat at the table or be on the menu. We need to not only have a seat at the table but be at the head of it.”


One of Dr. Ron DeHaven's duties as AVMA executive vice president is to advise the Executive Board. Here he confers with former board chair Dr. David L. McCrystle. (Photo by R. Scott Nolen)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 241, 9; 10.2460/javma.241.9.1120

Dr. DeHaven anticipates the next few years will be a defining period not only for the veterinary profession but for the AVMA as well. “What we do in the next three to five years in the areas of education, economics, and animal welfare is dramatically going to impact what the profession is or is not in the next two to three decades. And for AVMA, how well we are able to maintain our relevance with members will dictate whether or not the AVMA is going to provide another 150 years of service to the profession.”

AVMA: AVMA seeks members for councils, committees

Members of the AVMA can volunteer for one of the Association's councils, committees, or other entities to collaborate on efforts to advance veterinary medicine.

These entities help develop AVMA policy and engage in a variety of other Association activities influencing areas such as animal welfare, clinical practice, and legislative affairs.

“At 83,000 strong, AVMA is a big organization, yet we're built one member at a time. Every member has something to contribute to help make us a better, more secure and productive profession,” said Dr. Douglas G. Aspros, AVMA president.

“Your unique perspective and experiences are invaluable, whatever you do in the profession or how old or new you are to AVMA. The time commitment isn't onerous, and you'll get so much more in return for your service—expanded horizons, new skills, new friends.

“Participation on an AVMA entity can change your life. It has mine.”

Nominations are being sought for nearly 100 positions that will become available in July 2013.

The Executive Board will fill committee and trust positions and appoint a new volunteer director of international affairs at its April 2013 meeting. Also in spring 2013, the House Advisory Committee will appoint three members to the Political Action Committee Policy Board.


(Photo by R. Scott Nolen)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 241, 9; 10.2460/javma.241.9.1120

Nominations for committees, trusts, the director of international affairs, and the PAC Policy Board must be submitted to the AVMA Office of the Executive Vice President by March 4, 2013. These nominations may be made by AVMA members on theirown or another's behalf, by local or state veterinary associations, by allied groups represented in the House of Delegates, by a specific organization to be represented by the nominee, or as otherwise stated in the entity description.

The HOD will elect council members when it convenes in July 2013 in Chicago. Council nominations may be made by organizations represented in the HOD or by petition of 10 voting members.

Nominations for councils must be submitted by April 1, 2013, to the AVMA Office of the Executive Vice President. Nominations for the Council on Education must be submitted by Feb. 1, 2013, so that the Council on Education Candidate Qualification Review Committee may review the nomination materials prior to the HOD election.

Nomination materials for AVMA entities, including descriptions of the entities and vacancies, are available at www.avma.org/Members/Volunteer/BecomeAVolunteer under “Vacancies”, or by calling AVMA headquarters at (800) 248-2862, Ext. 6605, or emailing OfficeEVP@avma.org.

AVMA: Appointments made to new committees

The AVMA made appointments in September to the new Early Career Development Committee and the new Steering Committee on Human-Animal Interactions.

The chair of the Executive Board appointed the members of the Early Career Development Committee. The members representing veterinarians who have graduated in the past five years are Drs. Kirk Breuninger of Holland, Pa.; James Finlay of Azusa, Calif; Robin Hansen of Pleasanton, Calif; Will McCauley of Charlotte, N.C.; and Doreen Turner of Bourbonnais, Ill. Representing veterinarians who have graduated in the past 15 years are Drs. Karen Shenoy of Maple Grove, Minn., and Mary “Libby” Coleman Todd of Birmingham, Ala. Dr. Jim Weisman of West Lafayette, Ind., represents faculty advisers. Charlene Wandzilak of Hummelstown, Pa., represents the American Society of Veterinary Medical Association Executives.

The Executive Board appointed the members of the Steering Committee on Human-Animal Interactions, which is the successor to the Committee on the Human-Animal Bond. The appointees are as follows: Dr. Leslie Cooper of Davis, Calif, as an expert on relationships between humans and domestic animals; Dr. Oliver Knesl of Randolph, N.J., as an expert on relationships between humans and nondomestic animals; Aubrey Fine, EdD, of Pomona, Calif, as an expert on the impact of the bond on the human; and Mary Lou Randour, PhD, of Washington, D.C., as an expert on human-animal attachment.

The Executive Board also appointed David Chico of Albany, N.Y., as AVMA liaison to the National Poultry Improvement Plan.

AVMA: AVMA provides background on policies

The AVMA has developed a backgrounder that clarifies the purpose of the Association's policies and summarizes the process of policy development.

The backgrounder, “AVMA Policy from Start to Finish,” explains that policies are the guiding principles of the Association.

“Not only do policies provide guidance to the veterinary profession, they also provide a message platform from which the Association can advocate for the profession on legislation, regulation, public outreach, and more,” according to the backgrounder.

The Executive Board and House of Delegates have the power to make AVMA policy. The board generally acts on recommendations from the Association's councils, committees, and other entities. The HOD generally acts on resolutions from the board, House Advisory Committee, organizations in the HOD, and HOD reference committees. The HOD also may act on resolutions submitted by petition by AVMA members.

Many of the Association's policies as well as the backgrounder on how AVMA policy is made are available at www.avma.org/KB/Policies.

AVMA: Brochure educates pet owners on drug disposal

The AVMA and Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant have created a brochure to inform pet owners about proper disposal of unused medications.

“This brochure carries an important message,” said Dr. Douglas G. Aspros, AVMA president. “Many people don't understand how dangerous medications can be to their pets or to the environment.”

The AVMA encourages veterinarians to provide the brochure to clients and discuss proper use, storage, and disposal of drugs.

“Following the tips in this brochure will help protect children and pets from accidental poisonings and reduce the amount of pharmaceuticals entering our waterways and drinking water supplies,” said Laura Kammin, pollution prevention specialist with the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant.

The brochure, “Prescription for Safety: How to Dispose of Unwanted Medicine,” is available as a downloadable PDF by visiting www.avma.org/products, clicking on “Brochures,” then clicking on “Client Information.”

AVMA: Nominees invited for 2013 Excellence in Veterinary Medicine Awards

The AVMA and American Veterinary Medical Foundation are accepting nominations for the 2013 Excellence in Veterinary Medicine Awards, which recognize contributions to the profession and to animal welfare.

The awards will be presented at the 150th AVMA Annual Convention, July 19–23, 2013, in Chicago.

The AVMA Award

The Association's pre-eminent award recognizes an AVMA member who has contributed to organized veterinary medicine.

Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award

The AVMA, Pet Partners, and Hill's Pet Nutrition co-sponsor this award to recognize a veterinarian for pioneering work in the field of the human-animal bond.

AVMA Meritorious Service Award

This award recognizes a veterinarian who has brought honor and distinction to the veterinary profession through personal, professional, or community service activities outside organized veterinary medicine and research.

AVMF/AKC Career Achievement Award in Canine Research

The American Veterinary Medical Foundation and American Kennel Club established this award for an AVMA member who has contributed to canine research.

AVMF/Winn Excellence in Feline Research Award

The American Veterinary Medical Foundation and Winn Feline Foundation established this award for an individual who has contributed to feline research.

AVMA Advocacy Award

This award recognizes a veterinarian or nonveterinarian for advancing the AVMA legislative agenda and advocating on behalf of the veterinary profession.

AVMA Animal Welfare Award

This award recognizes an AVMA member for achievements in advancing the welfare of animals.

AVMA Humane Award

This award recognizes a nonveterinarian for achievements in advancing the welfare of animals.

AVMA Lifetime Excellence in Research Award

This award recognizes a veterinarian for lifetime achievements in basic, applied, or clinical research.


(Photo by R. Scott Nolen)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 241, 9; 10.2460/javma.241.9.1120

AVMA Practitioner Research Award

This award recognizes an AVMA member who, while in private practice, has made research contributions to advance the veterinary profession.

AVMA Public Service Award

This award recognizes an AVMA member for outstanding public service or education of veterinarians in public service activities.

AVMA XIIth International Veterinary Congress Prize

This award recognizes an AVMA member who has contributed to international understanding of veterinary medicine.


The deadline is Feb. 1, 2013, for award nominations, except the nomination deadline is March 1, 2013, for the Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award.

Information about the awards and nomination forms are available by visiting www.avma.org/ProfessionalDevelopment/Awards. The contact for the Bustad award is Kathy Sikora, (800) 248-2862, Ext. 6635, or ksikora@avma.org. The contact for other awards is Cheri Kowal, (800) 248-2862, Ext. 6691, or ckowal@avma.org.

Practice: Flood of pork buyers want sow housing changes

Companies pledge to stop buying from farms with gestation stalls

By Greg Cima


(Photos courtesy of the National Pork Board)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 241, 9; 10.2460/javma.241.9.1120

Yet another Fortune 500 company is pushing its pork suppliers to abandon individual stalls for pregnant sows.

The Sept. 24 announcement by ConAgra, which boasts that its products can be found in 97 percent of U.S. homes, is remarkable, in part, because such announcements have become so commonplace. More than two dozen food producers or retailers—including fellow giants McDonald's, Kroger, and Aramark—have made similar commitments during 2012.

ConAgra officials said their “longstanding commitment to the humane treatment and handling of animals” led them to set a 2017 deadline for pork suppliers to provide plans to eliminate the use of gestation stalls.

The flood of commitments this year follows a trickle of changes over the previous decade and represents both changes in state laws and shifts in company purchasing habits. For example, Burger King committed in April to buying only from pork producers who have plans to end their use of gestation crates, but the company has committed since 2007 to buying part of its pork supply from gestation stall–free facilities.

David G. Fikes, senior director of consumer and community affairs and social responsibility for the Food Marketing Institute, thinks altruism and competition are among the motives behind the recent push for the pork industry to abandon individual stalls. But he said some companies might have acted because they expect advocacy organizations will create a public outcry about such stalls.

Fikes asked retail food company representatives in the FMI's animal agriculture task force who was pushing for the change. “To a person” they cited nongovernmental advocacy organizations.

One such organization, the Humane Society of the United States, is frequently cited as a supporter when companies announce their opposition to gestation stalls. Matthew Prescott, the organization's food policy director, said these commitments are the culmination of years of work led by his organization.

“Certainly, by all accounts, HSUS has been helping drive this change within the industry,” he said.

Driving the change

The typical gestation stall is about 2 feet wide by 7 feet long and able to hold a 660-pound sow, according to a swine welfare fact sheet from the National Pork Board.

Individual stalls are used to house about 80 percent of pregnant sows in the U.S., according to survey results announced in June at the World Pork Expo. In Europe, the stalls are supposed to be gone by January 2013. The European Commission threatened in April that it would use legal powers at its disposal against those who do not adopt more “welfare friendly” housing systems by the deadline.

The National Pork Board has written that use of individual housing, which includes both stalls and individual pens, minimizes aggression and injury, reduces injury to farm workers, and lets those workers manage and monitor the sows more easily. The AVMA policy “Pregnant Sow Housing” lists similar advantages, but it also indicates the stalls restrict expression of normal behaviors. The HSUS argues that breeding sows suffer during their years of confinement in stalls.

Raymond Anthony, PhD, an ethics adviser to the AVMA Animal Welfare Committee, thinks food retailers and producers may be deciding against stall use because societal and ethical values have become more important considerations within the companies. Company leaders want to shape the discussion about food policy and regulation rather than leave the decisions to consumers and advocates.

He sees the success in 2008 of California Proposition 2, which will prohibit use of gestation stalls and certain other livestock housing systems in the state by 2015, as evidence consumers are paying attention to animal welfare issues.

“We're seeing a larger segment of the population not only tuning into questions about the welfare of animals but also to the shape of our agriculture from plow to plate, more broadly,” Dr. Anthony said. “As they scrutinize their food dollars, consumers are also paying attention to other ethical dimensions of the production-consumption chain.

“They're thinking more in terms of citizenship values and issues of fairness.”

For nearly a decade, members of the public have been increasingly considering how to raise livestock ethically, on a large scale, and at a low cost, Dr. Anthony said. They have pushed for foods that are “humane,” “organic,” “free-range,” “local,” and “sustainable,” terms that imply benefits for animals, consumers, or the environment. Gestation stalls were adopted largely because of their production advantages.

Paul B. Thompson, PhD, the W.K. Kellogg Chair in Agricultural Food and Community Ethics at Michigan State University, similarly thinks interest in food production and sources has risen over the past 20 years and expanded dramatically in the past 10, aided by popular publications such as Michael Pollan's 2006 book “The Omnivore's Dilemma.” But Dr. Thompson expressed doubt the average person is familiar with gestation stall housing or is as aware of gestation stalls as of, say, the cages used to house egg-laying hens.

However, Dr. Thompson said increasing numbers of consumers are interested in where their food comes from and how it is raised, and many have concerns about the growth of industrial-style food production.

Dr. Tom Burkgren, executive director of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, doubts the HSUS would have to advocate in company shareholder meetings or lobby members of Congress if the public were to broadly oppose use of gestation stalls. Rather, he said, the public trusts farmers to make the right decisions for animals. He thinks most people who eat pork do not focus on gestation stall use when buying pork chops or ordering a bacon cheeseburger.

Maybe retailers are finding it easier to follow competitors’ decisions on gestation stall housing, Dr. Burkgren said, but he doubts many are considering sow welfare. As more companies oppose gestation stalls, competitors receive increased attention and pressure.

Fikes noted that advocacy organizations have, in part, induced publicly traded companies to pay increased attention to animal welfare by becoming stockholders and adding proposals to board meeting dockets.

Prescott said officials with one restaurant chain told him the company received unprecedented positive feedback from customers when it began buying gestation crate–free pork. Restaurant patrons are interested in animal welfare, as are legislators.

“This right now is one of the Humane Society of the United States’ top priorities, a top priority for food companies—it's a top priority for many legislators,” Prescott said. “There are, right now, several additional state bills that would see gestation crates banned.”

Promises made

Prescott said it is difficult to estimate how much of the nation's pork supply is sold through the companies that have made pledges against gestation stalls. But he called those companies a “who's who” of the food industry.

“I think it's clear to anybody looking at that list that pretty much the entire industry needs to change over the next three to 10 years in order to meet this demand,” Prescott said.

Dr. Paul Sundberg, vice president of science and technology for the National Pork Board, acknowledged the number of such commitments was substantial, but he disagrees that the industry has reached a tipping point. He does not know why retailers are making decisions on sow housing except to benefit their companies.

“Producers, in conjunction with veterinarians, are the animal welfare experts,” he said.

Fikes expects the stalls will endure and retailers will reduce, not eliminate, use of stalls because of the advantages for pork producers and the costs of change. He noted that Food Marketing Institute members have a spectrum of positions on sow stalls. His organization has not taken one.

Developing the best housing

Dr. Anthony thinks the public increasingly wants to talk about what animal production systems the nation should support, a decision with “social, ethical, and environmental justice implications.” The decision also carries a challenge to fairly distribute benefits and burdens. But beyond the debate about the most animal-friendly housing and production systems, more discussion needs to focus on the nature and effect of swine production's vertical integration, the consolidation of marketing and production steps that Dr. Anthony said has led to a monolithic food production culture.

The ethics discussions need to include a review of the scale of production and its effects on animals, workers, communities, and natural resources as well as the relationships among science, ethics, and values in promoting humane standards, he said. The scientific and veterinary communities need to consider housing systems from the sow's point of view and stop using simple housing categories such as “group” and “stall.”

He suggests instead paying more attention to the needs of specific swine breeds and the means to improve sows’ lives, such as minimizing aggression and competition.

Dr. Thompson said further study could show what efforts animals would be willing to expend to escape a situation, providing measurements that could guide animal welfare decisions, he said. For example, button-pushing persistence can provide a sense of how much a sow wants to escape from housing and whether the sow is uncomfortable.

Dr. Anthony has seen increasing numbers of healthy partnerships among advocacy organizations, industry, government, and veterinarians and other scientists. Those who want to make improvements need to overcome polemic rhetoric, fact distortion, and misrepresentation and be mindful of the interests of, and challenges to, smaller pork producers, he said.

“The public and farm animals deserve conscientious science and considered ethical input as part of a more just animal welfare policymaking process,” Dr. Anthony said.

But whether the pork industry will have to switch sow housing types could be decided by the margin-driven meatpackers and processors, Dr. Burkgren said. This year, pork producers may lose about $60 on each pig, partly because of the effect of this summer's drought on the cost of feed. Dr. Burkgren said producers are focused on keeping their businesses alive, and for some, the costs to immediately switch housing systems would be impossible.

Calling a truce

The debate over gestation stall use could have consequences beyond sow housing.

Food retailers have largely declared a truce over food safety, Fikes said. They routinely and freely share safety information with competitors, understanding that, with food safety concerns, “If it hurts one retailer, it hurts everyone in the entire industry.”

The recent attention to gestation stalls has led some Food Marketing Institute members to call for a similar truce on animal welfare.

“I'm hearing more retailers say we're not helping promote good industry policy by continuing to compete, and make others look bad by trying to make ourselves look good in this arena,” Fikes said.

Issues: Training a new generation of detection dogs

Breeding, research also a focus for Penn Vet Working Dog Center

By R. Scott Nolen


Buskar, one of several search-and-rescue dogs brought by their handlers to the opening of the Penn Vet Working Dog Center (Photos courtesy of John Donges/UPenn School of Veterinary Medicine)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 241, 9; 10.2460/javma.241.9.1120

The University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine officially opened its detection dog training center on the recent anniversary of Sept. 11. The Penn Vet Working Dog Center will breed and train search-and-rescue and other types of detection dogs while also researching the components necessary for these canines to succeed.

Bretagne, Kaiser, and Morgan—SAR dogs that responded with their handlers to the 9/11 terrorist attacks—attended the opening ceremony. The first class of seven puppies, each named in honor of dogs who served during 9/11, also made their debut and were introduced to their host families.

Dr. Cindy Otto, the nonprofit center's creator and director, deployed during 9/11 with the Pennsylvania Federal Urban SAR team and during Hurricane Katrina with AVMA Veterinary Medical Assistance Team-2 to assess and treat the dogs searching for survivors. Prior to 9/11, the public and most veterinarians were not familiar with the responsibilities and capabilities of dogs trained in search and rescue, according to Dr. Otto, who says the center's work is needed for a number of reasons, including the lack of detection dog breeding programs in the United States.

“The center will develop the research so that we can improve the quality, performance, and health of detection dogs, particularly those that originate in this country, since so many detection dogs are imported from Eastern Europe and those sources are being tapped out. It will also be a resource for educating handlers, scientists, and veterinarians on the special needs of these dogs,” Dr. Otto said.

Even before the Penn Vet center officially opened, Dr. Otto was holding conferences and seminars, studying the health of the SAR dogs deployed during 9/11, and collecting detection dog DNA. One of her goals is for the center to serve as a national consortium for detection dog programs worldwide, providing them with the latest findings to optimize the success and well-being of the dogs.

“Now we are preparing to meet future demands and facilitating additional research by opening our detection dog breeding and training program that will implement, test, and disseminate the knowledge gained,” she said.

In addition to the ongoing 9/11 dog study, Dr. Otto said the center is researching hydration in detection dogs and investigating the health, behavior, and fitness of the puppies being trained for detection work. Annemarie DeAngelo is the center's training director. DeAngelo developed and implemented the canine program for the New Jersey State Police Department, where she worked for 31 years until her recent retirement.

The two top female dogs from the inaugural class suited for explosives detection will join the University of Pennsylvania Police Department. The rest will go to various organizations or stay on for advanced training.

Another area ripe for investigation, according to Dr. Otto, is the role of the human-animal bond and the impact the dogs have on volunteers at the center, particularly veterans, parolees from puppy prison programs, and homeless youth. “We are excited to be responsive to the needs of the community and try to design studies that have impact in both the short and long term for the dogs and handlers,” she explained.

Dr. Otto says the Penn Vet Working Dog Center will complement much of the work at the Canine Detection Research Institute at Auburn University's College of Veterinary Medicine, the nation's largest dedicated academic research program for canine detection. “Our program really focuses on the puppies and how early influences impact future success,” she said. “And because we are completely funded by private donations, we have the obligation and the opportunity to be an open resource, something that is not always possible with military-funded projects.”

To learn more about the Penn Vet Working Dog Center, visit http://pennvetwdc.org.

Issues: H3N2 outbreak sickens hundreds

More than 300 people had reported illnesses as of late September in an influenza outbreak connected with contact with pigs at fairs.

Since July 2012, a 61-year-old woman has died and 16 people have been hospitalized with infections with the influenza A H3N2 virus variant, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Ohio Department of Health. The 61-year-old had close contact with pigs at an Ohio fair prior to her death in August 2012, and information from the CDC and Ohio authorities indicates she also had chronic illness from multiple medical conditions.

About 80 percent of the outbreak's illnesses have occurred in Indiana and Ohio. Except for a case reported in Hawaii, the rest of the infections have been reported in the Midwest and East. The infection in Hawaii is believed to be connected with a small herd of pigs at the person's home, although those interviewed in connection with the illness indicated they did not notice any ill pigs.

By Aug. 9, the CDC reported that all people reached in response to the outbreak investigations indicated they had contact with swine or attended a fair where swine were present. Michael A. Jhung, MD, a medical officer with the CDC's influenza division, said in mid-September that a few of the illnesses in the outbreak are believed to have resulted from human-to-human transmission, but the CDC has not seen any evidence of efficient or sustained transmission among people.

Agency officials also have reported that the outbreak H3N2 strain contains an M gene shared with the 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza virus. Dr. Jhung said the M gene's significance is uncertain, but some studies with animal models have indicated it could help transmit the virus between pigs and people. He said those at the CDC don't think the gene alone is responsible, but it may contribute to transmissibility.

Officials with the Department of Agriculture's swine influenza virus surveillance program have identified the M gene in about 60 of 140 pigs found to be infected with H3N2 viruses between Oct. 1, 2011, and July 31, 2012. Department information states that the surveillance is intended to identify types of viruses circulating among swine and not to define prevalence.

The CDC is warning people who exhibit pigs to watch the animals for illness, contact veterinarians if they suspect illness, and take protective measures such as avoiding contact with pigs that appear to be ill and wearing protective equipment when contact is needed.

Issues: Action against soring intensifies

Legislation introduced to eliminate industry self-regulation

By Malinda Larkin


Screen shots from a Humane Society of the United States’ undercover video show horse trainer Jackie McConnell and stable workers applying caustic chemicals to horses’ pasterns to create an exaggerated gait. (Courtesy of HSUS)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 241, 9; 10.2460/javma.241.9.1120

Four congressional members introduced legislation Sept. 14 that would increase civil and criminal penalties for anyone found soring a horse—that is, abusing it to get a “big-lick” gait for competition—and would end the gaited horse industry's current self-policing program.

The Horse Protection Act Amendments of 2012 (H.R. 6388) also would end the use of soring devices such as chains and nontherapeutic pads and shoes—something the AVMA and American Association of Equine Practitioners have previously called for, among other reforms (see JAVMA, Aug. 1, 2012, page 296).

The proposed amendments to the 40-year-old HPA are sponsored by U.S. Reps. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Jim Moran (D-Va.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), and Ed Whitfield (R-Ky).

Among its provisions, the legislation would do the following:

  • • Prohibit use of action devices on any limb of Tennessee Walking Horses—as well as Spotted Saddle Horses and Racking Horses—at horse shows, exhibitions, sales, or auctions. It would also ban weighted shoes, pads, wedges, hoof bands, and other devices that are not strictly protective or therapeutic in nature.

  • • Define “action device” to include any boot, collar, chain, roller, or other device that encircles or is placed on the lower extremity of the leg of a horse.

  • • Create a penalty structure that requires horses to be disqualified for increasing periods of time—from 180 days to three years—on the basis of the number of violations.

  • • Increase the maximum fine for violations from $3,000 to $5,000 and the maximum prison sentence from one year to three years.

  • • Make illegal both the act of soring and the directing of another person to sore a horse.

  • • Clarify that the term “management” includes the sponsoring organization and the event manager, making them potentially liable for HPA violations.

  • • Allow for permanent disqualification of violators after three or more violations.

  • • Require the Department of Agriculture to license, train, assign, and oversee inspectors enforcing the HPA.

Regarding the latter provision, currently these venues can voluntarily hire USDA-trained lay inspectors chosen by horse industry organizations and known as “designated qualified persons.” The USDA also has its own veterinary medical officers who perform inspections at random venues.

Under the new provision, the USDA would be responsible for choosing DQPs for shows, auctions, and other HPA-regulated venues; however, the decision to hire a DQP would still be up to the show, sale, or auction.

In 2011, USDA VMOs and DQPs identified 1,111 violations of the HPA. The DQPs made it to 474 of the 600 to 700 gaited-horse shows held that year, while USDA inspectors attended just 62 of the events but found more than half the violations.

The USDA has already tried to rectify problems with self-policing by requiring mandatory suspension penalties for soring violations as of July 9 (see JAVMA, Aug. 1, 2012, page 297).

At this year's Celebration show, which took place Aug. 22-Sept. 1 in Shelbyville, Tenn., the USDA VMOs and DQPs inspected 1,849 horses and found 166 violations—an approximate 9 percent violation rate. This rate is slightly lower than the 9.5 percent violation rate from the 2011 Celebration, during which 2,143 horses were inspected and 203 violations were found.

The AVMA issued a response Sept. 13 saying, “Unfortunately, these statistics from the 2012 Celebration reaffirm that soring remains prevalent in the industry more than 40 years after passage of the HPA. A violation rate of close to 10 percent is symptomatic of an industry that continues, decade after decade, to fail in its responsibilities to protect the welfare of these horses.”

Notably, the bipartisan amendments do not seek new money from Congress despite requests from the USDA as well as the AVMA, AAEP, and others.

Funding to enforce the HPA stands at $696,000 annually. In a Feb. 24 letter to the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the AVMA and AAEP stated “(the Department) needs additional funding to ensure that adequate enforcement and investigative personnel can be placed in the field, current technology is fully utilized, new technology is pursued as needed, and federal cases are prosecuted in a timely and effective manner.”

The push for change to the HPA became more prominent after the USDA Office of the Inspector General completed an audit in fall 2010 analyzing APHIS’ oversight of the Horse Protection Program (see JAVMA, Jan. 15, 2011, page 143). According to the audit's executive summary, the OIG found APHIS’ program for inspecting horses for soring inadequate to ensure against animal abuse.

Further bringing the issue of soring into the spotlight, the Humane Society of the United States released an undercover video of trainers and others abusing horses and turned over the video to USDA investigators and federal prosecutors. The video later aired May 16 on ABC Nightline. On Sept. 18, the trainer in the video, Jackie McConnell of Collierville, Tenn., was ordered to pay a $75,000 fine and was placed on probation for three years for horse abuse. He must also write a letter on the soring of horses, describing the pain it causes and the long-term effects as well as the type of people who seek out others to sore horses. The letter must also state how widespread the practice of horse soring is.

McConnell's case is one of eight related to violations of the HPA that have appeared in federal court over the past two years.

He now faces 31 counts of violating Tennessee's anti-cruelty statute.

Bayer to buy Teva's U.S. animal health business

Bayer HealthCare LLC and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. announced Sept. 14 that they have signed an agreement for Bayer to acquire the U.S.-based animal health business of Teva for up to $145 million.

The acquisition will allow Bayer to expand its U.S. product lines for companion and food animals and will allow Teva to focus on human health. The transaction encompasses a manufacturing site in St. Joseph, Mo., and about 300 employees.

Teva's portfolio in companion animal health includes dermatologic, wellness, and nutraceutical products. Teva's products for food animals include anti-infectives, parasiticides, anti-inflammatories, and reproductive hormones.

Community: Veterinary education continues expanding

New, existing programs in various states of progress

By Malinda Larkin

The momentum to increase student enrollment at veterinary colleges continues as one institution looks to bump up its class size in the next five years while another—still under construction—seeks accreditation. In addition, a nonprofit announced plans in August to create a new veterinary college in New York, and a new joint program is in the works out West.

Maintaining academic excellence

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine has launched an estimated $58 million renovation project, which will upgrade existing facilities and replace the former diagnostic laboratory building that is currently unoccupied. The project will also allow the veterinary college to sustain its class size at 102 (up from 90 a few years ago). At its completion, the initiative would enable Cornell to accept a class of approximately 120 students in the fall of 2017.

There are several factors driving the increase in class size, which grew out of strategic planning efforts in 2007–2008. “Cornell currently has the smallest class size per capita of any state with a veterinary college,” said Dean Michael I. Kotlikoff. “There are many highly qualified New York students who must look for veterinary training elsewhere because Cornell cannot currently accommodate them.”

Although the capacity exists in the hospital to teach a fourth-year class size of 120—and approximately that number of students currently pursue their clinical training at Cornell because of contracts with Caribbean veterinary schools—the veterinary college has not had large enough classroom facilities and teaching laboratories to support that many students in the first three years of the veterinary curriculum. The class expansion facility project will change that.

“In addition to providing greater access for New York State residents, the additional revenue associated with matching the size of the first three years of veterinary education to our clinical capacity will enable the college to ensure the high quality of its instructional programs in the face of state cutbacks,” Dean Kotlikoff said.


The winner of a hospital reuse design competition, real estate developer Chason Affinity depicts a veterinary school that could be built at the former Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital in Buffalo, N.Y. (Courtesy of Kaleida Health)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 241, 9; 10.2460/javma.241.9.1120

So far, the state has agreed to give the veterinary college $250,000 more in operating costs, allowing it to accept 10 percent more students in the first-year class.

Construction on phase one is expected to begin in 2014. It will create two larger-capacity lecture halls suitable for medical education and a unifying atrium that will enhance interactions between students, faculty, and staff; enable demonstrations and public meetings that are secure from other hospital activities; and encourage independent study, collaboration, and professional networking.

Phase two will involve additional renovations—anatomy and clinical skills teaching laboratories, locker rooms, and tutorial rooms—that will repurpose existing space located in the middle of the veterinary college complex that was vacated in 2010 when the new New York State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory building was opened.

About $36 million in funding is anticipated to come from the New York State University Construction Fund for phase two of the capital project. Cornell University placed the project as its highest priority in the new capital plan for state funds for 2012. Already the veterinary college has received $22 million from the state's construction fund for phase one.

Dean Kotlikoff acknowledged that when the veterinary college conceived its strategic plan in 2008, it was in a very different financial situation. And there has been a rapid expansion in capacity at veterinary schools as existing ones have enlarged and new schools have been planned.

“That has occasioned a national discussion about the supply. From our alumni, I get emails that say we are participating in the oversupply of the profession,” he said.

Designs on a new school

Cornell may soon have some competition for in-state students if plans for a new veterinary school in Buffalo, N.Y, come to fruition.

Nonprofit health care provider Kaleida Health announced Aug. 28 it had selected local real estate developer Chason Affinity's $65 million proposal to create a school of veterinary medicine at the site of one of the provider's hospitals that closed in March. Plans entail using the main hospital building as a veterinary medical teaching hospital with classrooms and support services, and renovating another building to serve as an on-campus residence.

Earlier this year, Kaleida Health released a request for proposals for a hospital reuse design competition to the local and national development communities. It offered a $1 million prize for the winning proposal.

Four firms responded by the May deadline, but only two were seen as viable. Kaleida Health's board of directors made the final decision to go with Chason Affinity's proposal.

In a Kaleida Heath press release, Mark Chason, president of Chason Affinity, explained why his firm went with a veterinary school design.

“The rich talent and diversity of a veterinary school brings enormous benefits and spinoffs for a community. Over 50 percent of America's pets receive no regular veterinary care, so there continues to be a need for veterinarians. As baby boomer veterinarians retire, this need will only grow,” he said.

Chason added that his research showed that the northeast United States has 56 million people and a proportionate number of America's 180 million pets, but it has only three veterinary schools: Cornell, Tufts University, and the University of Pennsylvania.

Mark Cushing, a veterinary education consultant who has been advising Chason Affinity since this past summer, says it's a false argument that there are too many veterinarians. He cites the Pew Research Center's projection that the U.S. population will increase to 438 million by 2050.

“So the way the veterinary profession serves the (expanding) population is by shrinking?” he asked. “I think a profession that limits its future is marginalizing itself. I can't imagine turning to the 50 percent of pet owners that receive no care, and saying, ‘Gee, please have your pets treated by us’ and then tell students not to become veterinarians. It's contradictory and self-defeating.”

Cushing has worked with Ross University and the National Autonomous University of Mexico as they pursued, and eventually received, AVMA Council on Education accreditation. He's currently involved with Lincoln Memorial University's efforts to build a veterinary college and earn accreditation as well.

Cushing, also a lobbyist with the Animal Policy Group that works with the animal health industry, said the Buffalo project's future has been purposely left open to any number of options. “The process has just begun. It will be a long time line for the developer and to get a financing package together,” he said.

Possible tenants include an existing U.S. or international school—European or otherwise—that may want to add a program or facility in an industrial Northeastern city, Cushing said.

He envisions this institution attracting more international students because of its proximity to Toronto's airport. It's two hours away and has nonstop flights to many countries.

“There's an increasing demand for students to attend vet school and get the highest-caliber veterinary training in the world. I think a school in Buffalo will be an attractive magnet. There's a significant level of interest from foreign students,” he said.

Cushing mentioned there is also the potential for collaboration with Buffalo colleges, which offer undergraduate programs related to animal health, animal behavior, and preveterinary medicine, suggesting a possible fast-track program for admittance to the veterinary school.

Under construction

Another program with plans for an accelerated veterinary curriculum is already being developed at Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary and Comparative Medicine in Harrogate, Tenn. LMU, which announced plans to build a program last year, had a site visit by COE members Oct. 23–27, 2011. During the visit, a team of council members reviewed the university's plan for creating a veterinary program and assessed existing resources such as budget, facilities, faculty, and administration.

Since then, “The school has been working diligently. It had a consultative site visit and is now taking benefit of that and doing the work needed to become accredited,” Cushing said.

The major building that will be the initial site for the veterinary program is open and operating. Construction continues in three other locations that will house other veterinary activities, including a clinical skills laboratory.

One unique feature of the program will be a large animal teaching and research center at a nearby farm, Cushing said.

He added that work is under way to open the doors. The university is recruiting faculty and senior administrators as well.

Meanwhile, the COE met Oct. 7–9 to decide whether to give LMU a letter of reasonable assurance. Reasonable assurance is not a preaccreditation action by the council. Rather, for a new institution seeking initial accreditation, such a letter, if granted, indicates there is reasonable assurance of future accreditation if the program is established according to plans presented to the COE and if the institution is able to demonstrate a realistic plan to comply with the standards of accreditation.

The LMU veterinary college plans to offer an accelerated six-year combined preveterinary and doctoral-level veterinary medical curriculum that will enroll 100 students a year.

“1+3” program

Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine is working with Montana State University to create a new joint program. Up to now, Montana students have gone to WSU, but through the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education.

Plans call for Montana State to accept up to 10 students annually. They would be trained at the Bozeman, Mont., campus for one year before being sent to WSU to complete the final three years. Over the past five years, the number of Montana students accepted by WSU through WICHE support has ranged from five to nine, with a mean of 6.2. Under WICHE, participating states such as Montana pay $30,000 a year toward qualifying students’ tuition.

Under the new proposal, students would have simultaneous access to WICHE and the new program at Montana State, essentially more than doubling the number of Montana students attending veterinary school.

Margo Colalancia, WICHE student exchange director, argues that Montana should stay with the WICHE program, as it is more cost-effective.

Regardless, momentum for the new program is building. The Montana State Board of Regents Sept. 19 unanimously endorsed funding the proposal. It now goes to the 2013 state legislature for the $2 million needed in the next two years to get it started. If all goes smoothly, the program could begin as soon as fall 2014. The universities estimate it would cost around $500,000 a year to operate and require between $250,000 and $500,000 in start-up costs.


A Montana State University preveterinary student works in a laboratory. The university plans to create a partnership with Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine. (Courtesy of Montana State University/Kelly Gorham)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 241, 9; 10.2460/javma.241.9.1120

Dr. Douglas P. Jasmer, associate dean of student and academic affairs at WSU, said essentially, the partnership would delay the arrival of Montana students by a year. The main difference appears to be that Montana State—rather than WSU—would determine which students were accepted for the veterinary program.

WSU has a similar joint program with Utah State University. WSU's veterinary college allows up to 20 Utah residents to be admitted through the “2+2” program. Those students spend their first two years in Logan, Utah, and the remaining two years in Pullman, Wash. The first class of 30 was admitted this fall and will join the 95 students already at WSU in 2014.

Two Arizona schools?

Another Arizona institution is considering creating a veterinary school just as Midwestern University in Glendale is about two years away from opening its veterinary program's doors.

The Arizona Board of Regents voted Sept. 27 to spend $3 million for the University of Arizona to study the possibility of starting a veterinary program in Tucson. The proposal now goes to Gov. Janice K. Brewer for her signature.

If approved, the veterinary college would eventually serve 100 students per class. Currently, UA's Department of Veterinary Science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has about 350 preveterinary students.

The university already operates a veterinary diagnostic laboratory, multiple laboratory animal research facilities, and a food product and safety laboratory with two working ranches, research farms, and microbiologic research facilities. These facilities already have a connection with UA's schools of public health, medicine, and pharmacy and a faculty with animal and biomedical expertise, Shane Burgess, vice provost and dean of UA's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, told the Phoenix Business Journal.

Meanwhile, Midwestern University is in the process of developing its veterinary program (see JAVMA, July 1, 2011, page 18). The institution plans to admit its inaugural class of 100 students in fall 2014, with an inaugural class of 100 students. The private, nonprofit university is spending $90 million to build three structures totaling 125,000 square feet on the Glendale campus. Construction is set to begin in January. Midwestern has already solicited applications for top administrative positions and is now accepting applications for faculty members.

Community: Accolades



Dr. William L. Augustine

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 241, 9; 10.2460/javma.241.9.1120


Dr. Robert L. Hatch

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 241, 9; 10.2460/javma.241.9.1120


Dr. Jimmy B. Jones

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 241, 9; 10.2460/javma.241.9.1120


Dr. George E. Richards Jr.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 241, 9; 10.2460/javma.241.9.1120


Dr. Bob Weedon

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 241, 9; 10.2460/javma.241.9.1120

The University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine and its alumni association presented the Dr. Erwin Small Distinguished Alumni Award to four alumni and a Special Service Award on Sept. 13 during the annual Fall Conference for Veterinarians.

Dr. William L. Augustine (IL ′75), retired owner of Malta Veterinary Hospital in Malta, Ill., was recognized for his service to veterinary students and graduates. Dr. Augustine spent 37 years operating his own clinic, where his son Paul now practices. He also served DeKalb County as animal control administrator and as a member of the board of health. Dr. Augustine has been very involved with the Northern Illinois VMA and the Illinois State VMA, for which he served as treasurer.

Dr. Robert L. Hatch (IL ′67), of Litchfield Park, Ariz., newly retired after more than 40 years of practice in Arizona, was recognized for his leadership in promoting and advancing veterinary medicine and practice. Dr. Hatch established four clinics and went on to become a leader of the Arizona Academy of Veterinary Practice, for which he was president in 1980, as well as the Arizona State Veterinary Medical Examining Board, serving as chair for eight years. Dr. Hatch also currently serves on the AVMA Group Health and Life Insurance Trust.

Dr. Jimmy B. Jones (IL ′63), from Baytown, Texas, was recognized for his innovation in developing a new drug, his extensive research, and his clinical teaching of veterinary students. His career has encompassed working with the Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service as well as private practice and research. While a professor at the University of Tennessee Memorial Research Center and Hospital, Dr. Jones developed a colony of dogs carrying the gene for cyclic neutropenia. Research with this colony was instrumental in the development of the drug Neupogen, an agent that helps stimulate neutrophil production in human cancer patients.

Dr. George E. Richards Jr. (IL ′67) of Danville, Ill., was recognized for his legislative efforts supporting passage of three versions of the Illinois Veterinary Practice Act over time and his role in other critical veterinary medical legislation. He practiced for more than 40 years at the Vermillion Hillcrest Animal Hospital in Danville and co-established four small animal practices. He is currently serving his third four-year term as the Illinois delegate to the AVMA House of Delegates.

The Champaign County Humane Society of Champaign, Ill., was selected to receive a Special Service Award for outstanding educational contributions to Illinois’ veterinary college for more than 20 years. The partnership between the entities has recently expanded under the direction of Dr. Bob Weedon, who leads clinical rotations for veterinary students at the humane society. The students perform physical examinations, basic diagnostic testing, and spay and castration surgeries under his supervision. They gain experience in basic disease prevention and parasite control and in treating commonly occurring diseases.

American College of Veterinary Nutrition

The American College of Veterinary Nutrition certified three new diplomates following the certification examination it conducted May 28–29 in New Orleans. The new diplomates are as follows:

  • Amy Farcas, Davis, Calif

  • Deborah Linder, North Grafton, Mass.

  • Justin Shmalberg, Gainesville, Fla.

American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition


Emmelie Stock

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 241, 9; 10.2460/javma.241.9.1120

Event: 12th annual clinical nutrition and research symposium, May 30, New Orleans

Program: The conference featured oral abstracts and poster presentations on nutrition research conducted nationally and internationally. They are published in the Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition. The keynote speaker, Dr. Christopher Morrison of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana, gave a presentation titled “Neurobiology of energy and protein intake: implications for obesity and metabolism.”

Awards: AAVN Research Grant, sponsored by Waltham: Dr. Robert Backus, Columbia, Mo. A 1987 graduate of the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Backus serves as an associate teaching professor and directs the Nestle-Purina Endowed Small Animal Nutrition Program at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition. AAVN Student/Resident Research Award, sponsored by Waltham: Dr. Amy Farcas, Davis, Calif. A 2008 graduate of the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Farcas recently completed her nutrition residency at UC-Davis and became a diplomate of the ACVN. Student Case Report Award: Emmelie Stock, Gavere, Belgium. Stock is a third-year veterinary student at Ghent University in Belgium.

Business: Important initiatives for 2012–2013 include modifying the organization's constitution, initiating a presence on social media networks for improved membership communication, promoting a new case report contest for veterinary students, improving communication and interaction with the European Society of Veterinary and Comparative Nutrition, and supporting and encouraging member speaker participation at the Student AVMA Symposium, North American Veterinary Conference, and other large veterinary conferences.

Officials: Drs. Shannon Pratt-Phillips, Raleigh, N.C., president; Samantha Shields, Grand Cayman, British West Indies, vice president; Sarah K. Abood, East Lansing, Mich., treasurer; Amanda Ardente, Gainesville, Fla., secretary; Joe Wakshlag, Ithaca, N.Y., immediate past president; Wilbur Amand, West Chester, Pa., executive director; and members-at-large—Drs. Janine Oliver, Greensboro, N.C., and Patrick Nguyen, Nantes Cedex, France.

American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine

The American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine certified 53 new diplomates following the certification examination it held July 22 in Bethesda, Md. The new diplomates are as follows:

  • Sree Sai Adusumilli, Pittsburgh

  • Ari Aycock-Williams, Los Angeles

  • Sasha Black, Williamsburg, N.Y.

  • Sarah Bro, Tacoma, Wash.

  • Holly Burr, Jersey City, N.J.

  • Catherine Carrier, Chandler, Ariz.

  • Lawrence Chandra, Mandeville, La.

  • Karen Clingerman, Spring Valley, Calif.

  • Angela Colagross-Schouten, Davis, Calif.

  • Fawn Connor-Stroud, Atlanta

  • Jennifer Coonen, Madison, Wis.

  • Tara Cotroneo, Ypsilanti, Mich.

  • Christina Cruzen, Madison, Wis.

  • Georgina Dobek, Las Vegas

  • Raimon Duran-Struuck, New York

  • Courtney Ek, Sherborn, Mass.

  • Derek Fong, Denver

  • Julie Freebersyser, Agoura Hills, Calif.

  • Jacqueline Fremont-Rahl, Natick, Mass.

  • Brooke Grasperge, Mandeville, La.

  • Travis Hagedorn, Lenexa, Kan.

  • Anna Hampton, Cary, N.C.

  • Amber Hoggatt, Cambridge, Mass.

  • Eric Hutchinson, Baltimore

  • Glicerio Ignacio, Clemmons, N.C.

  • Erin Jackson, Dallas

  • Joe Jenkins, Norcross, Ga.

  • Crystal Johnson, Snellville, Ga.

  • Noel Johnson, Omaha, Neb.

  • Susan Jones-Bolin, Thorndale, Pa.

  • Maria Lorenzo, Silver Spring, Md.

  • Kerith Luchins, Covington, La.

  • Heather Martin, New York

  • Leslie Martin, Cary, N.C.

  • Charles Matchett, Albuquerque, N. M.

  • Kristin Matthews, Roswell, Ga.

  • Gabriel McKeon, Cupertino, Calif.

  • Douglas Page, Jacksonville, Fla.

  • Todd Pavek, Ithaca, N.Y.

  • Kevin Prestia, New York

  • Sumanth Putta, Covina, Calif.

  • Mary Robinson, Houston

  • Gordon Roble, New York

  • Sridhar Samineni, Azusa, Calif.

  • Evan Shukan, Bethesda, Md.

  • Catherine Sohn, Vallejo, Calif.

  • Laura Summers, Davis, Calif.

  • Katrina Taylor, Morrisville, Pa.

  • Helen Valentine, Iowa City, Iowa

  • Asheley Wathen, Madison, Wis.

  • Angelina Williams, Houston

  • Kyha Williams, Durham, N.C.

  • Caroline Zeiss, New Haven, Conn.

Obituaries: AVMA member AVMA honor roll member Nonmember

Martin D. Avolt

Dr. Avolt (IL ′69), 70, Lafayette, Ind., died Aug. 16, 2012. He was Tippecanoe County (Indiana) coroner. Dr. Avolt began his career as an associate professor of clinical medicine at Purdue University. In 1973, he established a practice in Indiana at West Lafayette and Oxford. Dr. Avolt was first elected Tippecanoe County coroner in 1984 after serving eight years as deputy coroner. As coroner, he helped write legislation requiring all coroners to be trained, to be state-certified, and to participate in continuing education, and he advocated for improved relationships between the police department and the coroner's office.

Dr. Avolt was the first veterinarian to be elected a fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. He was a past president of the Indiana State Coroners Association and a past executive director of the Indiana Coroners Training Board. He is survived by his wife, Donna; a daughter; and a son. Memorials toward the Tippecanoe County Extension Program, Food Finders School Backpack Program, or Indiana State Coroners Association Scholarship Fund may be made c/o Family and Friends Funeral Home, 9700 Indiana 55, Wingate, IN 47994.

Charles T. Bland

Dr. Bland (VMR ′86), 51, Sterling, Va., died July 9, 2012. Memorials may be made to Huntington's Disease Society of America, 505 Eight Ave., Suite 902, New York, NY 10018.

Jerry L. Butts

Dr. Butts (COL ′80), 68, Fort Collins, Colo., died July 15, 2012. A small animal practitioner, he owned Orchard Animal Hospital in Loveland, Colo., for 31 years. Dr. Butts was a past president of the Larimer County VMA. He served in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War, attaining the rank of captain. His wife, Margie; two sons; and a daughter survive him. Memorials to the Wounded Warrior Project or St. Jude Children's Research Hospital may be made c/o Bohlender Funeral Chapel, 121 W. Olive, Fort Collins, CO 80524.

Timothy A. Cudd

Dr. Cudd (TEN ′82), 55, Gainesville, Fla., died Aug. 26, 2012. He was a professor in the Department of Veterinary Physiology and Pharmacology at the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences until spring 2012. Dr. Cudd also held a joint appointment with the Texas A&M University System Health Science Center in the Department of Medical Anatomy and Neurobiology and was a member of the Interdisciplinary Faculty of Reproductive Biology.

His research focused on alcoholism and the impact of alcohol on fetal development. At the time of his departure from TAMU, his laboratory had been funded with a $1.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study fetal alcohol syndrome, using a sheep model. During his tenure, Dr. Cudd served on the curriculum committee, chairing it for nearly five years. He received the 2003 Pfizer Animal Health Award for Research Excellence and was nominated by the TAMU CVM for a Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence Award in 2004. In 2010, Dr. Cudd received the Bridges Teaching and Service Award. He was recognized by the Association of Former Students with a College-Level Distinguished Achievement Award for Teaching in 2011.

Dr. Cudd began his career practicing equine medicine in Lexington, Ky. During that time, he established possibly the first private practice neonatal foal clinic in the country. In 1992, Dr. Cudd earned a doctorate in fetal physiology from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine. He joined the veterinary faculty at TAMU as an assistant professor in 1994. Dr. Cudd was a member of the American Physiological Society and the Research Society on Alcoholism. He and his family bred and trained competition dressage horses. Dr. Cudd is survived by his wife, Evelyn, and a daughter. Memorials may be made to Haven Hospice, 4200 N.W. 90th Blvd., Gainesville, FL 32606; or The ALS Association, Development Department, 27001 Agoura Road, Suite 250, Calabasas Hills, CA 91301.

John R. Curtis

Dr. Curtis (OSU ′38), 97, Portage, Wis., died Aug. 12, 2012. Following graduation, he joined his father, Dr. Charles R. Curtis, in mixed animal practice in Portage, serving Wisconsin's Columbia, Marquette, Adams, and Sauk counties. In 1950, they established a companion animal practice in Portage. Active in civic life, Dr. Curtis was a past president of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards, Madison Area Technical College Foundation Board, and Portage Historical Society; served on the Portage School Board for 25 years; helped organize the Cooperative Educational Service Agency, now known as CESA 5; served on the Portage City Council; and was a supervisor on the Columbia County Board. He was named Person of the Year in 2006 and Distinguished Citizen of the Year in 1991. Dr. Curtis was an avid curler and represented Wisconsin in the U.S. men's curling championships in 1957 and 1959. He is survived by his wife, Kathryn; two daughters; and a son. Memorials may be made to The Portage Presbyterian Church, 120 W. Pleasant St., Portage, WI 53901; or Portage Public Library Campaign, 253 W. Edgewater St., Portage, WI 53901.

John C. Haromy

Dr. Haromy (ISU ′54), 80, Lake Wales, Fla., died June 8, 2012. Prior to retirement in 2001, he practiced mixed animal medicine in Lake Wales for more than 50 years. Dr. Haromy used alternative and holistic medicine in his practice, including acupuncture, homeopathy, and vitamin therapy. In retirement, he served as a relief veterinarian. Dr. Haromy was a past president of the Ridge VMS and a member of the Florida VMA. In 1987, he received a FVMA Gold Star Award for outstanding contributions to the veterinary profession. Dr. Haromy was a longtime member and a past treasurer of the Lake Wales Breakfast Rotary Club. His wife, Barbara; a daughter; and two sons survive him.

Hylon J. Heaton Jr.

Dr. Heaton (MSU ′40), 98, Boyne City, Mich., died April 5, 2012. Prior to retirement in 1974, he practiced in Boyne City. Dr. Heaton served on the Boyne City School Board and was active with the Masonic Order. He is survived by two sons and two daughters. One son, Dr. Hylon J. Heaton III (MSU ′68), is a small animal veterinarian in Flint, Mich. Memorials may be made to the Boyne City United Methodist Church, 324 S. Park St., Boyne City, MI 49712.

Paul C. Lambert

Dr. Lambert (COL ′51), 88, Ord, Neb., died April 7, 2012. Prior to retirement, he was a partner in a mixed practice in Ord. Dr. Lambert was a past president of the Nebraska VMA. Active in civic life, he served on the Valley County Hospital Board for several years, was a lifetime member of the Ord Fire Department, and was a past president of the Nebraska Lodging Association. Dr. Lambert is survived by his wife, Elizabeth; a daughter; and two sons. Memorials may be made to the Ord United Methodist Church, 304 S. 16th St., Ord, NE 68862; or Ord Fire Department, 240 S. 16th St., Ord, NE 68862.

Edgar R. Marookian

Dr. Marookian (UP ′54), 85, Clinton Township, N.J., died May 18, 2012. During his career, he founded Clinton Labs in Frenchtown, N.J.; worked for Merck Sharp & Dohme Laboratories; and served as an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Marookian retired in 1992. In 1999, the Penn School of Veterinary Medicine's E.R. Marookian, V.M.D. Auditorium was dedicated in his honor. Dr. Marookian also received the Bellwether Medal for his support of the school.

He served in the Army during World War II and was a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars. Dr. Marookian's wife, Myrval, and a son survive him. Memorials toward the E.R. Marookian, V.M.D. Research Scholarship Fund may be made to the University of Pennsylvania Office of Development and Alumni Relations, 3800 Spruce St., Suite 172E, Philadelphia, PA 19104.

Albert L. Maxfield

Dr. Maxfield (KSU ′46), 88, St. Joseph, Mo., died July 10, 2012. He owned Maxfield Animal Clinic in St. Joseph for more than 50 years. Dr. Maxfield was a past member of the Missouri VMA board of directors and a member of the American Angus Association. Active in civic life, he was a lifetime member of the Kiwanis Club. Dr. Maxfield served in the Army during World War II. He is survived by three sons and a daughter.

Robert L. Miller

Dr. Miller (OSU ′50), 86, Kilmarnock, Va., died Sept. 2, 2012. Prior to retirement, he was vice president of animal health services at A.H. Robins Co. in Richmond, Va. Dr. Miller began his career practicing in Ashland, Ohio, with his father, the late Dr. Andrew L. Miller. He then worked for Hess & Clark Inc. in research before joining A.H. Robins in the early 1970s. Dr. Miller's career with A.H. Robins included positions as director of veterinary medical services and director of veterinary medical research and development. He was a past president of what is now known as the American Association of Corporate and Public Practice Veterinarians and was named Veterinarian of the Year in 1991. Dr. Miller was a member of the American Association of Avian Pathologists and Ohio, Virginia, and Central Virginia VMAs. He was also a member of the Masonic Lodge. Dr. Miller served in the Navy during World War II. He is survived by two sons and a special companion, Norma Drinnon. Memorials may be made to Kilmarnock-Lancaster Rescue Squad, P.O. Box 33, Kilmarnock, VA 22482.

Jerome Payton

Dr. Payton (COR ′40), 96, Morris, N.Y., died Aug. 31, 2012. Prior to retirement in the early 1980s, he worked for the Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. He also served as a consulting veterinarian for the H.W. Naylor Co. in Morris for more than 50 years. Early in his career, Dr. Payton practiced mixed animal medicine in Morris for 18 years and worked for the New York State Meat Inspection Program. He was an Army Veterinary Corps veteran of World War II, attaining the rank of captain. Dr. Payton is survived by his son and two daughters. One daughter, Dr. Alice J. Payton (COR ′82), is a laboratory animal veterinarian at the University of Connecticut-Storrs. Memorials may be made to the Morris Emergency Squad, P.O. Box 452, Morris, NY 13808.

Wilfred J. Pimentel

Dr. Pimentel (CAL ′53), 86, Fresno, Calif., died Aug. 29, 2012. A mixed animal practitioner, he owned Alta Animal Hospital in Clovis prior to retirement in 1988. Dr. Pimentel also served as veterinarian for the Fresno County rabies clinics for several years. He began his career working at the Elm Avenue Animal Hospital in Fresno. Dr. Pimentel later bought the practice and began focusing on small animal medicine. In 1969, he joined Kansas State University's Agency for International Development program and moved to Nigeria, where he taught veterinary medicine and surgery as an assistant professor at Ahmadu Bello University, also treating a variety of animals. Dr. Pimentel returned to Fresno in 1973 and established Airport Animal Hospital. He went on to found Alta Animal Hospital.

Dr. Pimentel was a past president of the Central California VMA and a longtime member of the California VMA. He served as a volunteer veterinarian for the 1993 Iditarod sled dog race in Alaska. Dr. Pimentel was active with the Rotary Club and volunteered with Rotary International, helping to initiate a solar cooker project in Kenya. The project was implemented in more than 10 countries, including Zimbabwe, Rwanda, and Mexico. Dr. Pimentel's wife, Marie; three sons; and two daughters survive him. Memorials may be made to The Poverello House, 412 F St., Fresno, CA 93706; The Shrine of St. Therese, 855 E. Floradora, Fresno, CA 93727; or Rotary Club of Fresno Foundation, 2307 N. Pine Ave., Fresno, CA 93727.

Meryl P. Schooley

Dr. Schooley (ONT ′58), 87, Woodstock, Ontario, died Aug. 21, 2012. A mixed animal practitioner, he owned Wellington Animal Hospital in Woodstock for more than 35 years. Dr. Schooley's wife, Dorothy; two sons; and two daughters survive him. Memorials may be made to CNIB Donor Services, 1929 Bayview Ave., Toronto, ON, Canada M4G 3E8; Lung Association of Oxford County, 777 Dundas St. Unit 1, Woodstock, ON, Canada N4S 1G1; or Alzheimer Society of Oxford, 575 Peel St., Woodstock, ON, Canada N4S 1K6.

Arthur L. Solie

Dr. Solie (MIN ′55), 81, Green Bay, Wis., died Aug. 11, 2012. Prior to retirement in 1996, he owned a bovine practice in DePere, Wis., for 21 years. Earlier in his career, Dr. Solie practiced large animal medicine in Plum City, Wis. His wife, Mary Jo; a son; and a daughter survive him. Memorials may be made to Bellin College of Nursing, 3201 Eaton Road, Green Bay, WI 54311.

James Stortz

Dr. Stortz (GA ′05), 34, Avon, Colo., died June 26, 2012. He was a partner at Vail Valley Animal Hospital, a small animal practice in Colorado with locations in Eagle-Vail and Edwards. Dr. Stortz's brother, Dr. Jeffrey S. Stortz (GA ′04), is a small animal veterinarian in Athens, Ga. Memorials in Dr. James Storz's name may be made to Eagle County Animal Services, P.O. Box 57, Eagle, CO 81631.

Carroll K. Weich

Dr. Weich (KSU ′55), 79, Hoskins, Neb., died July 13, 2012. Prior to retirement, he worked for the Department of Agriculture in meat inspection. Earlier in his career, Dr. Weich owned a large animal practice in Pierce, Neb. In retirement, he raised Black Angus cattle. Dr. Weich served as a first lieutenant in the Army Veterinary Corps from 1955–1957. He is survived by his wife, Marjorie; two daughters; and two sons.

Cole J. Young Jr.

Dr. Young (AUB ′44), 90, Decatur, Ala., died June 3, 2012. He practiced in Decatur for 45 years. Dr. Young served as a captain in the Army and was a member of the American Legion. His son survives him. Memorials may be made to the Decatur City Animal Shelter, 300A Beltline Road S.W., Decatur, AL 35601.

  • View in gallery

    After five years as executive vice president, Dr. Ron DeHaven sees an organization evolving with the times (Photo by R. Scott Nolen)

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    At a Senate hearing, Dr. Ron DeHaven relays the AVMA's response to a Government Accountability Office report on veterinary workforce shortages.

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    In 2009, Dr. Ron DeHaven traveled to Beijing as the AVMA representative to address the first assembly of the Chinese VMA. (Courtesy of the Chinese VMA)

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    Dr. Ron DeHaven uses a chance encounter with Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin on Capitol Hill to advocate for the AVMA's legislative priorities. (Photo by R. Scott Nolen)

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    One of Dr. Ron DeHaven's duties as AVMA executive vice president is to advise the Executive Board. Here he confers with former board chair Dr. David L. McCrystle. (Photo by R. Scott Nolen)

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    (Photo by R. Scott Nolen)

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    (Photo by R. Scott Nolen)

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    (Photos courtesy of the National Pork Board)

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    Buskar, one of several search-and-rescue dogs brought by their handlers to the opening of the Penn Vet Working Dog Center (Photos courtesy of John Donges/UPenn School of Veterinary Medicine)

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    Screen shots from a Humane Society of the United States’ undercover video show horse trainer Jackie McConnell and stable workers applying caustic chemicals to horses’ pasterns to create an exaggerated gait. (Courtesy of HSUS)

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    The winner of a hospital reuse design competition, real estate developer Chason Affinity depicts a veterinary school that could be built at the former Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital in Buffalo, N.Y. (Courtesy of Kaleida Health)

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    A Montana State University preveterinary student works in a laboratory. The university plans to create a partnership with Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine. (Courtesy of Montana State University/Kelly Gorham)

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    Dr. William L. Augustine

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    Dr. Robert L. Hatch

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    Dr. Jimmy B. Jones

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    Dr. George E. Richards Jr.

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    Dr. Bob Weedon

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    Emmelie Stock