AVMA News

IN SHORT

AVMA seeks candidates for treasurer

The AVMA is seeking candidates to serve as AVMA treasurer for the 2023-29 term. The deadline to submit applications is Aug. 15.

Candidates must be current AVMA voting members and have been voting members for at least five continuous years immediately prior to election. Candidates also must meet the criteria for the office as stated in the AVMA Bylaws. The duties and responsibilities of the treasurer are described in Article VI, Section 5 of the bylaws.

The AVMA Board of Directors will elect the new treasurer during its September meeting. The treasurer will serve a six-year term, beginning in July 2023 at the close of the regular annual session of the AVMA House of Delegates.

Candidates should submit an application, completed questionnaire, letter of interest, and a one- to two-page resume or curriculum vitae by email to OfficeEVP@avma.org. Candidates must also be nominated by a member of the Board of Directors before they can be considered in the election for treasurer.

State VMAs and other AVMA-allied veterinary organizations may submit candidate suggestions accompanied by resumes to the AVMA Office of the Executive Vice President.

Additional details, the application form and questionnaire, and candidate selection criteria are available at jav.ma/treasurer.

EDUCATION COUNCIL SCHEDULES SITE VISITS

The AVMA Council on Education has scheduled site visits to five schools and colleges of veterinary medicine for the remainder of 2022.

Comprehensive site visits are planned for Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Aug. 28-Sept. 2; the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, Oct. 2-6; Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine, Oct. 16-20; the University of Guelph Ontario Veterinary College, Oct. 23-27; and the University of Edinburgh Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies in Scotland, Oct. 30-Nov. 4.

The council welcomes written comments on these plans or the programs to be evaluated. Comments should be addressed to Dr. Karen Martens Brandt, Director, Education and Research Division, AVMA, 1931 N. Meacham Road, Suite 100, Schaumburg, IL 60173. Comments must be signed by the person submitting them to be considered.

Donate books, journals, and supplies

Veterinarians and students in foreign countries can make use of the unused textbooks, journals, instruments, equipment, and other supplies cluttering many veterinary clinics in the United States.

The AVMA maintains a list of individuals and organizations that collect contributions for various countries. The list is available at jav.ma/donate-books. Potential donors should call or email contacts on the list directly.

Individuals or organizations that collect contributions may inquire about being added to the list or updating their listing by calling 800-248-2862, ext. 6754, or emailing asuresh@avma.org.

The backbone of veterinary technology for 50 years

AVMA committee celebrates half-century of accrediting educational programs for veterinary technicians

By Katie Burns

This July, the AVMA Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities is celebrating its 50th anniversary. The CVTEA accredits educational programs for veterinary technicians across the United States, just as the AVMA Council on Education accredits veterinary colleges.

In July 1972, the AVMA House of Delegates created what was then named the Committee on Accreditation for Training of Animal Technicians. The CVTEA today accredits more than 200 programs in 49 states and in Puerto Rico. These are mostly two-year programs, along with some four-year programs, and include some distance learning programs.

Dr. Janet Donlin, AVMA executive vice president and CEO, began her career as a veterinary technician and provided lead staff support to the CVTEA from 1991-96. She said, “Over the decades, CVTEA has set the standard for excellence, ensuring that credentialed veterinary technicians have all the necessary skills to support veterinary practices so that they can provide top-notch patient care.”

“I really appreciate the foresight that the AVMA had when they created this committee,” said Cherylann Gieseke, who served on the CVTEA from 2000-06 and was the first veterinary technician to be chair. “And I think it’s been really important to the state of veterinary technology that there is a committee like CVTEA out there to oversee the educational component of this process.”

THE NEED FOR THE CVTEA

The 1960s saw a surge in the profession of veterinary technology. In 1961, the State University of New York-Delhi established the first veterinary technology program in the United States. The second group of programs was established in 1968 at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan; Central Carolina Community College in Sanford, North Carolina; Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis, Nebraska; and Colorado Mountain College in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, according to “The Dynamic History of Veterinary Technology and Nursing–A Timeline” from the Association of Veterinary Technician Educators’ Committee on the History of Veterinary Technology.

The following year, Nebraska became the first state to credential certified animal technicians.

Dr. Janver D. Krehbiel, a former chair of the AVMA Board of Directors, is a professor emeritus at Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine. He is co-authoring a book about the history of the modern veterinary college from the mid-’70s onward, with a chapter about veterinary technology. He notes in the draft that the first eight symposia on the training of animal technicians were held at Michigan State University, starting in 1969, and “were important to the evolution of veterinary technology education.” At the first meeting, “Discussion focused on the need for veterinary technicians and the challenges in establishing training programs.”

Dr. Krehbiel said the use of veterinary technicians in private clinical practice was addressed at the second meeting, and how best to educate veterinary technicians and utilize their skills dominated future symposia. The Association of Animal Technician Educators was formed at the third symposium in 1973.

CVTEA TAKES SHAPE

With veterinary technology programs growing in number and better recognition of the value of veterinary technicians becoming a focus of discussion across the profession, the CVTEA was born. In 1973, the CVTEA—called the AVMA Committee on Accreditation of Training for Animal Technicians at the time and later renamed the Committee on Animal Technician Activities and Training—accredited its first two programs, at Michigan State and Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture. Seven more programs were accredited in 1974 and eight in 1975. By the end of the 1970s, CVTEA had accredited a total of 47 programs.

“As the animal health care delivery system becomes more complex, more technical assistance will be needed to allow for additional professional attention to patients and clients,” wrote Dr. Walter E. Collins in a 1973 piece about the veterinary technology program at SUNY Delhi, where he was director. He wrote that the AVMA “presented a program of professional accreditation in an effort to encourage establishment of quality paraprofessional training programs at all educational institutions involved, and to promote maximum job mobility on the part of graduates.”

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Jean Beemsterboer (back row, third from left) provided this 1972 photo of the Class of 1973 at the veterinary technology program at Michigan State University. The program was established in 1968, with Dr. Arnie Pals (back row, far right) as the first director. Beemsterboer went on to work as a licensed veterinary technician at the MSU Veterinary Medical Center for most of her career. Dr. Pals went into small animal practice from 1972 until his retirement in 2001.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 260, 10; 10.2460/javma.260.10.1125

Thanks to the creation of the CVTEA, the veterinary profession was assured that programs were graduating veterinary technicians with the needed skills to be able to appropriately support the delivery of quality veterinary services. Accreditation benefited veterinary practices because when they hired a veterinary technician who graduated from an accredited program, they knew they were hiring an individual with a reliable set of skills and the ability to think critically. Accreditation also benefited veterinary technicians because they had confidence in the quality of education they received and would be well prepared for what they would be asked to do in practice.

CVTEA EVOLVES

The AVMA Executive Board voted in 1985 to validate the Professional Examination Service Exam, now known as the Veterinary Technician National Exam. The following year, the AVMA first included a veterinary technician on each of its teams conducting accreditation site visits for veterinary technology programs.

The CVTEA created a subcommittee in the 1990s to review all the accreditation standards, an ongoing process today. In 1995, the committee accredited the first distance learning program, at St. Petersburg College in Florida. There are now 10 distance learning programs.

The CVTEA continued to evolve as Gieseke became the first veterinary technician to serve as chair. Gieseke, who had earned her veterinary technology degree in 1989, has spent her career working in laboratory animal medicine and regulatory oversight at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Looking back, she said the main thing she has seen in veterinary technology is change, and she noted how the CVTEA has adapted to those changes.

When Gieseke served on the committee from 2000-06, she said its members were redoing the entirety of the CVTEA policies and procedures—which include the accreditation standards—to be even more organized and consistent to ensure the accreditation standards met the needs of what a program needed to be going forward.

“Everybody was passionate about veterinary technology and making sure that veterinary technology was done right,” Gieseke said.

AS PROGRAMS INCREASE, CVTEA STAFF SUPPORT GROWS

Dr. Gary Leff served on the CVTEA from 1995-2001 and went on to serve as an assistant director in the AVMA Education and Research Division, providing lead CVTEA staff support from 2001-08. He said the focus of the accreditation process has been to ensure that it is uniform and defensible.

Since about 2000, Julie Horvath has been providing staff support to the CVTEA. She said that while people involved with the CVTEA didn’t quite anticipate the growth in the number of veterinary technology programs, they were pleasantly surprised. Over the 50 years since CVTEA’s inception, the number of accredited veterinary technology programs increased to more than 200, with 27 of them currently offering a four-year degree.

With such growth, Dr. Leff could no longer go on all of the site visits as lead CVTEA staff support, so one position was expanded to two. Eventually, staff support required two and a half positions, along with Horvath as CVTEA accreditation manager.

In 2012, Rachel Valentine became the first veterinary technician to serve as an assistant director providing staff support to the CVTEA. Previously, she taught in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at Tulsa Community College’s Veterinary Technology Program, and served as a member of the CVTEA from 2005-12.

Valentine, who earned her veterinary technology degree in 1992, said veterinary medicine mostly has moved away from on-the-job training for veterinary technicians. With the CVTEA, she said, the biggest shift she has seen is the effort to be as consistent as possible among site teams and evaluations.

The qualifications of credentialed veterinary technicians—certified, licensed, or registered—are also better recognized than when she started out. She said, “I think veterinarians are doing better at recognizing what veterinary technicians can really do for their practice.”

OVERCOMING OBSTACLES

Over the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic posed a new challenge for the CVTEA. Horvath said some site visits were postponed, while others went virtual.

Directors of veterinary technology programs went to campus to check on animals while campuses were closed, so the CVTEA requested photos and videos, Horvath said. The director would shoot a video while walking through areas such as the surgery suite and kennel, opening drawers and cabinets.

For new programs seeking accreditation, the CVTEA would have to do an in-person site visit when travel was allowed, but virtual visits worked surprisingly well in the meantime, Horvath said. One unexpected benefit was that virtual visits prompted programs to collect more information ahead of time for self-evaluations, which ultimately led to improvements in the process for site visits.

“As we reflect on the process improvements, we’re going to take the good stuff that we’ve learned, going forward, and continue that even as in-person site visits resume,” Horvath said.

THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT

Dr. Allen Balay, who served on the CVTEA from 1989-95, went on to become director of the veterinary technology program at Ridgewater College in Minnesota and served as 1999-2001 AVTE president. He said he has been able to see history in the making. He tells graduates, “Yours is a very young profession.”

Having been involved one way or another in the CVTEA for over 35 years, Dr. Balay said he has seen the committee evolve and mature.

The discussions are ongoing about how the education and skills of veterinary technicians can be better utilized by practices, among other issues facing the profession of veterinary technology. Most states now require credentialing of veterinary technicians, but some still do not.

Dr. Leff, the CVTEA staff coordinator from 2001-08, recalled that when he graduated from veterinary school in 1968, there were programs in veterinary technology but no accreditation process. He said, “We’ve come a long way.”

From setting standards for veterinary technology programs to adapting to changes in the field of veterinary medicine to ensure continued relevance, the CVTEA has been an integral part of elevating the education of veterinary technicians for the past 50 years.

“AVMA and CVTEA were essential for the achievements that have been attained within this paraprofessional support group that is so important to veterinary medicine,” Dr. Krehbiel said.

AN INSIDE LOOK AT ACCREDITATION OF VETERINARY TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS

By Malinda Larkin

About 5,000 veterinary technology students graduated this year from the more than 200 programs accredited by the AVMA Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities. That’s according to soon-to-be-released data from the 2022 AVMA CVTEA–Accredited Veterinary Technology Program Mega Survey.

The CVTEA requires that each of those graduates are deemed competent in over 300 essential skills, from how to draw blood to applying crisis intervention and grief management skills with clients.

Tracy Blais, CVTEA chair, says it’s an intense experience to be a veterinary technology student as many take classes not only in anatomy, chemistry, and biology but also in English, math, and writing—often in only two years. They must take clinical nursing for small animals, laboratory animals, and large animals, learning radiology, anesthesia, surgery, hematology, and more. Plus, veterinary technology students must complete a practical experience in a clinical setting, which is frequently spread among multiple externships.

At the end, a majority of veterinary technology students will have taken the Veterinary Technician National Exam as well because most state and provincial agencies use the test to evaluate the competency of entry-level veterinary technicians and require a passing score to be credentialed. Nearly all states also require a person to be a graduate of a CVTEA-accredited veterinary technology program to be eligible for credentialing in the state.

To earn CVTEA accreditation, veterinary technology programs must apply, complete a self-study report, and go through an accreditation site visit. Then the CVTEA makes an accreditation decision on the basis of that information. Accreditation cycles are every five years; however, programs must typically file annual or biennial progress reports.

All 20 volunteer members of the CVTEA are assigned a certain number of programs, and each member chairs site visits—usually two or three a year—to the assigned schools. Other participants on the site visit are an AVMA staff member assigned to the CVTEA along with a veterinary technician, a veterinarian, and a member of the public, all three selected by the program. The CVTEA resumed in-person site visits and meetings this year after performing them virtually since early 2020 because of the pandemic.

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Second-year veterinary technology students work in the dentistry laboratory at Windward Community College on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. The veterinary technology program offers a certificate in veterinary assisting after one year, an associate degree after two years, and a three-year hybrid online and in-person program for students working in the veterinary field on Oahu and all the neighbor islands. (Photo by Kendra Davis)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 260, 10; 10.2460/javma.260.10.1125

The CVTEA meets twice a year. During the meetings, programs that have completed a site visit—around 50 annually—are discussed and voted on. That means each committee member is expected to read all the information for each of the programs. This ensures that when the person who chaired a site visit discusses the school, everyone is knowledgeable, can ask questions, and can vote on an accreditation decision.

Blais, who is the associate program director for the University of Massachusetts-Amherst’s veterinary technology program, says it’s interesting to see how programs accomplish meeting the same standards differently yet still successfully.

The CVTEA also reviews its policies and procedures frequently. For example, the committee has spent the last several years discussing a new rabies standard. This past January, the policies and procedures were changed to require that students must either be vaccinated against rabies, or the program must implement a comprehensive rabies mitigation protocol. Blais said the rabies vaccination requirement will provide needed protection to graduates and decrease liability to practices who employ them.

An issue the CVTEA is currently monitoring is apprenticeships. The Washington State Veterinary Board of Governors voted May 5 to support an apprenticeship program for veterinary technicians as an alternative pathway to licensure as a veterinary technician in the state.

The Washington State Apprenticeship Training Council will next determine whether to approve the official program, after which the veterinary state board will discuss further steps in the program being a pathway to licensure in Washington, according to the Washington State Association of Veterinary Technicians.

The AVMA, National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America, Washington State VMA, and WSAVT testified against the proposal at the May 5 meeting of the state veterinary board.

“Insisting on AVMA accreditation for all veterinary programs as a pathway to licensure is paramount in ensuring the growth and sustainability for the profession, as well as upholding safety for the public and their pets,” according to a statement from the WSAVT.

Client feedback can be a boon instead of a bane—yes, even complaints

Practices have many ways to learn what clients want and then apply lessons learned

By Katie Burns

Veterinary practices should not fear client feedback and actually should solicit it regularly.

That’s advice from Debbie Boone, owner of 2 Manage Vets Consulting and 2022 president of VetPartners, an association of practice consultants. She said, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” Unless you ask.

Boone recommends making surveys short and sweet while relying on a variety of tools and approaches to invite and handle feedback from clients, whether in person or via social media. Even complaints can be taken as constructive criticism.

Rosemary Radich, principal data scientist in the AVMA Veterinary Economics Division, said a loyal client base is key for a thriving practice, and practices can use client feedback to increase loyalty. She said, “Happy clients can be your greatest market asset, referring friends and family to your practice.”

FEEDBACK IS A POSITIVE THING

There are a variety of technical tools for collecting feedback, such as apps or portals that reach out to clients after appointments. Boone, who was a practice manager for 23 years and has been a practice consultant since 2008, cautioned that clients lose interest if a survey is too long or complicated.

For client complaints, she acknowledges that clinics may be getting a lot more of them because people are stressed out.

“People are a little twitchy in practice and (on the) client side, too, because of the pandemic,” she said, adding that there is usually at least a kernel of truth in every piece of feedback.

She continued: “That’s something that we should take to heart and act on that feedback rather than just saying, ‘Oh, it’s just them.’ The client is not our enemy; the client is our source of income. And we need to look at them as somebody that we need to not only just satisfy but actually delight when they come into our hospital. And until we ask start asking questions about what they really want, our offerings are all assumptions that we’re doing what they’re asking.”

Boone advised never getting into a fight online. What people are looking for when writing a negative review is that the practice is responsive. The response can be, “We’re sorry you had this problem,” and to please call the practice manager.

While practices can’t make everyone happy, they should look for common threads or themes that tell them they have gaps they need to fix, Boone said. For instance, if they are consistently running late, they need to determine whether they are overbooking themselves.

Practices that are considering implementing a change in protocols or offering a new service can call in some regular clients for a focus group to see what they think.

“People that we value, people that come to us a lot, people that know us well are always great to ask, ‘How are we doing?’” Boone said. “Just every now and then, look at a client and say: ‘We really appreciate you coming to us. Tell us, is there is anything that we can do to make your experience better?’

CRAFTING STRATEGIES

Radich of the AVMA said loyal clients who consistently come in for wellness visits and routine care provide a consistent revenue stream for practices, allow practices to build relationships with clients and patients, and result in happier and healthier patients.

Practices that want to use client feedback to increase loyalty can first determine where they stand by surveying clients and analyzing client data. Questions that can be useful to consider include the following:

  • How many of your clients are highly likely to recommend you to a friend or family member?

  • How long have they been clients? How often do they bring in their pets? Are they thinking of switching practices?

  • How satisfied are they with the service they receive? Are they consistently happy? What are they most satisfied with, and does this align with their needs?

Next, practices can identify strengths and opportunities.

  • Do your strengths align with your goals and market? Are you competitive on price, customer service, or certain types of services?

  • What areas are you weak in? Take in negative feedback, and identify opportunities that are critical for success.

  • Do you have a clear value proposition?

Finally, practices can craft strategies on the basis of client feedback that leverage their existing strengths and take advantage of new opportunities.

  • Get buy-in from the staff.

  • Consider your market and analyze the impact of variables. Are you in a high-income area? Are you in an urban area highly dependent on public transportation?

  • Use resources from the AVMA such as the collection of practice management resources at avma.org/practicemanagement, economic reports at jav.ma/econreports, and tools for social media and online reputation management at jav.ma/marketingtools.

Q&A

Meet the AVMA president-elect candidates

Drs. Grace Bransford and Rena Carlson talk about diversity, equity, and inclusion and the future of veterinary medicine

Interviews by R. Scott Nolen

One item of business during the AVMA House of Delegates’ regular annual session this July in Philadelphia is selecting the 2022-23 AVMA president-elect. The candidates—Dr. Grace Bransford, former AVMA vice president, and Dr. Rena Carlson, former chair of the AVMA Board of Directors—spoke to AVMA News about their reasons for running and their goals if elected.

The following responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

DR. BRANSFORD

Q. What is your elevator speech about why the HOD should elect you this July?

A. With my unique qualifications, I am not your typical AVMA president-elect candidate. With my experience in advertising management and my council/committee path in AVMA volunteer leadership, I will be able to use that background to look at the challenges our profession faces with a different lens. I think that will be critically important as some of these looming issues will need to be addressed with not the business-as-usual approach. This profession and its success are my passion. From the delegates who took a chance on me back in 1998 to elect a new graduate to the (former) Council on Public Relations, I hope the HOD sees my nearly quarter-century of dedication to the AVMA as evidence that I am unswerving in my commitment to helping make the veterinary medicine profession the very finest it can be. Our careers and of those who follow us are being changed in ways and at a rate that none of us could have foreseen. I believe my 24 years of AVMA experience, previous career in advertising and marketing, wisdom gained from a Stanford education, and hard work as both an associate and practice owner have given me the skills and chops to be an extremely effective AVMA president.

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Dr. Grace Bransford

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 260, 10; 10.2460/javma.260.10.1125

Q. How do you feel about AVMA’s efforts to make veterinary medicine a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive profession?

A. I am encouraged by collaboration and long-range planning of the AVMA and American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges to see that our profession becomes more diverse, equitable, and inclusive in many ways—and not just among racial, ethnic, and gender preference divisions. We need to ensure we keep an equitable balance among all identifiable segments including geographic, political, and age, to name just a few. The best work to address our profession’s issues will be done by diverse groups that will not rubber-stamp each other. They will be willing to tackle big problems, speak up about how they view the situation, and present their potential solutions. We will not be able to effectively address AVMA’s or the profession’s future by practicing groupthink.

Q. If elected, what would you do to ensure a bright future for the profession?

A. This takes me to my mission: to continue to build awareness and reinforce the value of the veterinarian. Our key stakeholders need to be keenly aware not just of the depth and breadth of the skills and knowledge that the veterinary degree brings to enhancing the health of our planet, but to our critical contributions at the intersection of animal, human, and environmental health. I will work hard so that not only our legislators, industry, and the consuming public are aware of our incredible value, but to remind veterinarians themselves not to forget what all their training, sacrifice, and committed care they perform mean to the society we all serve.

Q. Where do you see the U.S. veterinary profession in 10 years?

A. Our profession is going through a time of rapid change and expansion. There are strong external forces that are at work shaping our future. It is critical that as our profession’s lead association, we continually watchdog our industry’s landscape and plan and act in ways that protect our members’ needs now and into the future.

If our profession follows the traditional industry cycle, we will soon hit the stage of maturity, where the strongest entities will survive, and the weaker will not. We will have to ensure we have a clear understanding of what does and doesn’t define organizational strength. We will have an increased dependence on technology to deliver care more efficiently. The animal health care client will demand that. There will be greater use of telemedicine, but even so, we can never lose sight of the core of our care: the veterinarian-client-patient relationship. Medicine is the most personal service that one can deliver. It must remain personally delivered, and we must control the narrative of what that means.

DR. CARLSON

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Dr. Rena Carlson

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 260, 10; 10.2460/javma.260.10.1125

Q. What is your elevator speech about why the HOD should elect you this July?

A. My years of service in the AVMA House of Delegates and on the Board of Directors have prepared me for the job. I understand the challenges veterinarians face. My goal is to help ensure that the passion that brought us all to this profession does not consume us but sustains and fulfills us in these turbulent times. Supporting the mission of AVMA is critical to this goal.

Q. How do you feel about AVMA’s efforts to make veterinary medicine a more diverse, equitable, and Inclusive profession?

A. We must better resemble the diverse society we serve. We must continue to identify and pull down barriers to our profession and access to veterinary care. We must do a better job of reaching out to BIPOC (Black, indigenous, people of color), Asian, Latinx groups, as well as men. When I was chair of the AVMA Board, we established the Commission for a Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive Veterinary Profession with the AAVMC, partnering with affinity groups and our veterinary colleges to reach underrepresented groups and to support advancement and leadership opportunities for underrepresented minorities in our profession. DEI is also an important aspect of our workforce challenges. Creating inclusive and equitable workplaces can decrease staff turnover, improve job satisfaction, and improve our ability to provide the best care for animals. AVMA’s work in DEI can help clinics and small businesses avoid unintentionally limiting our opportunities and excluding the talent and skill of many people.

Q. If elected, what would you do to ensure a bright future for the profession?

A. We must focus on our strengths, one of which is our people. Safeguarding the well-being of our veterinary professionals is a key. As we give of ourselves selflessly, we must also take the time to recharge and take care of each other. As chair of the AVMA Strategy Management Committee, I worked to strengthen and enhance AVMA wellness initiatives. We also focused on partnerships to better understand our well-being challenges and provide more targeted resources. Building a culture of wellness, inclusion, and belonging within the entire health care team is a priority for me.

Veterinary medicine is one of the most trusted professions, and AVMA must continue leveraging this goodwill in our advocacy efforts to improve animal and public health.

Another strength is a long history in excellence in education and advancing animal health. We must continue to work with our veterinary colleges to find innovative ways to provide a robust, diverse, and healthy veterinary workforce. We must set our future colleagues up for successful and rewarding careers. Preserving the culture of lifelong learning and improving our efficiency in delivery of care will support the entire veterinary community.

Lastly, a continued focus on business and economic resources to support the financial viability of our profession is essential. We have experienced healthy economic growth, and we are seeing clients more and more take advantage of the important services, diagnostics, and treatments we can provide. We need to strengthen and sustain this growth.

Q. Where do you see the U.S. veterinary profession in 10 years?

A. As animals continue to play a greater role in society, I see a thriving veterinary profession. I see advances in animal health care that improve our ability to recognize disease and clinical signs earlier, monitor and evaluate progress of treatment more efficiently, as well as treat diseases more effectively. We will realize greater access to health care for animals as we find different business models and health care teams to provide care to the millions of animals that do not receive care today. A profession that leverages the skill of expert veterinary technicians and other support staff and utilizes advanced technology will provide improved efficiency in the delivery of health care. I see enhanced models of education, expanding education to a more diverse group of people and disciplines. We will have incentives to keep veterinarians in rural areas and agriculture disciplines, which will ensure the safety of our food supply. I see collaborative efforts between multiple professions utilizing one-health concepts.

Avian influenza spreads, killing poultry and wild birds

By Greg Cima

This year’s epizootic of highly pathogenic avian influenza has killed tens of millions of poultry as well as unknown numbers of wild waterfowl and raptors.

As of June 8, U.S. Department of Agriculture officials had recorded about 360 outbreaks among domestic birds in 36 states, with about 40 million birds dead from disease or from depopulation to control spread of the virus to more flocks and reduce the risk to humans. The highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza strain circulating in the U.S.—and much of the world—is unusual for also causing disease and deaths among a range of wild birds such as ducks, crows, and eagles.

Federal and state agencies have recorded infections in more than 60 species, about triple the number found during the previous outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza in the U.S., in 2014-15.

Dr. Louise Dufour-Zavala, president of the American Association of Avian Pathologists, said losses of domestic birds would be even higher if the poultry industry hadn’t improved its biosecurity since 2015. She said the number of outbreaks in commercial poultry houses reflects the wide geographic spread of the influenza virus, high virus load in environments near poultry houses, and diversity of wild bird species infected.

The egg industry has been the hardest hit, with about 30 million egg-laying hens killed. Dr. Dufour-Zavala said those losses have created a shortage of breaker eggs, which are used for liquid or powdered eggs, whereas the price and availability of meat from broiler hens remained largely unchanged. The outbreaks also reduced the availability of turkey meat, but the effects were less severe than in the egg industry, she said.

One person in the U.S. has tested positive for the H5N1 virus, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers the virus to be low risk for public health.

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Source: U.S. Geological Survey, May 15

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 260, 10; 10.2460/javma.260.10.1125

Animal health authorities in the U.S. and Canada also have identified H5N1 infections in wild red foxes that developed neurologic disease and died. In a May 13 announcement, Dr. Lindsey Long, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources wildlife health veterinarian, indicated there was no evidence so far that foxes are significant sources of transmission of the virus.

The strains of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza virus currently circulating in North America were identified in Europe in fall 2020, and they spread through the continent and into Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, according to the CDC.

The H5N1 virus was first detected in wild birds of eastern Canada in late 2021 and the U.S. East Coast in January 2022. In February, a turkey flock in Indiana became the first commercial flock in the U.S. with a confirmed outbreak.

Dr. Dufour-Zavala said that, unlike past epizootics that waned as the weather warmed, Europe’s outbreaks continued throughout 2021. That raises concerns North America’s outbreaks, too, could continue this year.

Bryan Richards, emerging disease coordinator for the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center, said this year’s epizootic has included wildlife die-offs unseen during the 2014-15 outbreaks.

The USGS has received reports of die-offs among snow geese in the Great Plains, often with more than 1,000 deaths in a single location and some surviving birds bobbing their heads and seeming disoriented. More than 1,000 lesser scaup also died in a single count in east-central Florida, which led to the deaths of vultures and other scavenger birds that ate the contaminated carcasses.

Richards said the data so far do not suggest the virus is endangering the survival of any wild species in North America.

APHIS marks 50th anniversary

Kevin Shea, APHIS administrator, talks about agency priorities

Interview by R. Scott Nolen

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is celebrating half a century of protecting U.S. borders from animal disease and enforcing the Animal Welfare Act. The USDA created APHIS in April 1972 to consolidate animal and plant health and inspection duties within a single agency. Kevin Shea has overseen the agency since his appointment as administrator in 2013. Shea recently spoke to AVMA News about the broad range of issues within the agency’s scope, such as preventing the practice of horse soring and protecting U.S. livestock from foreign animal diseases.

Q. How has the role of APHIS veterinarians in protecting animal and public health changed over the last 50 years?

A. They have a much bigger role in providing information. We still have a lot of veterinary boots on the ground, as it were, with veterinarians doing some of the same things they did 50 years ago, such as inspecting cattle as they cross the border. I believe it was 50 years ago we were in the midst of a Newcastle disease outbreak—like we are now with avian influenza—and we’ve got veterinarians overseeing operations all around the country as we’re dealing with these outbreaks. So in some respects, the role of APHIS veterinarians hasn’t changed, but there’s a lot more of an information science-driven role for veterinarians now. Another big change is a lot of what our veterinarians do is driven by trade.

Q. What is the USDA doing to prevent African swine fever and other foreign animal diseases from entering the United States?

A. We have strict regulations on what can enter the country, and for any country where such diseases exist, we prohibit imports of their product. We count on our partners at U.S. Customs and Border Protection to do a lot of border and port-of-entry inspection, so there’s that. We also are very deeply involved with the international organizations such as the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) to get good international standards in place. And then, of course, when a disease gets particularly close, like African swine fever in the Dominican Republic, we take direct action. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack authorized us to spend up to a half a billion dollars to help the DR eradicate the disease.

Q. The USDA recently withdrew a proposed rule to amend the Horse Protection Act regulations. Are there any updates in proposing new rules that incorporate the findings from the recent National Academies report on horse soring? (Soring is the practice of inflicting pain to exaggerate the leg motion of horses to gain an advantage in the show ring.)

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APHIS Administrator Kevin Shea

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 260, 10; 10.2460/javma.260.10.1125

A. We withdrew that rule because the data that supported it was outdated, and we wanted to use new data plus the National Academies report to come out with a more solid rule. There are people opposed to what we do in horse protection, and they’re not shy about suing us. So when we put a regulation in place, we want it to be as airtight as possible. We want to put out an up-to-date rule based on good data, and it’s our intention and Secretary Vilsack’s intention to do that. We hope to do it, certainly, by the end of this calendar yet. And, of course, we’re always hoping Congress might act, too.

Q. Did the Covid-19 pandemic bring greater attention to the role APHIS plays in protecting public health through zoonoses surveillance and related programs?

A. Absolutely. Congress gave us $300 million in the American Rescue Plan Act with the stated purpose to do surveillance on SARS-CoV-2 in animals. We will certainly do what Congress told us to do in that regard, but we think we can leverage that funding to look for other diseases in animals and look for the next SARS-CoV-2. We are working right now to put in place a framework to do this kind of work with state partners, university partners, industry to come up with better methods to detect the next SARS-CoV-2 since it almost certainly will come out of animals.

Assemblies

AMERICAN COLLEGE OF VETERINARY SPORTS MEDICINE AND REHABILITATION

The American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation welcomed 12 new diplomates following the board certification examination it held Feb. 18-19 online. The ACVSMR certified eight new diplomates in the canine specialty and four new diplomates in the equine specialty.

AMERICAN COLLEGE OF VETERINARY SURGEONS

The American College of Veterinary Surgeons recently welcomed new diplomates following the board certification examination it held Feb. 14-15 online. The ACVS certified 70 new diplomates in small animal surgery and 30 new diplomates in large animal surgery.

CONFERENCE OF RESEARCH WORKERS IN ANIMAL DISEASES

The Conference of Research Workers in Animal Diseases held its annual conference from Dec. 3-7, 2021, in Chicago. The new CRWAD officials are Charles Czuprynski, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison, president; Dr. Annette O’Connor, Michigan State University, vice president; Dr. M.M. Chengappa, Kansas State University, immediate past president; Dr. Paul Morley, Texas A&M University and West Texas A&M University, executive director; and council members—Dr. Rebecca Wilkes, Purdue University; Weipang Zhang, PhD, University of Illinois; Dr. Marcus Kehrli, U.S. Department of Agriculture (retired); and Dr. John Angelos, University of California-Davis.

WORLD VETERINARY ASSOCIATION

The World Veterinary Association held its 37th World Veterinary Association Congress from March 29-31 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The congress drew 839 delegates in person and 181 delegates virtually, representing 27 countries. The main themes of the congress were clinical veterinary therapy, veterinary public health, animal welfare, and technologies and innovations. The congress also addressed the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on all areas of work and life, including veterinary medicine. Featuring more than 100 educational workshops and lectures, the conference provided an opportunity for the general public and students in the UAE to be introduced to veterinary medicine and its importance. Lecture topics included animal welfare, epidemiology, food safety, camelids, veterinary education, wildlife conservation, the latest technologies, and one health. Seminars held were the 8th WVA Global One Health Summit, the WVA Animal Welfare Seminar on Pain Management in Livestock, and the WVA Veterinary Education Seminar on Global Quality Standards for Veterinary Education. This year’s theme for the WVA Global One Health Summit was “The Role of Private Public Partnership in Preventing the Next Pandemic.” Also on offer was an exhibition featuring veterinary companies, universities, and government agencies.

In the past year, the council focused mainly on improving communications and collaborations during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, implementing the WVA Strategic Plan 2020-25, developing a new website, reviewing the organization’s regional structure, planning WVAC 2022, and exploring future secretariat services. The association also joined the Action for Animal Health coalition, which provides recommendations to the United Nations Global Pandemic Treaty.

The new WVA officials are Drs. Rafael Laguens, Soria, Spain, president; John de Jong, Weston, Massachusetts, president-elect; Patricia Turner, Guelph, Ontario, immediate past president; and councilors—Drs. Shannon Mesenhowski, Bainbridge Island, Washington; Enid Stiles, Montreal; Heidi Kellokoski-Kiiskinen, Vuostimo, Finland; Slaven Grbić, Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina; Roula Shaaban, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; Salah Al-Shami, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Arturo Carlos Mejorada Porras, Mexico City; Helio Blume, Brasilia, Brazil; James Ouma, Nairobi, Kenya; Cynthia Charlotte Nkuna, Mooikloof, South Africa; Chou Chin-Cheng, Taipei, Taiwan; Ganokon Urkasemsin, Salaya, Thailand; Olatunji Nasir, Lagos, Nigeria; and Wanyong “William” Pang, Beijing.

Virginia VMA

The Virginia VMA held its Virginia Veterinary Conference in Roanoke from Feb. 24-26. The new VVMA officials are Drs. Martin Betts, Charlottesville, president; Lauren Maxey, Alexandria, president-elect; Nathaniel Burke, Luray, vice president; Brian Neumann, Alexandria, secretary-treasurer; and Terry Swecker, Blacksburg, immediate past president.

Visit avma.org/news/community to read the full reports from these organizations, including awards and the names of new diplomates.

In Memory

NICHOLAS H. BOOTH

Dr. Booth (Michigan State ’47), 98, Jacksonville, Florida, died March 28, 2022. In 1948, he joined the veterinary college at Colorado State University, going on to serve as dean from 1966-71. From 1971-74, he was director of veterinary research for the Food and Drug Administration. From 1974-85, he was a professor at the University of Georgia. Dr. Booth was a Navy veteran of World War II. He is survived by a son, a daughter, four grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Memorials may be made to Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Dean’s Office, 1601 Campus Delivery, Fort Collins, CO 80523, or the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, Dean’s Office, Athens, GA 30602.

MORGAN N. BOSCH-DOMBROWSKI

Dr. Bosch-Dombrowski (Ohio State ’16), 31, Brooksville, Florida, died Nov. 15, 2021. An equine veterinarian, she practiced at Advanced Equine Dentistry in Dade City, Florida. Dr. Bosch-Dombrowski is survived by her husband, Jacob Dombrowski.

JOHN M. BOWEN

Dr. Bowen (Georgia ’57), 88, Athens, Georgia, died March 21, 2022. After earning his doctorate in physiology, he joined the veterinary faculty at Kansas State University. He subsequently joined the veterinary faculty at the University of Georgia. From 1976-97, he was associate dean for research and graduate affairs and director of the Veterinary Medical Experiment Station. He is survived by two sons, two grandchildren, and a great-grandchild. Memorials, with the check notated to Vet Med—In Memory of Dr. Bowen, may be made to the University of Georgia Foundation, University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, Athens, GA 30602, gail.uga.edu/johnbowen.

JERRY W. BROWN

Dr. Brown (Washington State ’79), 73, Yelm, Washington, died Feb. 26, 2022. He was a partner at Yelm Veterinary Hospital. He served as a field service veterinarian for World Vets and volunteered with Rural Area Veterinary Services. He worked with wolves as a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. Dr. Brown is survived by a son, a daughter, three grandchildren, and a sister. Memorials may be made to Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, P.O. Box 647010, Pullman, WA 99164; World Vets, 9711 18th Ave. NW, Gig Harbor, WA 98332; or Wolf Haven International, 3111 Offut Lake Road SE, Tenino, WA 98589.

CAROL D. COMBS-MORRIS

Dr. Combs-Morris (Auburn ’82), 66, Estill, Kentucky, died Dec. 28, 2021. She owned Letcher County Outpost Animal Clinic in Isom, Kentucky. Dr. Combs-Morris previously worked at the Beaver Creek Veterinary Hospital in Martin, Kentucky. She is survived by her husband, Patrick.

STEVEN J. HELMINK

Dr. Helmink (Illinois ’95), 51, Breese, Illinois, died April 1, 2022. Following graduation, he worked in Illinois’ Washington County before joining a practice in Breese. In 1999, Dr. Helmink established Clinton County Veterinary Services in Breese. He began farming full time in 2021. Dr. Helmink was a member of the Illinois State VMA. He is survived by his wife, Lisa; a daughter and two sons; his mother; and three brothers and two sisters. Memorials toward the American Heart Association or St. Dominic Catholic Church may be made c/o Moss Funeral Home, 535 N. 5th St., Breese, IL 62230.

LEON L. HENNING

Dr. Henning (Iowa State ’61), 90, Story City, Iowa, died March 27, 2022. He practiced in Kanawha, Iowa, for 32 years. Dr. Henning was an Army veteran of the Korean War. His wife, Bonnie; two sons; four grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and a sister survive him.

ROBERT M. JACKSON

Dr. Jackson (Georgia ’84), 68, Lakeland, Florida, died Dec. 5, 2021. He owned Animal Medical Clinic, a small animal practice in Lakeland. Dr. Jackson was a member of the National Turkey Wildlife Federation, Ducks Unlimited, Trout Unlimited, and the Coastal Conservation Association. A past president of the Lakeland Rotary Club, he was a Paul Harris Fellow. Dr. Jackson is survived by his life partner, Nanette Jameson-Lee; his mother; and a sister and a brother.

EDWARD J. LEMOS

Dr. Lemos (Pennsylvania ’57), 89, Barrington, New Hampshire, died March 16, 2022. He founded Dover Veterinary Hospital in Dover, New Hampshire, where he practiced for more than 30 years. He later established a clinic on his farm in Barrington. Early in his career, he practiced large animal medicine in Concord, New Hampshire. From 1978-79, he was president of the American Animal Hospital Association. From 1995-99, he served on what was then the AVMA Group Health and Life Insurance Trust. Dr. Lemos is survived by his wife, Marilyn; four sons and a stepson; 10 grandchildren and three stepgrandchildren; and a sister.

FRED T. LEWIS

Dr. Lewis (Cornell ’53), 95, Clarksville, Maryland, died March 13, 2022. Following graduation, he practiced briefly in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Dr. Lewis subsequently established a practice in Maryland’s Howard County. He also owned Lewis Family Racing Stable in Clarksville, breeding and racing horses. Dr. Lewis is survived by 10 children, 17 grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. Memorials may be made to Our Daily Bread, c/o Catholic Charities, 320 Cathedral St., Baltimore, MD 21201.

TOMMY L. MAH

Dr. Mah (Kansas State ’81), 74, Topeka, Kansas, died Dec. 25, 2021. Following graduation, he joined Animal Clinic of North Topeka as an associate veterinarian. Dr. Mah eventually took ownership of the clinic, selling the practice in 2015. In retirement, he served as a relief veterinarian. Dr. Mah was a member of the Kansas VMA. He served in the Army Reserves. Dr. Mah’s wife, Sharon; a son; and two sisters and a brother survive him. Memorials may be made to Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine, 1700 Denison Ave., Manhattan, KS 66502.

TOM E. MICHALEK

Dr. Michalek (Michigan State ’81), 66, Kalkaska, Michigan, died April 4, 2022. He co-owned Thumb Veterinary Services in Sandusky, Michigan, where he practiced primarily dairy medicine for 38 years. Dr. Michalek was also an adjunct professor at Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine. He served on the Michigan Board of Veterinary Medicine and was a member of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners and the Michigan and Thumb VMAs. His wife, Lucinda; two sons and two daughters; two grandchildren; and two brothers survive him. Memorials may be made to the Sanilac County FFA, 175 E. Aitken Road, Peck, MI 48466.

C. PETER NELSON

Dr. Nelson (Cornell ’61), 87, Harvard, Massachusetts, died Nov. 9, 2021. During his career, he practiced at Marlboro Animal Hospital in Marlborough, Massachusetts. Dr. Nelson was a past president of the Massachusetts VMA, receiving its Distinguished Service Award in 1985. He is survived by his wife, Betsy, and his family.

WILLIAM E. NORRIS

Dr. Norris (Ohio State ’42), 101, Altoona, Wisconsin, died Dec. 2, 2021. He practiced in Valders, Wisconsin, prior to retirement in 1986. Earlier in his career, Dr. Norris worked as an artificial insemination technician in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, and owned a practice in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. He was a past president of the Northeastern Wisconsin VMA and served on the Wisconsin VMA board of directors. Dr. Norris was also a past president of the Valders Lions Club and served as treasurer of the Valders School Board. He is survived by his life partner, Agnes Smieja-Larson; two sons; two grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

DAIL W. PATTERSON JR.

Dr. Patterson (Michigan State ’63), 84, Mason, Michigan, died Oct. 21, 2021. He owned Patterson Veterinary Hospital in Mason, where he practiced mixed animal medicine until 2015. Dr. Patterson’s daughter, son, four grandchildren, and a sister survive him. Memorials may be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, 5501 N. Cumberland Ave. #101, Chicago, IL 60656, or to Ele’s Place, an organization offering bereavement support services, and sent to 1145 W. Oakland Ave., Lansing, MI 48915.

MARK W. PECKHAM

Dr. Peckham (Texas A&M ’88), 64, Houston, died Jan. 6, 2022. Following graduation, he worked at the Houston Zoo. Dr. Peckham subsequently joined Bellaire Blvd. Animal Clinic in Houston, eventually taking ownership of the practice. He was a founding member of Bellaire Ducks Unlimited in Bellaire, Texas, and supported the Coastal Conservation Association. Dr. Peckham’s son, father, sister, brother, and stepsister survive him. Memorials may be made to Bellaire Ducks Unlimited, 7008 S. Rice Ave., Bellaire, TX 77401, or Coastal Conservation Association, 6919 Portwest Drive, Suite 100, Houston, Texas 77024.

RICHARD E. PERKINS

Dr. Perkins (Auburn ’60), 90, Abbeville, Louisiana, died Jan. 18, 2022. Following graduation, he established a practice in Abbeville. In 1965, Dr. Perkins founded Perkins Veterinary Clinic in Abbeville, where he practiced mixed animal medicine until retirement in 1996. He was a member of the American Association of Equine Practitioners and Louisiana VMA. Dr. Perkins served in the Air Force during the Korean War. He is survived by two daughters, a son, six grandchildren, two stepgrandchildren, and two step-great-grandchildren. Memorials toward the priest’s discretionary fund may be sent to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 101 Vermillion St., Abbeville, LA 70501.

CHARLES L. PUTNAM

Dr. Putnam (Pennsylvania ’57), 89, Concord, New Hampshire, died Feb. 5, 2022. He worked for the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture prior to retirement. Earlier in his career, Dr. Putnam owned a practice in Keene, New Hampshire, and co-founded Cheshire Animal Hospital, also in Keene. He was a past president of the Keene and Concord Lions clubs. Dr. Putnam is survived by his wife, Judy; two daughters; and two sisters. Memorials may be made to the Southern Poverty Law Center, 400 Washington Ave., Montgomery, AL 36104, splcenter.org.

JOHN H. RICHARDSON

Dr. Richardson (Michigan State ’57), 88, Waterford, Michigan, died Jan. 1, 2022. Following graduation, he served as a base veterinarian with the Air Force Veterinary Corps. He subsequently joined Westcott Animal Hospital in Detroit. In 1961, he established Plaza Veterinary Hospital in Farmington, Michigan. Active with the American Animal Hospital Association, he served as the association’s regional coordinator for Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana. He is survived by his wife, Shirley; two daughters and a son; five grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and a sister and a brother. Memorials may be made to CARES of Farmington Hills, 27835 Shiawassee St., Farmington Hills, MI 48336.

MICHELE J. SHARKEY

Dr. Sharkey (Auburn ’89), Eldersburg, died Feb. 2, 2022. She worked at the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine for more than 20 years. During that time, she evaluated new drugs and spearheaded several educational initiatives, such as the Animal Health Literacy campaign. Her work led to the Pain in Animal Workshop at the National Institutes of Health. She is survived by her parents and two brothers. Memorials may be made to Small Miracles Cat & Dog Rescue, 10236 Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City, MD 21042, or The Elephant Sanctuary of Tennessee, P.O. Box 393, Hohenwald, TN 38462.

E. KAYE SMITH

Dr. Smith (Kansas State ’65), 86, St. Louis, died Feb. 18, 2022. During her career, she worked for the federal government, directed laboratory animal care at Washington University in St. Louis, and directed laboratory animal resources and served as an associate professor of zoology at Southern Illinois University. She was a member of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science, American Society of Laboratory Animal Practitioners, and Humane Society of Missouri. Dr. Smith is survived by her life partner, Marge Chockley. Memorials may be made to the Humane Society of Missouri, Attn: Donations, 1201 Macklind Ave., St. Louis, MO 63110, hsmo.org/tributes-memorials.

VALERIE U. SPINANGER

Dr. Spinanger (Pennsylvania ’89), 79, Haddonfield, New Jersey, died Dec. 29, 2021. She practiced small animal medicine in New Jersey. Dr. Spinanger also served as an adjunct professor of anatomy, physiology, and biology at Camden County Community College. She is survived by a daughter, a grandchild, and a sister and a brother. Memorials may be made to the Haddonfield Public Library, 60 N. Haddon Ave., Haddonfield, NJ 08033, or the Good Samaritan Fund, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, 3800 Spruce St., Philadelphia, PA 19104.

VAL D. STUVE

Dr. Stuve (Michigan State ’69), 75, Fairbanks, Alaska, died Nov. 19, 2021. He began his career at a small animal practice in Anchorage, Alaska. In 1971, he joined McKinley Animal Hospital in Fairbanks. He later served as veterinarian in charge at North Pole Veterinary Hospital in North Pole, Alaska. From 1981-2012, he owned Aurora Animal Clinic in Fairbanks. He later assisted at the practice for several years. He is survived by his wife, Valerie. Memorials, notated to the Dr. Val D. Stuve Scholarship for Veterinary Medicine, may be made to the UA Foundation, P.O. Box 755080, Fairbanks, AK 99775, bit.ly/stuvescholarship.

THOMAS W. SWERCZEK

Dr. Swerczek (Kansas State ’64), 82, Lexington, Kentucky, died Jan. 9, 2022. After earning his doctorate in animal pathology from the University of Connecticut, he joined the University of Kentucky’s Department of Veterinary Science, where he served as a professor and conducted research. He was known for his expertise in equine medicine. Dr. Swerczek’s wife, Mary Ann; a daughter and a son; eight grandchildren; and two sisters and two brothers survive him. Memorials may be made to the Catholic Action Center, 1055 Industry Road, Lexington, KY 40505; Bluegrass Hospice Care, 1733 Harrodsburg Road, Lexington, KY 40504; or Cathedral of Christ the King, 299 Colony Blvd., Lexington, KY 40502.

  • Jean Beemsterboer (back row, third from left) provided this 1972 photo of the Class of 1973 at the veterinary technology program at Michigan State University. The program was established in 1968, with Dr. Arnie Pals (back row, far right) as the first director. Beemsterboer went on to work as a licensed veterinary technician at the MSU Veterinary Medical Center for most of her career. Dr. Pals went into small animal practice from 1972 until his retirement in 2001.

  • Second-year veterinary technology students work in the dentistry laboratory at Windward Community College on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. The veterinary technology program offers a certificate in veterinary assisting after one year, an associate degree after two years, and a three-year hybrid online and in-person program for students working in the veterinary field on Oahu and all the neighbor islands. (Photo by Kendra Davis)

  • Dr. Grace Bransford

  • Dr. Rena Carlson

  • Source: U.S. Geological Survey, May 15

  • APHIS Administrator Kevin Shea

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