February 15, 2013



Posted Jan. 30, 2013

American College of Veterinary Surgeons 

​Dr. Stephen J. Withrow ​​Dr. Thomas W. Turner Dr. H. Phil Hobson
​Dr. Cheryl S. Hedlund ​​Dr. Earl M. Gaughan Dr. Rolf M. Embertson

Although Hurricane Sandy forced the American College of Veterinary Surgeons to cancel its 2012 annual symposium, which was scheduled for Nov. 3-5 in National Harbor, Md., the ACVS announced the recipients of three prestigious awards and its new officials. The college also welcomed 103 new diplomates in 2012 (see JAVMA, Jan. 15, 2013). 

Dr. Stephen J. Withrow (MIN ‘72) of Colorado State University was the recipient of the ACVS Founders’ Award for Career Achievement, which recognizes the service of ACVS diplomates who have distinguished themselves through important contributions to the development of surgical techniques and methodology and through dissemination of knowledge to colleagues, residents, and students. According to the ACVS, Dr. Withrow is one of the most renowned veterinary surgical oncologists in the world. His commitment to the ACVS and the training of young surgeons is evidenced by the clinical surgical oncology programs and procedures he has developed and the oncology research he has fostered.
The ACVS Merit Award was presented to Dr. Thomas M. Turner (AUB ‘72) of Willowbrook, Ill. This award is given to an individual outside the ACVS whose career has been dominated by major and ongoing contributions to the art and science of veterinary surgery. For nearly 40 years, Dr. Turner has contributed to innovative techniques in veterinary and human orthopedics. He made major contributions to the development of total hip replacement in dogs and humans, and to a canine total knee replacement implant used in studies that helped guide the development of total knee replacement implants used in humans.
Dr. H. Phil Hobson (IL ‘56) of College Station, Texas, was the recipient of the ACVS Foundation Legends Award. This award rec-ognizes ACVS diplomates who have developed a valuable surgical or diagnostic procedure that has become the treatment or test of choice for a given condition. Dr. Hobson developed procedures for the use of external ring prostheses for tracheal collapse, creation of a permanent tracheostomy, and treatment of pectus excavatum, and for other reconstructive techniques for congenital abnormalities.
The new ACVS officials are as follows: ACVS—Drs. Cheryl S. Hedlund, Ames, Iowa, president; Earl M. Gaughan, Blacksburg, Va., chair of the Board of Regents; Rolf M. Embertson, Lexington, Ky, president-elect; and C. Collins “Andy” Anderson III, San Antonio, treasurer; ACVS Foundation—Drs. Mark D. Markel, Madison, Wis., chair; and trustees—Drs. Matthew D. Barnhart, Worthington, Ohio; Sara A. Colopy, Madison, Wis.; William R. Daly, Friendswood, Texas; Erick L. Egger, Steamboat Springs, Colo.; Michelle L. Haven, Hampton, N.J.; Elizabeth Laws Kilgallon, Bedford Hills, N.Y.; William A. Lindsay, Arnaudville, La.; and Janet Kovak McClaran, New York City.  

American Association of Equine Practitioners 

​​Dr. Nat T. Messer


Dr. Jay Merriam


​Dr. Jill Johnson


Dr. Tom Juergens
(for Christian Veterinary Mission)

The American Association of Equine Practitioners honored the 2012 recipients of several awards Dec. 4, 2012, at its 58th Annual Convention in Anaheim, Calif. 

Dr. Nat T. Messer (COL ’71) was honored with the Distinguished Life Member Award. A professor of equine medicine and surgery at the University of Missouri-Columbia College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Messer was elected to the AAEP’s board of directors in 1996 and has served as a member of the association’s Equine Welfare, Abstract Review, Biologic and Therapeutic Agents, Nominating, and Research committees.  

Dr. Messer has also represented the AAEP as a member of the AVMA Animal Welfare Committee, the Unwanted Horse Coalition, and the American Horse Council. He is a life member of the American Quarter Horse Association and has served on the AQHA Equine Research Committee. Dr. Messer is a member of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners, certified in equine practice.
Dr. Jay Merriam (KSU ’69), a practitioner with the Massachusetts Equine Clinic, was given the President’s Award. He is a founding member of Project Samana, a group of veterinarians who have visited the Dominican Republic twice a year for the past 20 years. He wanted to expand the outreach effort by visiting other countries and started a movement to inform veterinarians about the plight of the world’s working equids, most of which work under terrible conditions but are vital to families’ survival in these countries.
Dr. Merriam coined the term “equitarian” for his cause, built grass-roots support for the effort, and then brought the equitarian idea to the AAEP, which in 2010 formed the Equitarian Task Force to improve the health and welfare of working equids worldwide through promotion of education, direct aid, and organizational leadership and collaboration.
The Distinguished Service Award was given to Dr. Midge Leitch (UP ’73). Recently retired from the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center, Dr. Leitch has facilitated forums, led task forces, presented at educational meetings, and guided the governing entities of the association since joining the AAEP in 1973. She was a member of the AAEP board of directors from 2003-2006, served as chair of the Equine Welfare Committee from 2008-2010, and represented the AAEP as an alternate delegate to the AVMA Animal Welfare Committee and as a member of a previous AVMA Panel on Euthanasia. She is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons.
Dr. Jill Johnson (MIN ’72), of Baton Rouge, La., was awarded the Distinguished Educator Award. Before retiring in 2011, she trained students at the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine for 34 years. Dr. Johnson continues to pursue research projects on blood typing/immunogenetics, GPS technology for racehorses, and hospital-acquired Salmonella infections in horses.
The Christian Veterinary Mission was chosen to receive the Lavin Cup—the AAEP Equine Welfare Award.
Established as a nonprofit organization in 1976, the CVM was founded on the principle of changing communities in the Third World by providing veterinary care for livestock and other animals. The CVM operates long-term mission sites in 12 countries throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Members of the CVM have propelled the AAEP’s Equitarian Initiative, first presented at the 2009 AAEP Annual Conven­tion, and provided guidance for equitarian projects.
Two equine researchers were recognized as the 2012 Equus Foundation Research Fellows. Texas A&M University Master of Science candidate Dr. Michelle C. Coleman (GA ’07) and University of Kentucky Gluck Equine Research Center doctoral candidate Dr. Allen E. Page (CAL ’08) each received a $5,000 fellowship to support their endeavors in equine research.
Dr. Coleman is the study coordinator for the AAEP Foundation’s Case-Control Study of Pasture- and Endo­crinopathy-Associated Laminitis in horses, currently under way at Texas A&M University. Dr. Page is investigating why only a small proportion of Lawsonia intracellularis–exposed weanlings develop clinical signs of equine proliferative enteropathy, while most fail to show any ill effects of exposure.
University of Minnesota doctoral candidate Dr. Nichol Schultz (PUR ’03) is the 2012 AAEP Foundation Past Presidents’ Research Fellow. A $5,000 grant is awarded each year to a doctoral or residency student who has made substantial progress in the field of equine health care research. Dr. Schultz’s thesis project is focused on the epidemiology and genetic basis of equine metabolic syndrome.