The past president of both the AVMA and the American Animal Hospital Association received the AVMA Award on July 25 during the opening session of the AVMA Annual Convention for his contributions to organized veterinary medicine.
||Dr. Henry E. Childers (Photo by R. Scott Nolen)
Dr. Christina Lorenson, president of the Rhode Island VMA, nominated Dr. Childers for the award on behalf of the RIVMA “in recognition of a lifetime of service to the profession.”
She wrote, “Dr. Childers is a familiar name to a great many people involved in organized veterinary medicine. His contributions to the field are innumerable, and he is not only well-respected locally, regionally, and nationally, but he is beloved by those who know him.”
Dr. Childers was born in 1930 in Selma, Alabama. He has always loved animals and science, so becoming a veterinarian was natural.
He earned his veterinary degree from Auburn University in 1954. He spent two years in the Army Veterinary Corps stationed in Boston, where he met his wife, Pat. He went on to work briefly for the Rhode Island Division of Agriculture. He acquired Cranston Animal Hospital in 1957 in Cranston, Rhode Island.
Dr. Childers practiced small animal medicine at the hospital for 57 years, retiring in April. Pat said it was time. He said he was pulled away from practice kicking and screaming.
“I enjoy seeing clients and talking to them and getting to know them, and I enjoy trying to thoroughly work up a case,” he said.
He has always been an avid reader, and he believes keeping up on the veterinary literature is necessary to practice well. Pat said her husband’s philosophy is “You’re a student for life.”
Over the decades, Dr. Childers has seen changes in society as well as technology. He said, “The pet became a member of the family. It was probably always that way, but not as much as it is currently.”
Throughout his career, Dr. Childers has been active in veterinary associations. He said organized veterinary medicine is important because it brings together veterinarians with knowledge and expertise in many areas to help make decisions in the best interest of the profession.
His involvement with the RIVMA has included serving two terms as president, chairing the Continuing Education Committee for 15 years, and serving as editor of the newsletter. He is a past president of the New England VMA and a past chair of the Rhode Island Board of Veterinary Medicine.
In 1966, Cranston Animal Hospital earned AAHA accreditation. Dr. Childers became an area director and a regional director for AAHA before becoming 1988-1989 AAHA president.
Among activities with the AVMA, Dr. Childers has been a member of the AVMA Council on Education and the AVMA Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities. He served on the AVMA Board of Directors as a district representative before becoming 2005-2006 AVMA president. He dedicated his presidency to promoting professional unity.
Dr. Childers has taught at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine and has served on the advisory boards of veterinary technology programs at Becker College in Worcester, Massachusetts, and the New England Institute of Technology. He is a diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners in the area of canine and feline practice.
His community involvement has included serving as commodore of the Edgewood Yacht Club in Cranston and as president of the Cranston Chamber of Commerce. He is a current board member of the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities.
Dr. Childers said, “I am thrilled that I became a veterinarian. It has been a wonderful life, and I’m looking forward to the rest of it.”