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​​​​​​Sharon Granskog
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 Dr. Richard DeBowes receives 2017 AVMA President's Award

Dr. Rick DeBowes (INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana)—The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has named Dr. Richard DeBowes a recipient of its 2017 President's Award. Annually, the AVMA President personally recognizes individuals or groups they deem have made extraordinary contributions to health, veterinary organizations, or the profession. DeBowes, who received the award during AVMA Convention 2017 in Indianapolis, was recognized for his role in founding the Veterinary Leadership Experience and bringing personal wellness to the forefront of veterinary training.

"Dr. DeBowes has had a profound impact on advancing wellness and developing strong leaders in the veterinary community," said Dr. Tom Meyer, AVMA President. "As co-founder of the Veterinary Leadership Experience, he has helped thousands of individuals develop the personal skills, including resilience, communication and conflict resolution that are essential in any strong leader. I congratulate Dr. DeBowes on all of his achievements and thank him for his creativity, passion, and tireless efforts in creating the next generation of emotionally intelligent and resilient veterinary leaders."

Dr. DeBowes received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Illinois. In partnership with his colleague Dr. Kathleen Ruby and others, Dr. DeBowes helped fund, develop, promote and host the Cougar Orientation and Leadership Experience (COLE) at Washington State University and the Veterinary Leadership Experience (VLE), an experiential leadership program for the global veterinary profession. The VLE curriculum focuses on developing psychological flexibility, mindfulness and enhanced self-awareness, as vital personal and leadership skills in veterinary professionals. The program, which was awarded the 2012 Banfield Award for Best Educational Innovation, has been offered to groups around the world. Dr. DeBowes currently serves as Professor of Equine Surgery and Director of the Professional Life Skills program at WSU. He previously held the positions of Associate Dean for Veterinary Development and External Relations at WSU and Chairman for the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences at both WSU and Kansas State University.

Visit for more details on the AVMA's Veterinary Excellence Awards program.​

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