Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award

Nomination Form - Deadline April 1, 2017

The current holder of this award is Dr. Jody Sandler.

The Award

Named for the late Leo K. Bustad, DVM, PhD, a former dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University and founder of the Delta Society (now Pet Partners), this award recognizes the outstanding work of veterinarians in preserving and protecting the human-animal bond.

In addition to a physical award, the winner will be reimbursed for travel for the award ceremony at the VLC and a related speaking engagement at the AVMA Convention.

Award Criteria

Bustad nominees must be a graduate veterinarian and AVMA member held in high regard by peers for their leadership, integrity, and professionalism. They must have demonstrable accomplishments in at least one of the following areas:
  • Practice—Been active for at least five years in practice and exhibited a special sensitivity to the human-companion animal bond through documented work with various types of clients (including children, the elderly, people with disabilities, those grieving the loss of a pet, or other at-risk populations).
  • Community Service—Assumed a leadership role for at least three years in human-companion animal interactive programs that serve the community. Examples include visiting, therapy, or resident animal programs in healthcare facilities; special population programs such as those for people with disabilities, prisoners, or children; and school or community-based programs that educate the public about the human-companion animal bond.
  • Teaching—For three years or more has actively incorporated the study of human-animal interactions into veterinary curricula and/or continuing education, as evidenced by continuous development of courses focused on increased sensitivity to human-companion animal bond issues.
  • Research—For three years or more has actively participated in research, including scholarly publication, which increases understanding of human-companion animal interactions, with applicability to veterinary medicine.

Anyone 18 years or older may nominate an eligible veterinarian.

Supporting Materials

Each nomination must include:

  • Completed nomination form
  • Detailed letter of nomination (not to exceed three single-sided typed pages), which describes how the veterinarian has met the award criteria. The impact he/she has made in increasing understanding of the importance of the human-companion animal bond by veterinarians and/or the public should be clearly conveyed.
  • Letters of support containing relevant information on the nominee's qualifications for the award:
    1. At least one, but no more than three letters (not to exceed two single-sided typed pages each) from the nominee's veterinary colleagues and/or local veterinary associations
    2. At least one, but no more than five letters (not to exceed two single-sided typed pages each) from clients, staff, members of the community, and/or representatives of relevant institutions
    3. A copy of the nominee's resume or curriculum vitae (not to exceed two double-sided typed pages).
    4. Two color photographs (at least 3" x 5"), or a digital image of the nominee, which are suitable for publication.

Selection Process

The recipient will be chosen by a panel of six judges.

Nominations should be sent to AVMA Excellence in Veterinary Medicine Awards, Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award, AVMA, 1931 N. Meacham Rd, Suite 100,  Schaumburg, IL 60173, or to avma-awards@avma.org. For further information on animal welfare awards and other activities please visit the Animal Welfare section of this website.

​Questions? Email avma-awards@avma.org.​

2016 Jody Sandler, DVM, New York
2015 Melissa Bain, DVM, California
2014 Bess Pierce, DVM, Virginia
2013 Benjamin Hart, DVM, California
2012 Thomas Cantanzaro, DVM, Australia
2011 Nancy Kay, DVM, California
2010 Ken Gorczyca, DVM, California
2009 Brian Forsgren, DVM, Ohio
2008 Jane Shaw, DVM, Colorado
2007 Samuel Costello, DVM, Ohio
2006 Richard Meadows, DVM, DABVP, Missouri
2005 Marie Suthers-McCabe, DVM, Virginia
2004 Kathy Mitchener, DVM, Tennessee
2003 Brenda Griffin, DVM, MS, DACVIM, Alabama