Rena Carlson, DVM

Rena Carlson

AVMA President 2023-2024

Biographical sketch

Dr. Rena Carlson is a graduate of Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Her experience began with family farming. After graduation, Dr. Carlson’s career has spanned more than 30 years including clinical work, practice ownership, university attending veterinarian, university accreditation, and academic research. Upon graduation, she was hired as an associate veterinarian at Alpine Animal Hospital in Pocatello, Idaho. Within three years of graduation, she partnered with her colleague to purchase the business. She co-owned Alpine Animal Hospital, a mixed-animal practice, for 25 years. She and her partner grew the practice from two to six doctors, and designed and built a new facility in 2009.

In addition to private practice, Dr. Carlson also was the attending veterinarian at Idaho State University Animal Care facility for 28 years. She was involved in achieving and maintaining accreditation by the Association for the Assessment of Laboratory Animal Care International. She also was involved in multiple research projects during her time working with the facility.

Dr. Carlson currently works for National Veterinary Associates as a general practice mentor for new graduates serving in Idaho, Montana, Colorado, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming and Nebraska. 

Early in her career, she became involved in the Eastern Idaho Veterinary Medical Association (EIVMA) and was quickly elected as an officer. She has been active in the EIVMA, holding all of the officer and committee positions multiple times over the years. In 1998, she was nominated by the EIVMA to the executive board of the Idaho Veterinary Medical Association, becoming president in 2000 and board chair in 2001.

After serving on the IVMA board, she was selected to represent Idaho as alternate delegate to the AVMA House of Delegates, then delegate. She served in the AVMA HOD for 10 years. As an IVMA board member, she worked with colleagues testifying multiple times in the Idaho state legislature on many issues, including veterinary practice act, animal welfare, and pharmacy regulations.

In 2014, she was elected to serve on the AVMA Board of Directors as District 11 director. While on the board, she was liaison to multiple councils and committees, and chaired task forces. She also held three other significant positions while serving on the AVMA Board. First, Dr. Carlson chaired the Strategy Management Committee, where she was instrumental in developing strategy and budgeting for the Association. Next, she chaired the Legislative Advisory Committee, working with AVMA staff to streamline advocacy efforts. In her last two years on the AVMA BOD, she served on the Board of Governors as vice chair and chair. 

Dr. Carlson was recognized for her achievements by receiving the 2004 Idaho State University Distinguished Alumni Award, College of Arts and Sciences, as a business leader, leader in the veterinary profession, and for community involvement. She also was named the 2006 Idaho Veterinarian of the Year in acknowledgement of her dedication to veterinary medicine.

Dr. Carlson and her husband raised two sons who kept them very busy. She spent many hours volunteering at school, driving for field trips, and supporting soccer, lacrosse, cross country, and track teams. When not working, she enjoys time with family, working on the farm with the family cow calf operation, her two cats Rocket and Missy, and tending to the family's laying hens.