Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award


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Named for the late Leo K. Bustad, DVM, PhD, this award recognizes a distinguished AVMA member veterinarian for outstanding work in preserving and protecting the human-animal bond.

Nomination criteria

  • Nominee must be an AVMA member veterinarian
  • Nominations may be submitted by any individual (AVMA member or non-member) or organization (governmental and non-governmental)
  • Self-nominations will not be considered
  • Nominee must be a graduate veterinarian 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.

Nomination requirements

  • Letter of nomination summarizing the nominee’s professional background including current professional activity, statement of significant achievements, qualifications for the award, and the impact the nominee has made in increasing understanding of the importance of the human-companion animal bond
  • Interactive PDF nomination form
  • Curriculum vitae/resume, including relevant publications (not to exceed four single-sided typed pages)
  • Up to three letters of support from veterinarians, colleagues, clients, or organizations (not to exceed three single-sided typed pages)
  • Digital high resolution (300 d.p.i.) colored headshot photograph, suitable for publication

Selection process

  • A panel of four judges selects the recipient using a written ballot with consistent criteria to numerically score nominations followed by a meeting to identify a winner among the top candidates
    • AVMA (two judges)
    • Merck (one judge)
    • Pet Partners (one judge)
  • Recipient may not be selected in a given year if no nominee meets the criteria
  • The award recipient will receive one round-trip coach airfare in the name of the recipient, two nights hotel accommodations, and registration (if applicable) to the venue designated by AVMA to accept the physical award
  • The award recipient will receive a related speaking engagement at the AVMA Convention

Merck Animal HealthAnimal Welfare, Humane and Bustad awards are generously funded by Merck Animal Health