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3 honored for supporting animal welfare, human-animal bond

Two veterinarians and a former director of the California Veterinary Medical Association have been named as recipients of 2021 AVMA Excellence Awards related to animal welfare and the human-animal bond.

The Excellence Awards program recognizes accomplishments in every aspect of veterinary medicine, honoring the breadth of veterinary medicine, the diversity of veterinary careers, and the many ways in which veterinary professionals protect both animal and human health. Three of these awards, supported through educational funding from Merck Animal Health, highlight contributions to animal welfare and the human-animal bond: the AVMA Animal Welfare Award, the AVMA Humane Award, and the Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award.

The 2021 recipients of these awards were announced this week, as part of AVMA’s celebration of National Pet Week. Please join us in congratulating these three outstanding achievers.

Dr. Jeff Boehm: AVMA Animal Welfare Award

The AVMA Animal Welfare Award is presented to an AVMA member veterinarian who has advanced the welfare of animals through leadership, public service, education, research, product development, or advocacy.

Dr. Jeff Boehm, chief executive officer of The Marine Mammal Center, the world’s largest marine mammal hospital, was chosen to receive the 2021 AVMA Animal Welfare Award to honor his decades spent ensuring the welfare of marine mammals and the survival of critically endangered species.

Dr. Boehm has championed the conservation of marine mammal populations and species, some of which are on the brink of extinction. He also has overseen the development and refinement of numerous veterinary protocols, procedures, tools and techniques to advance the humane care and welfare of individual marine mammals in distress.

Valerie Fenstermaker: 2021 AVMA Humane Award

The AVMA Humane Award is given annually to a non-veterinarian who has advanced the welfare of animals through leadership, public service, education, research and product development, or advocacy.

Valerie Fenstermaker, former executive director of the California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA), is the winner of the 2021 AVMA Humane Award. Fenstermaker served more than 30 years with the CVMA—the last 16 of them as executive director, until her retirement last year. She worked on more than 1,000 bills affecting the veterinary profession and the wellbeing of animals in California. Through her work on legislative issues relating to animal welfare and the veterinary profession—including scope of practice, judicious use of antibiotics, cannabis, veterinary compounding, spay/neuter and many other subjects—the CVMA has come to be recognized as a trusted source of balanced and reliable information for legislators and state agencies.

Dr. Jason Coe: 2021 Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award

Named for the late Dr. Leo K. Bustad, former president of the Delta Society and dean of the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, this award is one of veterinary medicine’s highest honors, recognizing the outstanding work of veterinarians in protecting and promoting the human-animal bond.

This year, the AVMA honored Dr. Jason Coe, a leading expert in veterinary clinical communications and professor in the Department of Population Medicine at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College, as the recipient of the Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award.

Dr. Coe established an active research program at the University of Guelph examining human-animal relationships and the role of interpersonal communications on the outcomes of veterinary care. His research has made significant contributions to enhancing animal welfare and behavior, promoting adoption, and preventing surrender and relinquishment. Among the areas covered by his research are urban cat issues, puppy socialization, dog walking, dog fear and aggression, rabbit care, and canine and feline obesity management.

Dr. Coe’s research also has examined how veterinarians provide client support after companion animal euthanasia, and client experiences of uncertainty during pet illness. These investigations contribute to the human-animal bond by ensuring that pets stay in their home after successful adoption and acclimation and live long and enriching lives in loving homes.

Congratulations to all award winners! Learn more about Dr. Boehm, Fensternmaker, and Dr. Coe in the press releases announcing their awards.


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