Education and Research Division gains two skilled assistant directors

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In October, the AVMA Education and Research Division welcomed two new assistant directors: Dr. Elizabeth A. Sabin and Dr. Gary R. Leff. While Dr. Sabin brings years of research experience to the division, Dr. Leff has extensive experience with veterinary technician programs. Their work with organized veterinary medical groups will aid them as they work closely with councils, committees, and task forces.

Dr. Elizabeth A. Sabin
Dr. Elizabeth A. Sabin

"We chose Drs. Sabin and Leff because of their experience, enthusiasm, and potential to make contributions to the Education and Research Division and the AVMA," said division director, Dr. Donald G. Simmons.

In her new job, Dr. Sabin will staff the activities of the Council on Research, the Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates, and the American Board of Veterinary Specialties. "I am especially excited to work on the Veterinary Research Initiative, finding funding sources and encouraging veterinarians to go into research," Dr. Sabin said.

Dr. Sabin's excitement has a basis: she is a seasoned researcher. Before joining the AVMA in 1998 as an assistant editor in the Publications Division, she spent most of her professional life exploring the wonders of life sciences and toiling in laboratories. Her career began in research, and for six years, she worked in several laboratories, academia and industry, studying hormonal control of animal reproduction and the biology of human immunodeficiency virus.

These research years led her back to school, and she obtained her DVM degree from the University of California-Davis in 1992. A PhD degree in immunology from Cornell University followed five years later. Prior to joining AVMA staff, she was a scientist at the Heska Corporation in Fort Collins, Colo., where she coordinated the company's canine leishmaniasis vaccine efforts and studied the intricacies of heartworm immunology.

Dr. Sabin has authored and co-authored a number of publications, book chapters, and abstracts. She is a member of the Council of Science Editors and the Association of Veterinary Immunologists.

Dr. Gary R. LeffDr. Gary R. Leff

Since graduating from the University Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine in 1968, Dr. Leff has focused his career on food animal clinical practice in Wisconsin and Minnesota. His expertise lies in dairy care and herd health management.

At the AVMA, Dr. Leff will be staffing the activities of the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities, the North American Veterinary Technician Association Liaison Committee, and the AVMA Audio Visual Library.

He will be responsible for overseeing accreditation of veterinary technician programs and addressing a growing problem in veterinary medicine—a dearth of technicians. "There is a huge demand nationwide for more technicians," Dr. Leff said.

Dr. Leff plans to work vigorously to help new programs get established. He will draw on his experiences working on the Minnesota VMA Veterinary Technician Committee, Minnesota VMA/University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine Liaison Committee, Minnesota Board of Animal Health, and University of Minnesota CVM's Dean's Advisory Board. Having spent six years on the AVMA Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities, as well as chairing this committee from 1998–2000, he will find familiarity in his new job.

Dr. Leff is a member of the Minnesota VMA, Wisconsin VMA, American Association of Bovine Practitioners, National Mastitis Council, and the Society of Theriogenology.