Bustad award to be restructured

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Since 1986, the AVMA, Delta Society, and Hill's Pet Nutrition Inc. have co-sponsored the Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian-of-the-Year Award. It was conceived by Dr. Jack L. Mara as a means of recognizing special achievement in the area of human-animal interactions, and as a tribute to the late Dr. Leo K. Bustad. Veterinarians have received the award for work in private practice, teaching, and research.

In November 2002, the AVMA Executive Board approved restructuring the Bustad award. In the ensuing weeks, Delta and Hill's followed suit.

The co-sponsors increased the monetary value of the award, from $5,000 to $20,000. As before, half will go to the veterinarian and the other half to a veterinary school or not-for-profit service program of the veterinarian's choice, to further work in improving human-animal interactions.

Another change is the venue of the award ceremony. For the past three years, the award has been presented at the fall Tufts Expo in Massachusetts. Before that, the ceremony was held during National Pet Week, at a location near the recipient's home. Beginning in 2003, the Bustad award will be presented during the opening session of the AVMA Annual Convention. Later, the recipient's state and local veterinary associations will be offered the opportunity to recognize the winner at their meetings.

A stronger focus will be placed on promotion and publicity. To increase visibility within the profession, for example, efforts will be made to have the award recipient engaged as a speaker at various professional meetings. An additional $5,000 is being allocated to support these promotional activities.