Veterinarians at the pinnacle

AVMA honors exemplary individuals for widespread contributions
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The AVMA paid its highest tributes to 15 individuals, including 14 member veterinarians, during the Annual Convention in Honolulu. The honors were conferred at two events, the Opening Ceremony and the President's Installation Luncheon.

Photos of award winners

Six awardees were feted during the July 15 Opening Ceremony at Fort DeRussy Beach Park in Waikiki, sponsored by Hill's Pet Nutrition Inc.:

  • Dr. Allen Y. Miyahara, AVMA Award
  • Dr. Richard Meadows, Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year
  • Senator Wayne Allard, DVM, AVMA Meritorious Service Award
  • Dr. R. Tracy Rhodes, AVMA President's Award
  • Dr. Leon H. Russell, AVMA President's Award
  • Dr. Jeffrey S. Klausner, AVMA President's Award

Dr. Allen Y. Miyahara received the AVMA Award for his contributions to the advancement of veterinary medical organizations; see story.

Dr. Richard Meadows (TEX '81) received the Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award for outstanding work in increasing understanding of, preserving, and protecting human-animal relationships. The award was established by Hill's Pet Nutrition Inc., together with the Delta Society and the AVMA. Dr. Meadows is director of community practice at the University of Missouri-Columbia Veterinary Teaching Hospital. He also directs the Helping Overpopulation Through Education project, a volunteer, extracurricular spay-neuter program he created.

At MU, Dr. Meadows serves as a faculty adviser for the student chapters of the AVMA and the American Animal Hospital Association and Pets are Loving Support. A diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners, Dr. Meadows serves on the board of directors of the American Association of Human-Animal Bond Veterinarians.

Senator Wayne Allard (COL '68) received the AVMA Meritorious Service Award for contributions to the advancement of veterinary medicine and for bringing honor and distinction to the profession through personal and professional activities conducted outside organized veterinary medicine and research. A U.S. senator from Colorado since 1996, Dr. Allard is Senate deputy majority whip and chair of the Senate Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency, and Space caucuses. Earlier, he established the Allard Animal Hospital in Loveland, Colo., which he operated full time while serving in the Colorado State Senate, and then he served in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The senator chairs the Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee, and the Housing and Transportation Subcommittee of the Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. He is a member of the Budget and Banking committees. A proponent of elected officials being citizen legislators, Sen. Allard has conducted more than 700 town meetings across Colorado. He has led a congressional effort to resolve the Japanese embargo on American beef.

The AVMA President's Award was presented to the following three veterinarians who have had a positive impact on animal, human, or public health and on veterinary organizations and the profession. The recipients were selected by Dr. Henry E. Childers, 2005-2006 AVMA president.

Dr. R. Tracy Rhodes (COL '60) completed his term representing District IX on the AVMA Executive Board this past July. Strongly committed to organized veterinary medicine, he currently chairs the board of directors of the American Veterinary Medical Foundation. For 12 years he was a trustee on the AVMA Group Health & Life Insurance Trust, also serving as secretary, vice chairman, and chair.

The former owner of a mixed practice in Buffalo, Wyo., Dr. Rhodes now does relief work and ranching. He is a past president of the Wyoming VMA and the Wyoming State Board of Veterinary Medicine. He served as Wyoming's alternate delegate and delegate to the AVMA House of Delegates. Active in his community, Dr. Rhodes has led several organizations and served as a county commissioner.

Dr. Leon H. Russell (MO '56) is president of the World Veterinary Association. Prior to his election as the first American president of the WVA, Dr. Russell served as vice president and councilor. He has traveled the globe listening to and working with colleagues to preserve and advance the role of veterinarians. He has served on national committees and working groups for the Department of Agriculture, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other agencies.

At the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Dr. Russell is a professor of toxicology, epidemiology, and biostatistics. He has served as AVMA president and Executive Board member and chair, and as president of the Texas VMA. He is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine.

Dr. Jeffrey S. Klausner (GA '72) is a professor and dean of the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. Under his leadership, the college became the first in the nation to select students on the basis of behavioral competencies known to be associated with professional success. With the School of Public Health, the veterinary college developed a combined DVM/MPH program. Also during Dr. Klausner's tenure, the college added an endowed chair in comparative oncology and a new equine center facility, and increased its budget from $44 million to more than $70 million.

Dr. Klausner's research interests include prostatic neoplasia, immunoabsorptive treatment for malignancies of dogs, transfusion medicine, and informatics. He is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.

Nine award recipients showcased at luncheon

The contributions of nine individuals were celebrated July 18 during the President's Installation Luncheon at Hilton Hawaiian Village, also sponsored by Hill's. After his installation, AVMA President Roger K. Mahr said that no other profession has comparable value to society in its input on both human and animal health. Extolling the far-reaching achievements of the AVMA award winners, he said, "Here we have a showcase of the 'one world, one health, one medicine' concept"—the theme of his presidential initiative. The honorees were:

  • Dr. John E. Madigan, AVMA Animal Welfare Award
  • Dr. William S. Stokes, Charles River Prize
  • Dr. Janice M. Miller, AVMA Lifetime Excellence in Research Award
  • Dr. Robyn Elmslie, AVMA Practitioner Research Award
  • Dr. James A. Roth, AVMA Public Service Award
  • Marion Ehrich, PhD, Student AVMA Teaching Excellence Award—Basic Sciences
  • Dr. Kevin D. Pelzer, Student AVMA Teaching Excellence Award—Clinical Sciences
  • Dr. David M. Sherman, XII International Veterinary Congress Prize
  • Dr. Marguerite Pappaioanou, Karl F. Meyer—James H. Steele Gold Head Cane Award

Dr. John E. Madigan (CAL '75) received the AVMA Animal Welfare Award for his efforts to advance animal well-being, dedication to animal care, and contributions to his community and society. Dr. Madigan is a professor of medicine and epidemiology and clinician in equine medicine at the University of California-Davis Veterinary Teaching Hospital. He also heads its Veterinary Emergency Response and Helicopter Rescue teams. At UC-Davis, Dr. Anderson created the equine neonatal care facility. His research has unraveled the mysteries of the transmission of Anaplasma phagocytophila and Neorickettsia risticii.

Dr. Madigan developed the Anderson sling and Large Animal Lift for the rescue and rehabilitation of animals, particularly horses. A member of the AVMA Committee on Disaster and Emergency Issues, he has also served on other organizations' emergency and disaster preparedness committees. During the floods in Yuba City, Calif., and Hurricane Floyd, Dr. Madigan helped with animal rescue. Following hurricanes Katrina and Rita, he has vigorously pursued state and federal legislation to ensure animal welfare during natural disasters.

Dr. William S. Stokes (OSU '79) received the Charles River Prize for distinguished contributions to the field of laboratory animal medicine and science. The award is sponsored by the Charles River Laboratories Foundation. An international authority on the care and use of laboratory animals for biomedical research and testing, Dr. Stokes is currently director of the National Toxicology Program's Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods. During his career with the National Institutes of Health, he established procedures to validate and gain regulatory acceptance of new safety testing methods that would reduce, refine, and replace animal use. As co-chair of the U.S. Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods from 1994-2001, he led the review and adoption of several new methods that significantly reduced the numbers of animals and the pain and distress involved in testing.

Dr. Stokes served as a council member for the Institute for Laboratory Animal Research of the National Research Council from 1998-2004. In 2003, the U.S. surgeon general appointed him chief veterinary officer for the U.S. Public Health Service.

Photos of award winners

The first AVMA Lifetime Excellence in Research Award was presented to Dr. Janice M. Miller (KSU '62) for achievement in veterinary medical research. Dr. Miller was a veterinary medical officer with the Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service prior to her retirement in 2003. During her career as a federal research scientist, she focused on several problems of importance to the livestock industry, especially diseases associated with retroviruses, herpesviruses, mycobacteria, and prions. In addition to addressing the etiology and pathogenesis of infections with these agents, Dr. Miller developed diagnostic tests to detect them.

Earlier in her career, while working toward her doctorate, Dr. Miller discovered the bovine leukemia virus. Following completion of her PhD degree, she continued to work on bovine leukemia as a special fellow for the Leukemia Society of America. She is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists.

Dr. Robyn Elmslie (MON '86) was honored with the AVMA Practitioner Research Award for outstanding accomplishments in veterinary medical research by a practicing veterinarian. Dr. Elmslie is the founder of Veterinary Cancer Specialists, the oncology department of the Veterinary Referral Center of Colorado. Her goal was to combine her clinical oncology expertise with her immunology research background to improve the quality of life for pets with cancer and to contribute to the development and evaluation of innovative cancer therapies.

Dr. Elmslie has collaborated with veterinarians and researchers on clinical studies funded by the National Institutes of Health, Morris Animal Foundation, and several biotechnical companies. Her interest in research was first stimulated during summer breaks from veterinary school when she did fieldwork for Pfizer Inc. on vaccine and anthelmintic clinical trials. During an oncology residency at Colorado State University, she became increasingly interested in immunology research and subsequently undertook an immunology research fellowship at the National Jewish Center in Denver.

Dr. James A. Roth (ISU '75) received the AVMA Public Service Award for outstanding contributions to public health and regulatory veterinary medicine. Dr. Roth is the Clarence Hartley Covault Distinguished Professor at the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine. At ISU, he also directs the Center for Food Security and Public Health, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Center for Public Health Preparedness in Veterinary Medicine and Zoonotic Diseases. The CFSPH works to increase national preparedness for responding to accidental or intentional introduction of disease agents that threaten food production or public health.

Dr. Roth worked with the University of Iowa to establish a concurrent DVM/MPH program for veterinary students and supported 15 veterinarians as they worked toward their MPH degrees. He has also led the development of a library of materials on emerging, exotic, and zoonotic diseases. Dr. Roth is executive director of the Institute for International Cooperation in Animal Biologics, a World Health Organization collaborating center that provides training, facilitates harmonization of regulations, and assists countries in obtaining needed veterinary biologics.

The Student AVMA Teaching Excellence Award—Basic Sciences was given to Marion Ehrich, PhD, for excellence, innovation, and enthusiasm in the field of basic veterinary science and education. Dr. Ehrich received her PhD degree in pharmacology/toxicology from the University of Connecticut. She is a professor at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. Besides teaching veterinary and graduate students, she serves in the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital pharmacy and in the Toxicology Diagnostic Laboratory. A diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology and a fellow of the Academy of Toxicological Sciences, Dr. Ehrich conducts research on the comparative neurotoxicities of antiesterase pesticides. She is a member of the National Research Council's Committee on Toxicology.

Dr. Kevin D. Pelzer (TUS '80) received the Student AVMA Teaching Excellence Award—Clinical Sciences for excellence, innovation, and enthusiasm in the field of clinical veterinary science and education. Dr. Pelzer is an associate professor and section chief of the Production Management Medicine Field Services Unit at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. His interests are public health and food animal medicine. Dr. Pelzer is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine. Since 1991, he has served as a faculty adviser for the student chapter of the AVMA at Virginia-Maryland. Dr. Pelzer has been active in continuing education and outreach to professional and lay groups.

The XII International Veterinary Congress Prize for outstanding contributions to international understanding of veterinary medicine was awarded to Dr. David M. Sherman (OSU '77). Dr. Sherman has served as country director of the Dutch Committee for Afghanistan for the past two years, implementing a United States Agency for International Development-sponsored program to establish a national network of private-sector veterinary field units in Afghanistan. He has worked and consulted in more than 20 countries for international agencies. A diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, he is known for his expertise in goat diseases.

Earlier in his career, Dr. Sherman was state veterinarian and chief of the Bureau of Animal Health in the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources. At Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, he headed the Section of International Veterinary Medicine and helped create and directed the Center for Conservation Medicine. Dr. Sherman wrote "Tending Animals in the Global Village: A Guide to International Veterinary Medicine," published in 2002.

Dr. Marguerite Pappaioanou (MSU '72) received the Karl F. Meyer—James H. Steele Gold Head Cane Award for achievements that have significantly advanced human health through the practice of veterinary epidemiology and public health. The Hartz Mountain Corp. sponsors the award. At the University of Minnesota, Dr. Pappaioanou is professor of infectious disease epidemiology in the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, with a joint appointment in the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Earlier, Dr. Pappaioanou served with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Public Health Service. During her distinguished CDC career, she conducted applied research in the control of malaria and echinoccosis. She also designed and implemented HIV/AIDS surveillance programs. Her expertise allowed her to work with ministries of health in developing countries and give direction in policy making and program management. A diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, Dr. Pappaioanou has maintained an international focus on public health and a strong interest in infectious diseases of wildlife and zoonotic diseases.