Oquendo Center debuts at Western Veterinary Conference

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The 81st annual Western Veterinary Conference, held in Las Vegas, Feb. 15-19, welcomed more than 13,000 veterinarians, veterinary technicians, practice managers, and others associated with the profession.

Attendees were offered diverse opportunities for continuing education, hands-on learning, contact with commercial exhibitors, and celebrity performances.

The conference highlight was the grand opening of the new Oquendo Center for Clinical Education. More than 300 guests participated in the evening's festivities, which included tours of the facility and a short program honoring those most closely involved in planning and construction efforts.

Opening of the Oquendo Center for Clinical Education
AVMA President James O. Cook (center) and 2008-2009 WVC President Ann L. Johnson officiate at the opening of the Oquendo Center for Clinical Education.

The Oquendo Center is the first permanent home of the Clinical Proficiency Examination. The CPE is the fourth and final step of the Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates certification program, which allows foreign-trained individuals the opportunity to obtain a license to practice veterinary medicine in the United States.

The grand opening began with Dr. Ann L. Johnson, then WVC president, presenting a Special Recognition Award to Dr. Ron D. Anderson of Reno, Nev. A Distinguished Service Award was presented to Dr. Randy G. Ezell of Henderson, Nev.

More than 55 hands-on labs were held at the Oquendo Center throughout the week on topics ranging from small animal to bovine medicine. WVA chief executive officer, Dr. Guy L. Pidgeon, said the center was conceived and equipped to "enrich the conference's lab experience, which it clearly has done," and to enable the WVC to offer interactive educational programming throughout the year.

The WVC 2009-2010 officers and board of directors are as follows: Drs. Robert A. Smith, Stillwater, Okla., president; Cindy L. Sprigg, Cape Girardeau, Mo., president-elect; James E. Creed, Columbia, Mo., vice president; James F. Peddie, Ventura, Calif., secretary-treasurer; and Ann L. Johnson, Sidney, Ill., immediate past president.