Dedicated practitioner receives AVMA Award

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Dr. R. Wayne Randolph loves all things veterinary medicine and all things organized veterinary medicine.

Dr. Randolph
Dr. R. Wayne Randolph (Courtesy of Dr. R. Wayne Randolph)

On July 14 during the keynote presentation at AVMA Convention 2018 in Denver, the dedicated practitioner of 44 years received the AVMA Award for contributions to the advancement of veterinary medicine in its organizational aspects.

Dr. Mark P. Helfat, a past chair of the AVMA Board of Directors, nominated Dr. Randolph for the award. In his nomination letter, Dr. Helfat wrote: "Over the years, I personally have witnessed Wayne's devotion to our profession in many forms and many ways—but none as pronounced as his ability to mentor, support, tutor, and encourage the younger members throughout veterinary medicine."

Growing up in small-town New Jersey, Dr. Randolph was always the boy who had all the animals, and he wanted to be a veterinarian for as far back as he can remember. He had a duck, box turtles, and pheasants at various times in addition to the family dog.

He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 1974 and developed an affinity for zoological medicine. He completed an externship at the Bronx Zoo, but after learning there were not many jobs at zoos, he went on to work in companion animal practice.

Dr. Randolph worked at three practices, one in Virginia and two in New Jersey, and he consulted pro bono at a small zoo in New Jersey. He treated wildlife in practice and, times being different, wild animals that people kept as pets.

In 1980, he opened his solo practice, Countryside Veterinary Hospital in Flemington, New Jersey, where he continues to work to this day. He hired an associate veterinarian a couple of times, but he decided he likes operating a single-doctor practice. His wife helps run the practice.

"I'm so lucky. I hope future veterinarians are as fortunate as we've been," Dr. Randolph said. "I really love what I do. It sounds corny, but it's my hobby and my work at the same time."

Dr. Randolph also loves to learn. He read a lot as a young veterinarian, but few opportunities for continuing education existed in New Jersey when he graduated from veterinary school in 1974. He went to veterinary conferences, and he got involved.

The Metropolitan New Jersey VMA asked him to be a program chairman, and he served for eight years. That organization held a meeting every month, and he later became its president. Then he got involved with the New Jersey VMA, for which he has been continuing education chair for the past 17 years, along with serving as president.

Dr. Randolph passed the first examination of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners to become a diplomate in 1981. Dr. Robert Kirk of "Kirk's Current Veterinary Therapy" asked Dr. Randolph to become the first regent in Canine and Feline Practice. Dr. Randolph spent countless Sundays meeting with others at the Animal Medical Center in New York City to help get the ABVP on its feet.

Countryside Veterinary Hospital earned accreditation from the American Animal Hospital Association in 1983, and Dr. Randolph also has participated in planning continuing education with AAHA.

He always has enjoyed organized veterinary medicine. Dr. Randolph said, "It was just so much fun to work with other veterinarians to see where we were going."

When he talks with young veterinarians, he recommends they get involved. He said, "You meet all kinds of neat people, you learn all different sorts of things, and you give back."

In 2001, he became a distinguished practitioner and fellow of the National Academies of Practice.

Through the years, Dr. Randolph has had various other adventures, particularly relating to his love of the outdoors and animals. He was a sled dog veterinarian for two races in Minnesota and the Iditarod in Alaska. He vividly recalls a near encounter during a fishing trip in Alaska when a large male grizzly bear tussled with a female who had two cubs.

Back at home, Dr. Randolph and his wife think they'll run the practice for another five years. He'd like to sell to a younger veterinarian and work for him or her. He still loves what he does and can't imagine not doing it. He concluded, "The profession has given me so much."