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February 15, 2020

Washington State VMA

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Pacific Northwest Veterinary Conference, Sept. 27-29, 2019, Tacoma

Dr. Wilford
Dr. Christine Wilford
Dr. Slinker
Dr. Bryan K. Slinker
Dr. Cary
Dr. Julie Cary
Dr. Keegan
Dr. Robert Keegan


Ms. Russell
Lethea Russell
Mr. Hanson
Jess Hanson
Mr. Jones
Jay Jones


Veterinarian of the Year
Dr. Christine Wilford (Texas A&M ’87), Mercer Island. Dr. Wilford serves as an associate veterinarian at Island Cats Veterinary Hospital on Mercer Island and is the founder of the nonprofit Feral Cat Spay/Neuter Project, based in Lynnwood. She was a two-term past president of the former Puget Sound VMA and served as chair of its Continuing Education Committee.

Distinguished Achievement Award
Dr. Bryan K. Slinker (Washington State ’80), Pullman. Dean of the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine from 2009-19, Dr. Slinker is interim provost for the university. Prior to serving as dean, he was chair of the veterinary college’s former Department of Veterinary and Comparative Anatomy, Pharmacology, and Physiology, now known as the Department of Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience. Earlier in his career, Dr. Slinker was an assistant professor in the cardiology unit in the Department of Medicine at the University of Vermont.

Washington State University Faculty Member of the Year
The Clinical Simulation Center team at the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine, led by Dr. Julie Cary (Colorado State ’99), Dr. Robert Keegan (Washington State ’84), and Lethea Russell. The Clinical Simulation Center offers experiential learning and simulation training in clinical communication, basic surgical skills, anesthesia and critical care activities, and ultrasound and endoscopy diagnostic skills. Dr. Cary is a clinical associate professor and director of the Clinical Communication Program and Clinical Simulation Center. Dr. Keegan has been a member of the faculty since 1988 and helped develop WholeLogic, a computer-based simulation training program. Russell, a licensed veterinary technician, serves as coordinator of the center.

Distinguished Veterinary Staff Award
Jess Hanson, Olympia. A licensed veterinary technician, Hanson is the lead veterinary technician, safety officer, and facilities manager at Olympia Veterinary Specialists: The Cancer Center. He was recognized for his animal handling and technical skills, compassionate and educational interactions with clients and staff, and high level of staff leadership.

Allied Industry Partner Award
Jay Jones, Kent, won this award, given for exceptional service to the veterinary profession or the WSVMA. Jones works for Hill’s Pet Nutrition Inc. in Kent. He was recognized for his quiet yet dedicated and faithful service to Washington state veterinarians and their patients.

Humane-Animal Welfare Award
Staff members of the Feral Cat Spay/Neuter Project for advancing animal welfare through extraordinary service. The project is a free-standing clinic dedicated to providing free spay/neuter surgery for free-roaming cats in a safe, high-quality, and humane environment.


For 2019-20, the goals for the association’s strategic plan will include launching a new partnership with the American Veterinary Medical Foundation’s Veterinary Care Charitable Fund to help veterinarians provide care for the pets of those facing hardship, developing new initiatives to support veterinary and veterinary team well-being, providing support for veterinary technicians, and developing diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Dr. Marshall
Dr. Gary Marshall
Dr. Koenig
Dr. Jennifer Koenig


Dr. Gary Marshall, Mercer Island, president; Dr. Jennifer Koenig, Snohomish, vice president; Dr. Jennifer Bennett, Seattle, secretary; Dr. Michael Kiefer, Olympia, treasurer; Dr. Jean Gulbransen, Duvall, immediate past president and director; Candace Joy, Snowqualmie, chief executive officer; directors—Drs. Richard DeBowes, Pullman, and Lindsey Hornickel, Bellevue; and AVMA delegate and alternate delegate—Drs. Saundra Willis, Tacoma, and Diana Thomé, Richland