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September 15, 2021

Association recognizes recipients of AVMA Excellence Awards 2021

Individuals recognized for contributions related to veterinary medicine
Published on August 25, 2021

During AVMA Virtual Convention 2021, July 29-Aug. 1, a number of individuals received AVMA Excellence Awards for their contributions in the areas of the human-animal bond, animal welfare, governmental advocacy, international veterinary medicine, and public service. Following are some key achievements of the award recipients.

Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award

Dr. Coe
Dr. Jason Coe

Dr. Jason Coe
Dr. Coe (Guelph ’01) is a professor in the Department of Population Medicine at the University of Guelph Ontario Veterinary College. After earning his veterinary degree there, he went into mixed animal practice. He returned to the veterinary college to complete a doctorate in veterinary communications in 2008. That year, he joined the Department of Population Medicine, where he has established a research program examining the human-animal bond and the role of interpersonal communication in the outcomes of veterinary care. He has established an international reputation for his leadership in veterinary communications, education in veterinary primary care, and understanding the human-animal bond.

AVMA Animal Welfare Award

Dr. Boehm
Dr. Jeff Boehm

Dr. Jeff Boehm
Dr. Boehm (California-Davis ’90) traces his career path back to a volunteer position he held at The Marine Mammal Center based in Sausalito, California, as a young adult. The center is the world’s largest hospital for marine mammals, rescuing animals in California and Hawaii. Dr. Boehm returned to the center as executive director in 2008 and has since expanded the organization’s efforts to advance global ocean conservation. Previously, he served as senior vice president of animal health and conservation science at the John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. He is a diplomate and founding member of the American College of Animal Welfare and served as its 2019-20 president.

AVMA Humane Award

Valerie Fenstermaker
Valerie Fenstermaker

Valerie Fenstermaker
Fenstermaker worked for the California VMA for more than 30 years. She served as the CVMA executive director for 16 years, until her retirement in late 2020. With the CVMA, she worked on more than 1,000 legislative bills affecting the veterinary profession and the well-being of animals, including legislation on scope of practice, judicious use of antimicrobials, and veterinary compounding. She worked to defeat a proposed sales tax on veterinary services. She oversaw the California Veterinary Medical Reserve Corps, which is the CVMA’s disaster response program, and managed the California Veterinary Medical Foundation. She continues to work with the CVMA as a consultant for Veterinary Insurance Services Co.

AVMA Advocacy Award

Sen. Smith
Sen. Tina Smith

Tina Smith
Sen. Smith sits on two U.S. Senate committees that oversee many of the issues important to veterinary medicine: The Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions and the Committee on Agriculture. She has supported using a one-health approach to improve public health preparedness. She was one of two U.S. senators who introduced the Advancing Emergency Preparedness Through One Health Act (S 861/HR 2061). She has been a co-sponsor of the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act and the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act, and she is supportive of legislation addressing chronic wasting disease. She also is active on legislation important to animal agriculture.

AVMA Global Veterinary Service Award

Dr. Mazet
Dr. Jonna Mazet

Dr. Jonna Mazet
Dr. Mazet (California-Davis ’92) is vice provost for grand challenges at the University of California-Davis. She is a professor of epidemiology and disease ecology and founding executive director of the One Health Institute at the UC-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, where she has focused on global health problem-solving, especially for emerging infectious diseases and conservation challenges. She is active in international one-health education, service, and research, notably in relation to disease transmission and ecological drivers of new diseases. Over the past decade, she was global director of Predict, a project to provide early warning of viral emergence, within the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Emerging Pandemic Threats program.

AVMA Public Service Award

Dr. Nichols
Dr. Megin Nichols

Dr. Megin Nichols
Dr. Nichols (Colorado State ’08) has served as the Enteric Zoonoses Activity lead at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since 2015. She works with state and federal partners on multistate outbreaks of Salmonella and Escherichia coli infections resulting from exposure to animals and pet products. In 2020, Dr. Nichols led a CDC working group to design and implement testing strategies during COVID-19 outbreaks among workers at meat processing plants. She leads organizing efforts for Veterinary Student Day at the CDC. Before joining the CDC, she worked at the New Mexico Department of Health. She is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine.