In Memory: Bishop prioritized advocacy for veterinary medicine

Updated January 16, 2024

Dr. George W. Bishop
Dr. George W. Bishop

Dr. George W. Bishop, a companion animal practitioner from California who was a member of the AVMA House of Delegates (HOD) and AVMA Board of Directors (BOD) for more than two decades, died January 7. He was 83.

AVMA President Dr. Rena Carlson said Dr. Bishop’s dedication to the AVMA and the veterinary profession as whole is unparalleled. “George was a thoughtful and quiet leader, an inspiration and true example of a servant leader to so many over the years. His presence will be missed,” she said.

Dr. Libby Todd, Alabama delegate in the HOD and chair of the AVMA House Advisory Committee, described her colleague as having served the veterinary medical profession tirelessly and with a focus on servant leadership.

“Dr. Bishop distinguished himself as a leader through years of dedicated service and his passion for improving the future of his profession,” she said. “As a leader in organized veterinary medicine, he enriched the lives of so many veterinarians who will carry his legacy into the future.”

After receiving his veterinary degree in 1965 from The Ohio State University, Dr. Bishop served in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps. He opened the Animal Hospital at the Crossroads in 1969 in Carmel, California.

Dr. Bishop represented California in the HOD from 1997-2015, first as alternate delegate then delegate. In an interview with JAVMA News, Dr. Bishop traced his love of organized veterinary medicine to his time as president of the student chapter of the AVMA at the university.

He served on the AVMA Board from 2015-21 as the District X representative. At the time of his election, Dr. Bishop told JAVMA News, “Accountability, responsibility, and fiscal stability are paramount to maintaining the AVMA’s credibility, value, and role in the future of the veterinary profession and its service to the membership.”

He also highlighted his “major interest” in being involved in AVMA advocacy on behalf of veterinary medicine and AVMA members.

Dr. Bishop’s decades-long participation in the AVMA was marked by leadership roles on several AVMA entities. These include chair of the Board, HAC, Political Action Committee, and Legislative Advisory Committee as well as director and treasurer of the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF).

Moreover, Dr. Bishop served on the AVMA-AVMF Budget Financial Review Committee and AVMA-National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America Committee. He was the BOD liaison to the Animal Welfare Committee and Steering Committee on Human-Animal Interactions.

His advocacy on behalf of the veterinary profession and the AVMA resulted in Dr. Bishop receiving the AVMA Advocacy Award in 2015.

His participation in organized veterinary was not limited to the AVMA. Starting in 1990, he served on the California VMA (CVMA) board of directors in a variety of positions, including as president from 1994-95 and as chair of the association’s political action and finance committees—the latter for at least 20 years. He also served as a key member its Dental Legislative Task Force.

In 1999, Dr. Bishop became the first nonfaculty veterinarian to serve on the admissions committee of the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, a position he held until 2001.

“Dr. George Bishop was a pillar in the veterinary association community, having served in just about every imaginable position on the local, state, and national level,” said Dan Baxter, CVMA executive director. “He was a tireless advocate for the veterinary profession, as well as a much-beloved clinician at his longtime practice in Carmel, California, where he worked right up until the end.

Baxter continued: “Dr. Bishop leaves a void that will be difficult to fill, and he will be missed dearly by all who knew him.”

The 2024-25 AVMA congressional fellowship will be named in his honor. In addition, the AVMA Political Action Committee (AVMA PAC) board voted to change its Russell Anthony Impact Award to the George Bishop PAC Award.

A version of this story appears in the March 2024 print issue of JAVMA