Meritorious Service Award goes to Carter

Updated July 2, 2024

Dr. Craig Carter
Dr. Craig Carter

The AVMA presented the AVMA Meritorious Service Award to Dr. Craig Carter June 22 during the keynote for AVMA Convention 2024 in Austin, Texas. He is a professor of epidemiology at the University of Kentucky’s College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment, with a joint appointment at the College of Public Health. Dr. Carter also directs the university’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.

The award recognizes a veterinarian who has brought honor and distinction to the profession through personal, professional or community service activities that are conducted outside the scope of organized veterinary medicine or research. 

Dr. Carter earned his veterinary degree in 1981, master’s in epidemiology in 1985, and PhD in veterinary public health in 1993 from Texas A&M University. He is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine (ACVPM).

Dr. Carter spent the first few years of his career running a large animal ambulatory practice in the Brazos Valley region of Texas. He then joined the Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL) as a clinical associate where he oversaw the development of the first comprehensive laboratory information management system (LIMS).

In 1985, he established the Department of Epidemiology and Informatics at the TVMDL and went on to further develop and implement electronic diagnostic clinical reporting, accounting, and epidemiology.

“This early work helped to give birth to the field of diagnostic epidemiology, which is now commonly utilized at veterinary diagnostic laboratories around the world,” former AVMA Presidents Ted Cohn and John de Jong wrote in their nomination letter. “He also led the development of a novel application called Associate to assist veterinarians in building ‘diseases to consider’ lists for difficult clinical cases encountered in their veterinary practice.”

After Kentucky experienced the devastating mare reproductive loss syndrome (MRLS), killing hundreds of foals and causing thousands of spontaneous abortions from 2001-02, Dr. Carter was recruited to the University of Kentucky to establish an epidemiology unit at the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in the Department of Veterinary Science. In 2007, he was appointed as director of Kentucky’s diagnostic laboratory.

Dr. Carter has served as the president of several organizations, including the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians; the American Veterinary One Health Society, formerly the American Veterinary Epidemiology Society (AVES); the International Association for Veterinary Informatics, formerly the American Veterinary Computer Society; and the American Academy of Disaster Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Carter also held the position of executive director of the World Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians from 2000-17.

He is active internationally, having consulted in or been deployed to over 35 countries. His military career in the Air Force and Army spanned four decades. Dr. Carter commanded the first Army Reserve Veterinary unit into Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks, receiving the Bronze Star. He retired as a full colonel in 2009.

He was awarded the AVMA XIIth International Veterinary Congress Prize in 2016, the AAVLD E. P. Pope Award in 2018, and the Inaugural Allen W. Hahn Lifetime Achievement Award in Veterinary Informatics in 2019 from the Association for Veterinary Informatics.

Dr. Craig Carter accepts the AVMA Meritorious Service Award in a prerecorded video that played before the AVMA Keynote on June 22 at AVMA Convention 2024 in Austin, Texas. He thanks his mentors and the many other people who have helped him in his career. (Video by Matt Zingale)