(SCHAUMBURG, Illinois) May 3, 2021—The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) today honored Dr. Jason Coe, professor in the Department of Population Medicine at University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College and a leading expert in veterinary clinical communications, as the recipient of the 2021 Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award.
Named for the late Dr. Leo K. Bustad, former president of the Delta Society and dean of the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, the award is one of veterinary medicine’s highest honors, recognizing the outstanding work of veterinarians in protecting and promoting the human-animal bond. It is one of three AVMA Animal Welfare and Human Animal Bond Excellence Awards presented annually during National Pet Week, supported through educational funding from Merck Animal Health.
“It is an unexpected and genuine honor to be acknowledged with this award” said Dr. Coe. “Dr. Bustad was a forward-thinking leader for our profession. I became aware of Dr. Bustad very early in my career because of my interest for the human-animal bond and I feel privileged to be associated with him through this award. It has been my own personal experiences and relationships with animals that have driven much of what I do and, as for many people, these relationships have been essential this past year.
“Although many challenges have arisen this past year, veterinary practices and their teams have shown great resilience, rising above the challenges to provide enduring support for people and animals. I feel privileged to be a part of the veterinary profession and to be in a position to help the profession continue to make the world a better place for people and animals.”
Dr. Coe received his doctor of veterinary medicine degree from the University of Guelph in 2001, as well as a PhD in veterinary communications in 2008. That year, he joined the university as a faculty member in the Department of Population Medicine, where he has established an active research program examining human-animal relationships as well as the role of interpersonal communications on the outcomes of veterinary care. In his current role as professor, he coordinates the veterinary program’s clinical-communication curriculum, teaches students about the relationships that exist between people and animals, and prepares future veterinarians to effectively support and communicate the value of the human-animal bond.
Through his research, Dr. Coe has made significant contributions to enhancing animal welfare and behavior, promoting adoption, and preventing surrender and relinquishment, specifically investigating urban cat issues, puppy socialization, dog walking, dog fear and aggression, and rabbit care. Another area of study is dietary conversations to manage canine and feline obesity. These investigations contribute to the human-animal bond by ensuring that pets stay in their homes after successful adoption and acclimation and live long and enriching lives in loving homes.
Dr. Coe’s research has also examined how veterinarians provide client support after companion animal euthanasia and client experiences of uncertainty during pet illness. In several studies, he identified client expectations of veterinarian communication, information exchange, and cost discussions, and described factors that promoted client adherence to dental and surgery recommendations. These highly cited publications were groundbreaking in aligning veterinarian communication with client expectations, enhancing client adherence to veterinarian recommendations, promoting patient health and preserving the human-animal relationship.
Dr. Coe was also instrumental in cofounding and leading the American Association of Veterinary Medical College’s Primary Care Veterinary Educators group, which, since its founding in 2010, has developed into a leading international organization whose mission is to enhance primary care programs at colleges of veterinary medicine and to develop exceptional primary care educators to prepare career-ready veterinarians.
Most recently, Dr. Coe has received a five-year research chair to examine and support relationship-centered veterinary medicine. This new position will foster research and teaching in communication and relationship-building to improve the health of companion animals. In this role, Dr. Coe will develop new practice models for more sustainable business operations and enhanced mental health and well-being for veterinary teams.
For more information, contact Michael San Filippo, media relations manager, at 847-732-6194 (cell) or msanfilippoavma [dot] org.
About the AVMA
Serving more than 100,000 member veterinarians, the AVMA is the nation's leading representative of the veterinary profession, dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of animals, humans and the environment. Founded in 1863 and with members in every U.S. state and territory and more than 60 countries, the AVMA is one of the largest veterinary medical organizations in the world. Informed by our members' unique scientific training and clinical knowledge, the AVMA supports the crucial work of veterinarians and advocates for policies that advance the practice of veterinary medicine and improve animal and human health.