Dr. Craig N. Carter named recipient of 2024 AVMA Meritorious Service Award

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(SCHAUMBURG, Illinois) June 12, 2024—The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) today named Dr. Craig N. Carter, professor of epidemiology at the University of Kentucky, as the winner of the 2024 AVMA Meritorious Service Award for his decades of distinguished service to the veterinary profession.

Established in 2001, 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. The AVMA Board of Directors selects the recipient.

"As a clinician, researcher, academician, and active and reserve military officer, Dr. Carter exemplifies the very best of our profession,” said Dr. Rena Carlson, president of the AVMA. “One of his nominators described him as a ‘Renaissance man’ and I could not agree more. Our entire profession and our nation have benefited from his tireless and distinguished scholarship and service, including his strong support of One Health.”

“It is humbling beyond belief to receive this honor as a member of our diverse profession which makes so many contributions to advance animal health and human health, in the spirit of One Health, every day,” said Dr. Carter. “I proudly accept this on behalf of the outstanding AVMA leadership and my many remarkable mentors, co-workers and brilliant students who will help build a promising future for all natural life.”

Dr. Carter holds four degrees from Texas A&M University: BS in Biomedical/Computer Sciences, DVM, MS in Epidemiology, and PhD in Veterinary Public Health, and is a Diplomate in the American College of Veterinary Preventative Medicine (1985-present).

A small sampling of Dr. Carter’s career milestones: After receiving his DVM, he opened a solo ambulatory all-species practice to serve the Brazos Valley region of Texas while also volunteering with the Brazos Animal Shelter and serving on its Board of Directors.

Following completion of his MS in 1985, he was appointed the first head of the new Epidemiology & Informatics section for Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory.

From 2007-2022, he served as director of the University of Kentucky Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, where he oversaw laboratory operations providing diagnostic services for more than 3,000 hospitals and clinics and state and federal agencies in Kentucky and across the United States.

Dr. Carter has been the president of several organizations, including the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians, the American Veterinary Epidemiology Society (now known as the American Veterinary One Health Society), the American Veterinary Computer Society (now the International Association for Veterinary Informatics), and the American Academy of Disaster Veterinary Medicine. He was executive director of the World Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians from 2001-2017. Dr. Carter’s many honors include the 2020 American Veterinary One Health Society Award for Service.

Dr. Carter also served for more than 40 years in the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army in both active and reserve duty, including four wartime deployments in Vietnam, Operation Desert Shield, Afghanistan and Iraq. After the 9/11 attacks, he commanded the first U.S. Army Reserve Veterinary Corps unit into Afghanistan. Upon returning home, he served as Chair of the Brazos Valley Veterans Memorial project, which was dedicated by President George H. W. Bush on Nov. 10, 2002.  He retired in 2009 from the U.S. Army Reserves as a full Colonel.

As a scholar and researcher, he has authored approximately 150 publications, earned more than $12 million in grant funding, and has been invited to present at scores of national and international gatherings. He is especially proud to have written the biography of veterinarian James H. Steele (assisted by Cynthia Hoobler, DVM), who established the first public health section within the AVMA in 1946 and stood-up the Veterinary Division of the CDC in 1947.

To learn more about the AVMA Meritorious Service Award and past recipients, visit www.avma.org/awards.

About the AVMA

Serving more than 105,000 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.