Veterinarians recognized for public service, international work

Two AVMA awards were presented on June 24 at a reception following the AVMA Global Health Summit at AVMA Convention 2024 in Austin, Texas.

Two women stand side by side smiling, one of them accepts an award
Dr. Cathy King accepts the the AVMA Global Veterinary Service Award from Dr. Rena Carlson, 2023-24 AVMA President. (Photos by R. Scott Nolen)

Dr. Cathy King accepted the AVMA Global Veterinary Service Award. The award recognizes outstanding service by an AVMA member who has contributed to international understanding of veterinary medicine.

Dr. King (Washington State ’97), is the founder and CEO of World Vets, an international veterinary nongovernmental organization that provides veterinary services in underserved areas, including direct veterinary care, disaster response services, veterinary training and education programs, and long-term capacity building. With a strong One Health focus, World Vets’ programs assist animals, people, and the communities in which they live.

Some of the organization’s accomplishments, spanning 50 countries on six continents, include the following:

  • Training more than 700 Latin American veterinarians in surgery and anesthesia techniques to improve animal welfare and managing street dog populations via the World Vets Latin America Veterinary Training Center in Nicaragua.
  • Providing the civilian veterinary component of the U.S. Navy’s civil-military humanitarian aid missions to Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Oceania.
  • Helping to protect the biodiversity of the Galapagos Islands via the World Vets’ Conservation Medicine Program on the islands, which works at the interface of wildlife populations, domestic animals, and humans.
  • Studying, protecting, and conserving marine wildlife, habitats, and ecosystems through research, education, and service via World Vets’ marine program.

In nominating Dr. King for the AVMA Global Veterinary Service Award, Dr. Saundra E. Willis, AVMA District XI director and Zoetis Reference Laboratories medical team liaison, said, “Through her work, Dr. King has advanced the veterinary profession and veterinary professionals through the perspective of global volunteerism and education.”

Dr. Tom Parker, medical director of the Espanola Animal Shelter in Espanola, New Mexico, who has known Dr. King for most of the time she has led World Vets, commented that he has “always marveled at her as one of the most ‘See it-Do it’ people I have ever known, in or out of the veterinary profession.”

Prior to founding World Vets, Dr. King served as an associate veterinarian and was financial manager at Deer Park Veterinary Clinic in Deer Park, Washington; owned Hometown Animal Hospital in Deer Park; and served as a member of the adjunct faculty at Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Two women stand side by side smiling, one of them accepts an award
Dr. Joni Scheftel receives the AVMA Public Service Award at the AVMA Global Health Summit.

In addition, Dr. Joni Scheftel received the AVMA Public Service Award, which honors an AVMA member for outstanding public service while an employee of a government agency or for education of veterinarians in public service activities.

Dr. Scheftel (Minnesota ’82) retired earlier this year as Minnesota state public health veterinarian, having also served as supervisor of the zoonotic diseases unit and as an epidemiologist in the foodborne, waterborne, vectorborne, and zoonotic diseases section of the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).

A diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, Dr. Scheftel is known for her work and expertise in the areas of veterinary antibiotic stewardship, variant influenza, control of veterinary infections, and occupational health in agricultural workers.

Dr. Scheftel is a past president of the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians (NASPHV) and the Minnesota VMA; a past chair of the Minnesota Board of Animal Health and the AVMA Committee on Antimicrobials and former AVMA Steering Committee for the Food and Drug Administration’s Policy on Veterinary Oversight of Antimicrobials; a past vice chair of the AVMA Council on Public Health; and a past member of the AVMA Animal Agriculture Liaison and Food Safety Advisory committees.

She served as the founding chair of the committee that developed the Compendium of Veterinary Standard Precautions for Zoonotic Disease Prevention in Veterinary Personnel and is a past co-chair of the United States Animal Health Association’s Committee on One Health, having served on several more of the association’s committees. Dr. Scheftel has represented the AVMA on the Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria and served on the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists’ Infectious Disease Steering Committee.