Washington State VMA – Sept. 30-Oct. 2, 2022


Pacific Northwest Veterinary Conference, Sept. 30-Oct. 2, Tacoma


Veterinarian of the Year

Dr. Murphy
Dr. Michael C. Murphy

Dr. Michael C. Murphy (Auburn ’88), Olympia. Dr. Murphy is the founder and chief pet officer of People, Pets & Vets, a veterinary services company with locations in the Western, Southern, and Southeastern regions of the United States. Earlier in his career, he served as a captain with the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps in Italy. Dr. Murphy has served on mission trips to Uganda, where he has advocated for clean water and for goat and sheep projects. He is active with the Thurston County Humane Society.

Outstanding Veterinary Service Award

Dr. Hickey
Dr. Nora Hickey

Dr. Nora Hickey (Wisconsin ’16), Olympia, won this award for her leadership in fish medicine and for improving tribal aquaculture in the state. Dr. Hickey serves as the program veterinarian for the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission in Olympia. In her role, she helps protect endangered Chinook salmon and provides veterinary care for species that further tribal food sovereignty. Dr. Hickey is the president of the American Association of Fish Veterinarians.

Washington State University Faculty Member of the Year

Dr. Ragle
Dr. Claude Ragle

Dr. Claude Ragle (Michigan State ’83), Pullman. Dr. Ragle has served as a professor of equine surgery at Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine since 1992. A diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons and American Board of Veterinary Practitioners, he has conducted advanced research on surgical techniques, especially on equine arthroscopic surgery. Dr. Ragle is a proponent of continuing education and serves as a mentor to veterinary practitioners and veterinary students.

Distinguished Veterinary Staff

Kacey Burton
Kacey Burton

Kacey Burton, Pullman. Burton is a licensed veterinary technician who works in the oncology department at the Washington State University Teaching Hospital. She is known for her skills, cheerful attitude, the love and care that she shows to her patients and clients, and for serving in her role with dignity and determination.

President’s Award

Dr. Kiefer
Dr. Michael Kiefer

The late Dr. Kimberly Coyner (Colorado State ’94), and Dr. Michael Kiefer (Washington State ’72), Olympia. Dr. Coyner was posthumously honored with this award, given in recognition of her dedication and service to the veterinary community. A diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Dermatologists, she owned Dermatology Clinic for Animals in Lacey. Dr. Coyner authored the textbook Clinical Atlas of Canine and Feline Dermatology. Dr. Kiefer owned Olympia Veterinary Hospital prior to retirement in 2017. He served as treasurer of the WSVMA for 19 years and is now the treasurer of the Thurston County Humane Society. Dr. Kiefer serves on the board of directors of a local veterinary laboratory. He was honored for his dedication to the WSVMA and to the veterinary profession.

Humane Animal Welfare Award

Mariel Small
Mariel Small

Mariel Small, Bellevue. Small is a licensed veterinary technician who works at Seattle Humane. She also volunteers for several organizations, including Pasado’s Safe Haven, Feral Cat Spay/Neuter Project, Regional Animal Services of King County, Seattle Veterinary Outreach, One Health Clinic-Seattle, Doney Coe Clinic, and Peace for the Streets by Kid from the Streets. Small was recognized for her hard work and dedication to people and their pets and her devotion to providing quality care and advocating for animal sheltering.

Allied Industry Award

Dr. Schulz
Dr. Joshua Schulz

Dr. Joshua Schulz, Olympia, and Kristen Fisher, Seattle. A 2004 veterinary graduate of the University of Queensland in Australia, Dr. Schulz is a managing professional services veterinarian for Zoetis, also working part time at Steamboat Animal Hospital in Olympia. Fisher is the area business manager for Zoetis. They were honored for their support of veterinary practitioners in Washington state via their assistance to the WSVMA in providing educational opportunities.


For the upcoming fiscal year, the association’s strategic goals will center on member, professional, organizational, and public well-being. The WSVMA will focus on assisting members with workforce issues. Work will continue on the development of diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and on addressing concerns with scope of practice, assisting members in improving practice culture and financial health, and educating the public about responsible pet ownership.


Dr. Blair de Vries, Richland, president; Dr. Eddie Haigh, Shelton, vice president; Dr. Gary Marshall, Mercer Island, secretary; Dr. Sally Thompson-Iritani, Seattle, treasurer; Dr. Jennifer Bennett, Seattle, immediate past president and director; Candace Joy, Port Ludlow, chief executive officer; and directors—Drs. Robert Mealey, Pullman, and Richard DeBowes, Pullman

A version of this article appears in the January 2023 print issue of JAVMA.