Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award

Nomination Form—Deadline: March 3, 2014

View Brochure (PDF)

Named for the late Leo K. Bustad, DVM, PhD, a former dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University and a past president of the Pet Partners (formerly Delta Society), this award was developed to recognize the outstanding work of veterinarians in preserving and protecting human-animal relationships. The Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award is co-sponsored by the AVMA, Pet Partners and Hill's Pet Nutrition, Inc.

The award consists of a physical award and a $5,000 grant to the veterinary school or not-for-profit service program of the winner’s choice, and in the winner’s name, to further work on the human-animal bond. Also included is up to $5,000 in travel reimbursements (for family travel to the presentation ceremony and/or approved human-animal bond speaking engagements for 12 months following receipt of the award). Deadline for nominations is March 3, 2014.

Award Criteria

Bustad nominees must be graduate veterinarians, AVMA members, and have demonstrable accomplishments in at least one of the following areas:

Practice—Been active for at least 5 years in practice and have exhibited a special sensitivity to the human-companion animal bond through documented work with various types of clients (including children, the elderly, people with disabilities, those grieving the loss of a pet, or other at-risk populations).

Community Service—Has assumed a leadership role for at least 3 years in human-companion animal interactive programs that serve the community. Examples include visiting, therapy, or resident animal programs in healthcare facilities; special population programs such as those for people with disabilities, prisoners, or children; and school or community-based programs that educate the public about the human-companion animal bond.

Teaching—For 3 years or more has actively incorporated the study of human-animal interactions into veterinary curricula and/or continuing education, as evidenced by continuous development of courses focused on increased sensitivity to human-companion animal bond issues.

Research—For 3 years or more has actively participated in research, including scholarly publication, which increases understanding of human-companion animal interactions, with applicability to veterinary medicine.

Anyone 18 years or older may nominate an eligible veterinarian by completing the nomination form (PDF) and returning the form and appropriate supporting materials (as described below) by March 1, 2014 to Bustad Award Committee, AVMA Animal Welfare Division, 1931 North Meacham Rd, Suite 100, Schaumburg, IL 60173-4360.

Supporting Materials

The following must be included with the completed nomination form: 
  1. A detailed letter of nomination (not to exceed 3 or single-sided typed pages), which describes how the veterinarian has met the award criteria. The impact he/she has made in increasing understanding of the importance of the human-companion animal bond by veterinarians and/or the public should be clearly conveyed.
  2. Letters of support containing relevant information on the nominee's qualifications for the award:
    • At least one, but no more than 3 letters (not to exceed 2 single-sided typed pages each) from the nominee's veterinary colleagues and/or local veterinary associations.
    • At least one, but no more than 5 letters (not to exceed 2 single-sided typed pages each) from clients, staff, members of the community, and/or representatives of relevant institutions.
    • A copy of the nominee's resume or curriculum vitae (not to exceed 2 double-sided typed pages).
    • Two color photographs (at least 3" x 5") or a digital image of the nominee, which are suitable for publication.

Selection Process

The recipient will be chosen by a panel of six judges: three each from the AVMA and the Pet Partners.

Direct questions regarding this award to Kathy Sikora, Animal Welfare Division, ext 6635.


2013 Benjamin Hart, DVM, California
2012 Thomas Cantanzaro, DVM, Australia
2011 Nancy Kay, DVM, California
2010 Ken Gorczyca, DVM, California
2009 Brian Forsgren, DVM, Ohio
2008 Jane Shaw, DVM, Colorado
2007 Samuel Costello, DVM, Ohio
2006 Richard Meadows, DVM, DABVP, Missouri
2005 Marie Suthers-McCabe, DVM, Virginia
2004 Kathy Mitchener, DVM, Tennessee
2003 Brenda Griffin, DVM, MS, DACVIM, Alabama