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Thursday, 20 December, 2018

AAVMC Announces 2019 Professional Excellence Award Honorees

Washington, D.C., December 20, 2018  – The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) has announced the recipients of six awards that recognize professional excellence, achievement and service in academic veterinary medicine. The awards will be officially presented during the AAVMC's 2019 Annual Conference and Iverson Bell Symposium, which will be held March 8-10, 2019 at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

"The AAVMC is proud to recognize these outstanding educators and researchers,” said AAVMC Chief Executive Officer Dr. Andrew T. Maccabe. “Their commitment to professional excellence and service is elevating academic veterinary medicine and inspiring others throughout our profession. We look forward to publicly honoring them for their achievements during our 2019 annual conference.”
The awardees are:

  • Dr. Gayle B. Brown, a senior lecturer at the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, is the recipient of the 2018 AAVMC Distinguished Teacher Award, presented by Zoetis.
  • Dr. Guy Palmer from the Washington State University (WSU) College of Veterinary Medicine is the recipient of the 2019 AAVMC Excellence in Research Award.
  • Dr.  Gerald W. Parker, Jr. from the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences is the recipient of the 2019 Senator John Melcher, DVM Leadership in Public Policy Award.
  • Dr. Kenita S. Rogers from the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences is the recipient of the 2019 Iverson Bell Award.
  • Dr. Elizabeth Strand from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine is the recipient of the 2019 AAVMC Billy E. Hooper Award for Distinguished Service.
The AAVMC also recognizes a promising student during the biennial Iverson Bell Symposium, the oldest symposium devoted to promoting diversity and inclusion in academic veterinary medicine. This year, the Patricia M. Lowrie Diversity Leadership Scholarship has been awarded to India Napier, a class of 2020 veterinary medical student at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.

The AAVMC Distinguished Teacher Award, presented by Zoetis, is considered one of the most prestigious teaching awards in international academic veterinary medicine. It recognizes excellence in professional veterinary medical education and is presented to an educator whose sustained record of teaching excellence and ability, dedication, character and leadership has contributed significantly to the advancement of the profession.

Dr. Brown teaches classes that include microbiology, immunology and emerging and exotic diseases. She has been a veterinary specialist at Iowa State’s Center for Food Security and Public Health since 2002, where she is responsible for the ground-breaking Exotic Diseases of Animals/Initial Accreditation Training (EEDA/IAT) course. That course is used in some form by all veterinary medical colleges in the United States. She believes in using evidence-based teaching approaches to help students invest in basic science education and love learning, even when tackling challenging courses.   

The AAVMC Excellence in Research Award designates the outstanding veterinary medical researcher of the year, as selected by a committee of peers. The AAVMC Board of Directors established the annual research award in 2010 to recognize outstanding research and scholarly achievements in the field of veterinary medicine. It recognizes an individual who, over the course of his or her career, has demonstrated excellence in original research, leadership in the scientific community, and mentoring of trainees and colleagues in any discipline of veterinary medicine.

Dr. Palmer is WSU’s Regents Professor of Pathology and Infectious Diseases and the Jan and Jack Creighton Endowed Chair in Global Health. His research has led to discoveries related to pathogen emergence and diagnostic testing, including insight into how pathogens evade the immune system. His work aims to reduce livestock diseases, improve food security, eradicate rabies, and control influenza outbreaks using a One Health approach.  

He is the founding director of WSU’s Paul G. Allen School for Global Health and leads global health programs in Africa and Central America. He directed the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Training Program in Infectious Diseases from 2003-2018 and currently holds a NIH MERIT award for research on pathogen emergence. He holds a joint appointment at the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology and directs the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-supported Integrated PhD Program between WSU and the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology.

Dr. Palmer was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2006. He serves on the Board on Global Health at the National Academies and chairs the Global Health, Infectious Diseases and Microbiology Group in the Institute of Medicine.

The Senator John Melcher, DVM Leadership in Public Policy Award, established in 2007, is presented to current or former faculty, staff, or students at an AAVMC member institution to recognize leadership in public policy that advances veterinary medical education and success in advocating for veterinary medical education on a national or international scale.

Dr. Parker is Texas A&M’s campus director for Global One Health and associate dean for Global One Health at the veterinary college. Dr. Parker has had a long and distinguished career of service to veterinary medicine, the U.S. military, and the U.S. government. He has become an essential resource and well-respected leader in Washington, D.C. on matters pertaining to biodefense, high consequence emerging infectious diseases, global health security, and all-hazards public health and medical preparedness.

As a nominee of the NIH, Dr. Parker was recently asked to serve on the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB). Soon afterwards, he was asked by the NIH NSABB Executive Secretariat to serve as its chair. The NSABB is an external advisory board for the Director of the NIH, Secretary of Health and Human Services and the U.S. government inter-agency on biosecurity policy matters affecting the scientific community and national security.

The Iverson Bell Award is presented biennially in recognition of outstanding leadership and contributions in promoting opportunities for under-represented minorities in veterinary medical education.

Dr. Rogers’ accomplishments include developing memoranda of agreements (MOAs) with four Texas A&M University System schools for pipeline recruitment, including one historically black university and two Hispanic-serving institutions. She has infused the school’s curriculum with multiple diversity initiatives, including a mandatory class on cultural competency for second-year students and adding diversity awareness and cultural competency as required core competencies at the college. Her efforts also led to the veterinary college being awarded the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award for Diversity in Health Professions.

The AAVMC Billy E. Hooper Award for Distinguished Service is presented by the AAVMC to an individual whose leadership and vision has made a significant contribution to academic veterinary medicine and the veterinary profession.

Dr. Strand is an associate professor in the University of Tennessee's Department of Biomedical and Diagnostic Sciences and the founding director of the Veterinary Social Work (VSW) program. Through Dr. Strand’s leadership and vision, VSW is the first program in the United States to define veterinary social work as a sub-specialty, based on both scholarly literature and first-hand experience of the human needs that exist in animal-related settings. In 2010, she introduced a new VSW Certificate Program for students enrolled in the UT Social Work graduate program. Her curriculum provides students with a comprehensive foundation in veterinary social work focusing on the knowledge and skills needed to integrate animals into social work practice in ethically sound ways and in keeping with the values of the social work profession. She also teaches UT’s veterinary teams how to manage compassion fatigue and stress and recently launched S.A.V.E. (Suicide Awareness in Veterinary Education) to educate veterinary professionals and students about mental health issues and to raise awareness about available resources.

India Napier, the Patricia M. Lowrie Diversity Leadership Scholarship awardee, is involved in many leadership activities, including service as co-president for the class of 2020 and working to build a cohesive, collaborative environment for her classmates. She is the student chair of the Tufts Veterinary Council on Diversity and is dedicated to increasing minority student applicant numbers through direct outreach. She was also instrumental in facilitating Tufts’ participation in the This is How We ‘Role’ outreach program, which is designed to teach veterinary medicine-based lessons to young children from underrepresented groups and encourage them to pursue veterinary medicine as a profession.

The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) is a nonprofit membership organization working to protect and improve the health and welfare of animals, people and the environment around the world by advancing academic veterinary medicine. Members include 49 accredited veterinary medical colleges in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Mexico.

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AAVMC MEDIA CONTACTS:                                                                                             
Jeff Douglas or Jeanne Johnson                                                                                       
Phone:  202/371-9195, x144                                                                                           
Email: or     

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