Washington, D.C., February 1, 2016
| Dr. Phillip Nelson
– The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) has named Dr. Phillip Nelson, dean and professor of immunology at the Western University of Health Sciences College of Veterinary Medicine in Pomona, California as the recipient of the 2016 Senator John Melcher, DVM Leadership in Public Policy Award.
The 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.
"The AAVMC is always pleased to recognize outstanding educators in academic veterinary medicine," said AAVMC Executive Director Dr. Andrew Maccabe. "These are extraordinary people who exemplify excellence and inspire others through their commitment and visionary dedication to academic veterinary medicine.”
Dr. Nelson has been very active in the AAVMC’s advocacy efforts, serving on numerous committees, including the Advocacy Committee. Through the AAVMC, he has participated in “Hill” visits for more than two decades, developing relationships with governmental decision-makers and lobbying Congress to address pressing issues such as the Veterinary Medical Student Loan Repayment Program.
Dr. Nelson has played a leadership role and also spoken and published widely on diversity issues within the veterinary profession and veterinary medical education. For several years, he served as chair of the AAVMC’s Multicultural Affairs Committee and also as program chair for the association’s Iverson Bell Symposium, which promotes diversity in academic veterinary medicine.
As dean, he has played an integral role in promoting the college’s joint Public Health Master’s Degree with the University of Minnesota, and he has worked with other senior university administrators to implement a novel university-wide, inter-professional education program (IPE) that promotes the important role of the veterinary profession in public health and One Health, a holistic approach to health and wellness that integrates veterinary medicine with the other health professions.
Dr. Nelson served as acting head of the Department of Small Animal Medicine, Surgery, and Radiology at the Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine before serving as associate dean of Mississippi State University’s (MSU’s) College of Veterinary Medicine for more than 10 years. At Western, he served as executive associate dean for the college’s pre-clinical programs prior to becoming dean in 2007.
At Tuskegee University, he received the prestigious "Norden Distinguished Teacher" award and, at MSU, he received the "Pegasus Award for Distinguished Clinical Instruction.”
He earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from Jackson State University, his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from the Tuskegee Institute, and a doctorate in veterinary sciences, with an emphasis in immunology, from North Carolina State University.
His award will officially be presented at the AAVMC's 2016 Annual Conference, March 4-6, 2016, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C., where he will also address attendees. This year’s conference, themed Fifty & Forward, is a special conference commemorating the AAVMC’s 50th anniversary.
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, Europe and Australia.
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