AVMA announces winners of 3 major awards

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and Merck Animal Health this week announced the winners of three of the most prestigious awards in veterinary medicine, animal welfare, and the human-animal bond.

AVMA announced the awards—the AVMA Humane Award, the AVMA Animal Welfare Award and the Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award—on Monday, May 7, to coincide with National Pet Week (May 6–12).

“National Pet Week celebrates the special joy that pets bring into our lives,” said AVMA President Michael J. Topper, DVM, PhD, DACVP. “This is the perfect time to honor extraordinary veterinarians and other professionals who have dedicated their lives to advancing animal health, welfare, and the human-animal bond. We owe special thanks to Merck Animal Health for their support in honoring and celebrating these amazing individuals.”

Each award winner will receive an honorarium to be used for support of a current program in development or to be directed to an organization/institution working in the winner’s field of interest.

AVMA Humane Award

The AVMA Humane Award recognizes the important work of nonveterinarians in animal welfare and is presented to someone who has helped advance the welfare of animals through leadership, public service, education, research and or product development, and advocacy.

This year’s AVMA Humane Award winner is Amanda Arrington, director and founder of the Pets for Life program at the Humane Society of the United States.

Arrington and Pets for Life have assisted 130,000 pets to date, raising awareness about the needs of pets in poverty, and helping pet owners keep the pets they love in safe forever homes.

AVMA Animal Welfare Award

The AVMA Animal Welfare Award is presented to an AVMA member veterinarian in recognition of his or her achievement in advancing the welfare of animals via leadership, public service, education, research and or product development, and advocacy.

The 2018 AVMA Animal Welfare Award went to T. Robert Bashara, DVM, founder of Gentle Doctor Animal Hospitals in and around Omaha, Nebraska. A long-time advocate for animal welfare, Bashara has had a national presence as the veterinary consultant and chief financial officer for the Doris Day Animal Foundation.

This award aims to raise public awareness of the important role veterinarians play in improving understanding of animal welfare–related science, ensuring that animal use for human purposes is conducted responsibly, and attending to and promoting animal welfare within the context of responsible animal use.

Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award

Named in honor of the late Leo K. Bustad, DVM, PhD, an internationally recognized pioneer in the field of human-animal interactions, the Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award recognizes the outstanding work of veterinarians in preserving and protecting human-animal relationships.

This year’s winner is Cynthia Otto, DVM, PhD, DACVECC, founder and executive director of the Penn Vet Working Dog Center. Otto founded the Penn Vet Working Dog Center after being inspired by her work monitoring the health and behavior of urban search-and-rescue dogs while serving as a first responder during the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The awards will be presented at the 2018 AVMA Convention in Denver on Friday, July 13, the first time in more than 30 years that all three awards will be presented together.

For more information on the AVMA’s Veterinary Excellence Awards program, visit avma.org/awards.

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