8 Veterinary Heroes™ honored at Fetch dvm360® Conference

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dvm360dvm360 January 2022
Volume 53
Issue 1

The veterinary professionals were nominated by their peers and chosen for being paragons of veterinary leadership and excellence in their respective roles and specialties.

Veterinary HeroesTM award recipients (left to right) Daniel Stobie, DVM, MS, DACVS; Susie Martin; Charity J. Uman, MS, DVM; CPT Kelly Willard, DVM; Maria Ierace, DVM, DACVD; and Caeley J. Melmed, DVM, DACVIM (SAIM) were honored Wednesday during a celebration gala at the San Diego Convention Center. dvm360® also recognized Veterinary HeroesTM winners Curtis Wells Dewey, DVM, MS, DACVIM (Neurology), DACVS, CTCVMP, CCRP; and Inger Reres, LVT, VTS (SAIM).

Veterinary HeroesTM award recipients (left to right) Daniel Stobie, DVM, MS, DACVS; Susie Martin; Charity J. Uman, MS, DVM; CPT Kelly Willard, DVM; Maria Ierace, DVM, DACVD; and Caeley J. Melmed, DVM, DACVIM (SAIM) were honored Wednesday during a celebration gala at the San Diego Convention Center. dvm360® also recognized Veterinary HeroesTM winners Curtis Wells Dewey, DVM, MS, DACVIM (Neurology), DACVS, CTCVMP, CCRP; and Inger Reres, LVT, VTS (SAIM).

Credit: Jeehoen Cho Photography

dvm360® recognized and celebrated its inaugural 2021 class of Veterinary Heroes™ with an awards dinner held at the San Diego Convention Center on the eve of the Fetch dvm360® Conference on December 1, 2021. The Veterinary Heroes™ Program—sponsored by Nationwide, Merck, Zoetis, Clevor®, Blue Buffalo, NorthStar VETS, and MedVet—honors the achievements of outstanding veterinary professionals who have worked to push the field forward and make a difference in animal care. These veterinary professionals were nominated and chosen by their peers for exemplifying leadership and achievement in improving patient outcomes.

The evening began with a cocktail reception where guests enjoyed an open bar and hors d’oeuvres. The main event kicked off with opening remarks from Adam Christman, DVM, MBA, chief veterinary officer for Fetch, the Atlantic Coast Veterinary Conference® (ACVC) and dvm360®. He shared impassioned words about leadership and the importance of overcoming adversity in the veterinary profession.

“Our world has been rocked, our patience has been tested, and yet, our glorious profession has learned to pivot, adapt, and overcome detours you and I have never experienced in our lifetime,” Christman said.

Christman said the 8 honored veterinary professionals have gone “above and beyond the call of duty” in their work.

“These individuals were first nominated by their peers, and then our dvm360®Veterinary Heroes™ selection committee had the difficult task…and it was difficult…of voting for these winners,” he said.

Dinner was served and attendees dined as the winner of each category was revealed. The recurring theme from all the winners was professional unity, as each Veterinary Hero™ received their award onstage and imparted words of inspiration and encouragement for veterinary colleagues.

“I’ve been an internist 20 years, and one of the things I know for sure is that none of my cases are ever just mine,” said Caeley J. Melmed, DVM, DACVIM (SAIM), winner of the award for internal medicine. “They are always shared with the team that helps get it done. Those relationships have been not only the most enjoyable part of my care, but as I look back, I can feel the parts that carry me through the harder times.”

With short break between award presentations, Walter Brown, RVTg, VTS, ECC, provided entertainment with a stand-up comedy routine to the delight of all in attendance. He also shared words of wisdom about maintaining positivity and well-being in the veterinary profession.

The awards continued with Daniel Stobie, DVM, MS, DACVS, accepting his award in the surgery category.

“The last 18 months have probably been the hardest in 30 years of veterinary medicine, but my team has worked tirelessly in less-than-ideal circumstances to care for all the pets and pet parents that come through our doors. I’m proud to say not 1 person was turned away from our hospital,” Stobie said. “I’m dedicating this award to my staff. They’re true veterinary heroes that have really kept everything together this last year and a half.”

Continuing the words of support for staff was CPT Kelly Willard, DVM, the general practitioner winner. “I came home from deployment, and I was impulsive and bought a vet hospital,” she said. “I didn’t realize the family I would inherit, and I just wouldn’t be here without them.”

Charity J. Uman, MS, DVM, and winner of the emergency medicine award, summed up the tone of the evening, saying, “I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for everyone at my clinic and my hospital…it’s a team effort.”

Christman returned to the stage to close out the evening. “Every single one of you in this room has been tested by life’s recent challenges,” he said. “Yet, you’re here for 1 common denominator that binds us all together: the animals. You’re all providing voices to the voiceless, and you are true essential heroes.”

The 2021 full list of Veterinary Heroes™ winners is as follows:

  • Client Service Representative—Susie Martin
  • Dermatology—Maria Ierace, DVM, DACVD
  • Emergency Medicine—Charity J. Uman, MS, DVM
  • General Practitioner—CPT Kelly Willard, DVM
  • Integrative Medicine—Curtis Wells Dewey, DVM, MS, DACVIM (Neurology), DACVS, CTCVMP, CCRP
  • Internal Medicine—Caeley J. Melmed, DVM, DACVIM (SAIM)
  • Surgery—Daniel Stobie, DVM, MS, DACVS
  • Technician Medicine—Inger Reres, LVT, VTS (SAIM)
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