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2023 AVMA Animal Welfare Award winner announced
Dr Sheliah Roberston is this year’s award recipient for her achievements in advocacy, leadership, research, and service within the veterinary industry
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) announced it has named Sheilah Robertson, BVMS (Hons), PhD, DACVAA, DECVAA, DACAW, DECAWBM (AWSEL), CVA, MRCVS, as the winner of the 2023 AVMA Animal Welfare Award. The AVMA bestowed this award on Roberston for her dedication to advancing animal welfare through years of advocacy, leadership, research, and service within the veterinary industry.
According to an organizational release,1 the AVMA Animal Welfare Award is given to an AVMA member veterinarian to recognize their achievements in advancing the welfare of animals through leadership, education, public service, research/product, and advocacy. The award is present annual with support through educational funding from Merck Animal Health.
"Through her research, leadership, education, and advocacy, Robertson has demonstrated a lifetime commitment to advancing the wellbeing of animals and has made a lasting impact on the veterinary profession," said Lori M. Teller, DVM, DABVP (canine/feline), CVJ, AVMA president, in the release.1
Robertson graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1980 and then completed doctoral training in veterinary medicine in 1845 at the University of Bristol. From there, Robertson pursued specialization in anesthesia, animal welfare, pain management, and shelter medicine, becoming 1 of 3 individuals to hold certification in both the American College of Animal Welfare and the European College of Animal Welfare and Behavioural Medicine, with a subspecialty in Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law).1 Robertson also holds dual board certification from the American College of Veterinary Anesthesia and Analgesia (ACVAA) and the European College of Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia.
She has also served as president of the ACVAA, a charter member of the ACAW, and the scientific organizer of the World Veterinary Conference of Anesthesia. She served on multiple task forces and committees for the AVMA, the Association of Shelter Veterinarians, the American Association of Feline Practitioners, the International Society of Feline Medicine, the American Animal Hospital Association, and the World Small Animal Veterinary Association.
"The African proverb 'it takes a village' describes this award accurately as my work reflects the influence of many people on my career path—nothing is achieved alone," said Robertson.1 "My mentors, students, colleagues, and patients have taught me so much and I would like to acknowledge their contribution to advancing animal welfare and accept this award on their behalf."
Roberston's primary focus is pain assessment research in cats, dogs, horses, and iguanas. She has published more than 100 peer-reviewed manuscripts and contributed to more than 40 book chapters on pain management. For the last 6 years, Roberston has served as senior medical director for Lap of Love Hospice, playing a crucial part in developing protocols and training for palliative care.
Dr. Sheilah Robertson named winner of 2023 AVMA Animal Welfare Award. News release. American Veterinary Medical Association. May 10, 2023. Accessed May 11, 2023. https://www.avma.org/news/press-releases/dr-sheilah-robertson-named-winner-2023-avma-animal-welfare-award