Dr. Joseph Bojrab remembered as expert educator in veterinary community

September 21, 2016
Mindy Valcarcel, Editor, Medicine Channel Director
Mindy Valcarcel, Editor, Medicine Channel Director

Mindy Valcarcel is the Medicine Channel Director for dvm360.com, Vetted and dvm360 magazine.

Bojrab leaves behind of legacy of imparting practical knowledge in the surgery suite.

Dr. M. Joseph Bojrab (Photos by Greg Kindred)Well-known veterinary educator M. Joseph Bojrab, DVM, MS, PhD, passed away on Tuesday, Sept. 13, at the age of 76. He is being mourned throughout the veterinary field. Whether through renowned surgery textbooks or lectures and hands-on laboratory courses featuring surgical pointers and techniques, Bojrab's lessons endure in countless veterinarians.

A life of veterinary service

Bojrab received his veterinary degree in 1964 from Purdue University. He completed an internship and residency at Cornell University in 1966 and then accepted a position as instructor in the Department of Veterinary Surgery at Oklahoma State University (OSU), where he also received a master's degree in physiology in 1968. He received a National Science Foundation Science Faculty Fellowship in 1969 and traveled to the University of Bristol, England, where he studied veterinary anatomy and received his PhD in 1971.

He then hopped back over to this side of the pond and was appointed associate professor and head of small animal surgery at OSU in 1973, eventually joining the faculty at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine as the head of small animal surgery. In July of 1987, he moved to Las Vegas and began a surgical consulting practice.

Bojrab was integral to continuing education as well in many forms. He recruited speakers for and managed the clinical track of the CVC from its very beginnings in 1988. He retired from this position in December 2014, but his legacy of venerated speaker recruitment and top-notch continuing education continues.

When Peggy Shandy, director of the CVC group, made a presentation to Bojrab in 2014 upon his retirement from the CVC, she calculated that he had delivered more than 800 seminars and presentations on veterinary surgery around the world.

Fond remembrances

“Throughout the 27 years Dr. Bojrab worked on various aspects of CVC programming, it was obvious to everyone that he had a great passion for the profession and for educating veterinarians and technicians,” says Peggy Shandy, director of the CVC group, who worked with Bojrab from the very beginning. “He particularly liked hands-on teaching. During the 22 years and the 45 CVCs we worked together, many calls-and then, later, emails-started with, ‘Peggy, it's Joe, I've got a great idea …' and he would launch into a detailed description of a clinical technique, the reasons why it would make a good course, and suggestions on who could teach it. Obviously if it was surgery, he was excited to take the lead. He recognized the value of practical presentations in a format that would engage veterinarians and provide them with skills they could immediately put into use.

“I was always amazed by the number of people who would approach him in the convention hallways or exhibit halls to say hello, tell him how much they enjoyed his lecture or lab, mention one of his books or ask his opinion,” Shandy continues. “He always took the time to talk with them, provide feedback and answer questions. He was generous in sharing his knowledge and expertise. His passion and his friendship will be missed.”

Theresa Entriken, DVM, medical director of UBM Americas, Veterinary, which produces the CVC, echoes Shandy's thoughts. “Dr. Bojrab tremendously enjoyed teaching the hands-on clinical courses at CVC and was instrumental in their development,” she says. “His exuberance for surgery along with his down-to-earth techniques and advice gave practicing veterinarians confidence in their abilities. I learned from his surgery textbooks in veterinary school, as did countless others, and it was a privilege to work with and learn from him as a colleague through CVC. Dr. Bojrab made remarkable contributions to the veterinary profession and will be greatly missed.”

Jennifer Wardlaw, DVM, DACVS, founder of Gateway Veterinary Surgery in St. Louis, frequently collaborated with Bojrab as a veterinary educator. “He was one of those iconic surgery names that instills a little fear in a surgery resident when they hear it,” Wardlaw says. “When he first asked me to lecture for him at a conference, I was thrilled, and a little nervous. After all, it was the Dr. Bojrab. Then, over many years, we became friends. We helped each other and brainstormed and told stories about surgeries, talking shop the way vets do. I cherished our times together. He would often shock new graduates with his matter-of-fact way of teaching. But life as a surgeon had taught him to cut to the point and get it done. I loved this quality about him, even when I disagreed with him. We had that common respect.

“Dr. Joe Bojrab was an amazing person and a talented surgeon who made enormous contributions to furthering the level of veterinary surgery education,” Wardlaw continues. “While some of his knowledge will live on in the numerous papers and books he published, we would all be blessed to have made such a lasting impact on the profession and hearts of so many.”

Bojrab, born Aug. 4, 1940, was laid to rest Monday, Sept. 19, in his hometown of many years, Las Vegas, according to his obituary. Another star shines on in the city of lights.