dvm360 celebrates 2023 Veterinary Heroes at awards gala

Kansas City

The 15 honorees were recognized with a pre-conference dinner event at the Fetch Kansas City conference

Veterinary Heroes 2023

Photo: Kristen Coppock/dvm360

Veterinary Heroes honorees gather on stage with host Adam Christman, DVM, MBA (left), at the conclusion of an awards dinner celebrating their achievements.

It was a night to celebrate the achievements of veterinary professionals from across the spectrum of the industry with various care specialties and practice roles represented. At the Kansas City Convention Center in Missouri, 15 honorees were recognized Thursday evening as winners of the third annual Veterinary Heroes program.

The Veterinary Heroes Program—sponsored by PetSmart (corporate sponsor), as well as Blue Buffalo Natural, Nocita, TruCan and Trufel, Think Anesthesia, MedVet, Mount Laurel Animal Hospital, Nextmune, and Thrive Pet Healthcare (category sponsors)—celebrates the achievements of outstanding veterinary professionals who have worked to push the field forward and make a difference in animal care. Winners were nominated by their colleagues and selected for the recognition by an esteemed panel of their peers.

PetSmart Veterinary Services

Following cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, attendees noshed on baby spinach salad, roasted filet of salmon, white chocolate mousse layer cake and more, as they listened as the achievements of the program's class of 2023 were celebrated. The dinner in their honor was held in conjunction with the Fetch dvm360 conference in Kansas City, Missouri.

Veterinary Heroes Class of 2023

The 2023 Veterinary Heroes winners are:

Civic Leader (community service): Niccole Bruno, DVM — blendvet

Client Service Representative: Roberta Trollinger — Boca Midtowne Animal Hospital

Credentialed Veterinary Technician: Chimene S. Peterson, RVT — Iowa State University Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center

Dentistry: Curt R. Coffman, DVM, DAVDC — Arizona Veterinary Dental Specialists

Dermatology: Danny W. Scott, DVM, DACVP — Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine (retired)

Emergency Medicine: Mariana A. Pardo, BVSc, MV, DACVECC — Critical Care Veterinarian Consulting

Feline Medicine: Nicole Martell-Moran, DVM, MPH, DABVP (Feline) — Feline Medical Center

General Practitioner: Ryane E. Englar, DVM, DABVP (Canine and Feline Practice) — University of Arizona College of Veterinary Medicine

Internal Medicine: Cara Steele, DVM, DACVIM (SAIM) — Nexus Veterinary Specialists

Nutrition: Laura Gaylord, DVM, DACVIM (Nutrition) — Whole Pet Provisions, PLLC

Oncology: Erika L. Krick, VMD, DACVIM (Oncology) — Mount Laurel Animal Hospital

Practice Management: Malik Mitchell — Heart + Paw — Callowhill

Rising Star (veterinary student): Nia Powell — North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine

Surgery: David Dycus, DVM, MS, CCRP, DACVS-SA — Nexus Veterinary Bone & Joint Center/Ortho Vet Consulting

Veterinary Paraprofessional (non-credentialed support staff): Thomas W. Maupin, Veterinary Assistant — MedVet Dallas

Kicking off the meal, Adam Christman, DVM, MBA, chief veterinary officer for dvm360 , raised a toast to attendees. “What’s truly remarkable is [with challenges] faced by the profession like never before, the unity that has emerged. [It] is a testament to the shared values that bind us as veterinary professionals, as caregivers and as advocates for those who cannot speak for themselves,” he said. “Here’s to all the heroes and people in this room. Cheers!”

As they were individually presented with their awards, the honorees were often inspiring and spoke of those who inspired them. “I’m standing here alone but I’ve had a village of people,” said Niccole Bruno, DVM, the Civic Leader category winner.

Dermatology winner Danny Scott, DVM, DACVP, elicited cheers for mentioning veterinary schools that had an impact on him, including Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in Ithaca, New York, where he was a faculty member. He also spoke of his mother and his wife as inspirations.

Although some honorees were unable to attend the event, they were also celebrated. Presenting the Emergency Medicine award for recipient Mariana Pardo, MV, BVSc, DACVECC; Erik Zager, DVM, DACVECC, described his friend as “by far the most accomplished person I know.”

Pardo spoke to attendees via video. “My hope is that this recognition serves as inspiration to others... Even in the face of adversity, our work has the power to transform lives,” she said.

The evening’s keynote speaker, Steve Dale, CABC, spoke of his love for animals. He shared a story about being stuck in an elevator with multiple dogs, when he noticed the calming effect one of his pets had on the others. The situation inspired him to accept a job as a pet column writer, while freelancing for various publications. “I got to talk with the best experts out there,” said Dale.

He went on to show photographs of personal veterinary heroes, which included some well-known names in the industry, and tell stories about how they inspired him. “I have been able to meet legendary heroes,” said Dale.

The honorees had thoughts of their own about what makes a veterinary hero. “Courage is about serving others,” said Bruno.

The honorees all expressed appreciation for the award, thanking family, colleagues, mentors, and patients. “It is the highlight of my career,” said Oncology winner Erika L. Krick, VMD, DACVIM (Oncology).

Malik Mitchell, the Practice Manager award recipient, also congratulated all his fellow winners. “I’m just looking forward to moving our profession forward,” he said

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