Former AVMA president Ren Carlson dies

March 28, 2019
dvm360 Staff
dvm360, dvm360 May 2019, Volume 50, Issue 5

In addition to practicing for 30 years in the small rural community she called home, Dr. Carlson played a major role on the world veterinary stage.

René Carlson, DVM, former president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and World Veterinary Association (WVA), died peacefully at her home in Chetek, Wisconsin, on Tuesday.

“René was an exceptional leader and voice for our profession,” says AVMA president John de Jong, DVM, in a press release from the organization. "I will always remember her positive energy, her humility and her love of her husband, the AVMA and the profession."

In her own words on the WVA website, Dr. Carlson said she has “enjoyed broad experiences within the veterinary medical profession both in private practice and as a leader of organized veterinary medicine.”

A lifelong member of the AVMA, Dr. Carlson served in multiple leadership positions within the organization over the years, including a stint as president from 2011 to 2012. She also served as a member of the House of Delegates, in the Council on Education and, most recently, as director of international affairs, a post she held from 2013 to 2016.

After graduating from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine in 1978, Dr. Carlson worked for nearly two decades as an associate veterinarian in several Wisconsin practices. In 1996 she opened her own small animal private practice in Chetek, Wisconsin, chosen in 2000 as a Veterinary Economics Practice of Excellence.

At the 2018 AVMA Convention in Denver, Dr. Carlson was bestowed with a lifetime honorary membership in the WVA and awarded to the AVMA's Global Veterinary Service Award for promoting veterinary medicine worldwide.

In addition to mentoring young veterinarians, Dr. Carlson enjoyed sailing, birdwatching, cross-country skiing, bicycling and reading. She is survived by her husband, Mark Carlson, DVM.

Memorial contributions in Dr. Carlson's name may be sent to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, the Chetek Lutheran Church or the University of Minnesota, which will be establishing a scholarship in her name.

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