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AVMA honors 2 veterinarians and professor

Robin Downing is the Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year. Harry Werner and Janice Siegford receive animal welfare and humane awards.

AVMA honors 2 veterinarians and professor
Dr. Robin Downing

Pain expert Robin Downing, equine practitioner Harry Werner and Michigan State University Professor Janice Siegford are the recipients of American Veterinary Medical Association awards.

The honors, announced May 6, are as follows:

Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year: Dr. Downing

A graduate of the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Downing was recognized for her work in protecting and promoting the human-animal bond.

She is the owner and medical director at both the Downing Center for Animal Pain Management and the Windsor Veterinary Clinic in Windsor, Colorado. She holds a master’s degree in bioethics, is a diplomate of the American Academy of Pain Management and the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation, and is a certified veterinary pain practitioner and a certified canine rehabilitation practitioner.

“Dr. Downing has devoted her career to improving the health of animals and strengthening and prolonging the bond between people and animals,“ said AVMA President John Howe, DVM. “Bestowing her with this award is a fitting tribute to Dr. Bustad, an outstanding educator, scientist, humanitarian and pioneer in the field of human-animal interactions.”

The late Dr. Bustad was a Delta Society president and a dean at the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Animal Welfare Award: Dr. Werner

Elected to the International Equine Veterinarians Hall of Fame in 2013, Dr. Werner is the longtime owner of an equine practice in North Granby, Connecticut.

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, he represented the American Association of Equine Practitioners on the AVMA’s Animal Welfare Committee and represented the AVMA and AAEP on the Unwanted Horse Coalition. He received the AAEP’s

Distinguished Life Member Award in 2017.

“Dr. Werner’s dedication, excellent communication skills, and the innate ability to maneuver around and through emotional and oftentimes misunderstood welfare conditions are his greatest strength,” said Tom Lenz, DVM, MS, DACT, the recipient of the 2010 Animal Welfare Award. “But it is his passion and sincere belief in the well-being of all animals that truly drove him to be the success that he is.”

Humane Award: Dr. Siegford

Dr. Siegford, a professor of animal science and welfare, helped development the AVMA Animal Welfare Assessment Contest and has served on its coordinating committee since 2007.

The Humane Award is given annually to a non-veterinarian who advances the welfare of animals through leadership, public service, education, advocacy, or research or product development.

“Dr. Siegford has been a champion of animal welfare for many years and has done so much to integrate animal welfare into veterinary education,” Dr. Howe said.

The three awards are handed out annually. The 2019 winners were Karen Vernau, DVM, MS, DACVIM (Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year), Joanne Paul-Murphy, DVM, Ph.D., DACZM (Animal Welfare Award) and Sonia Hernandez (Humane Award).


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