AVMA Announces Award Winners Ahead of Annual Convention

The three winners of this year’s awards are being recognized for their dedication to promoting the human-animal bond and advancing animal health and welfare.
Amanda Carrozza
Published: May 11, 2018
AVMA AwardsTo coincide with National Pet Week (May 6-12), the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and Merck Animal Health announced the winners of three prestigious veterinary awards: the AVMA Humane Award, the AVMA Animal Welfare Award and the Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award.

“National Pet Week celebrates the special joy that pets bring into our lives," AVMA President Mike Topper, DVM, PhD, DACVP, said. “This is the perfect time to honor extraordinary veterinarians and other professionals who have dedicated their lives to advancing animal health, welfare and the human-animal bond.”

The awards will be formally presented on July 13 at the 2018 AVMA Convention in Denver, Colorado. Each recipient will receive an honorarium to support a program currently in development or an organization working in the winner’s field of interest.

Pets For Life HSUSAVMA Humane Award
The important work of nonveterinarians in animal welfare is recognized through the AVMA Humane Award. This year’s recipient is Amanda Arrington, director and founder of the Pets for Life program at the Humane Society of the United States.

Pets for Life works to provide accessible, affordable pet care in underserved communities, offering free services such as dog training, spay/neuter surgeries, vaccinations, pet supplies and general wellness care. Under Arrington’s leadership, Pets for Life mentorship programs are in place in 30 cities throughout the county. To date, the program has assisted 130,000 animals.

Penn Vet Working DogAVMA Animal Welfare Award
The AVMA Animal Welfare Award is presented to an AVMA member veterinarian in recognition of his or her achievement in advancing the welfare of animals. T. Robert Bashara, DVM, is this year’s recipient.

As the founder of Gentle Doctor Animal Hospitals, which has three locations in the Omaha, Nebraska area, Dr. Bashara has had a national presence through his work with the Doris Day Animal Foundation (DDAF). He has served as the veterinary consultant and CFO for the foundation, which provides grants to nonprofit causes that share DDAF’s mission of helping animals and the people who love them.

Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award
Penn Vet Working Dog CenterNamed in honor of the late Leo K. Bustad, an internationally recognized pioneer in the field of human-animal interactions, the Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award recognizes the outstanding work of veterinarians in preserving and protecting human-animal relationships.

The 2018 recipient of this award is Cynthia Otto, DVM, PhD, founder and executive director of the Penn Vet Working Dog Center at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Otto founded the Penn Vet Working Dog Center after being inspired by her work as a first responder on September 11, 2001, where she monitored the health and behavior of urban search and rescue dogs.

Today, the Penn Vet Working Dog Center is a leading educational and research facility with ongoing studies that include using dogs for the detection and earlier diagnosis of diseases, and identifying the role genetics plays in the success of working dogs.

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