2016 Purdue Veterinary Conference Attracts Strong Turnout for CE and Celebration

Veterinarians and veterinary technicians took advantage of the 2016 Purdue Veterinary Conference, September 27 – October 1, to get top quality continuing education and participate in a variety of special events.  The conference week doubled as the homecoming for the College with opportunities to honor reunion classes, outstanding faculty and alumni and the 40th Anniversary of Purdue Veterinary Medicine’s Veterinary Technology Program. 

Offering up to 32 continuing education (CE) credits, the conference attracted nearly 1,140 registered attendees, including 287 veterinarians, 166 veterinary technicians, 190 PVM faculty, staff and faculty emeriti, 211 PVM students and 155 guests and other professionals and students.  Conference sessions were led by 55 speakers and moderators who conducted 110 CE sessions, including eight specialty workshops and labs, while the Exhibit Hall in the Purdue Memorial Union South Ballroom featured booths staffed by 74 exhibitor representatives.

Conference-goers crowd the popular Exhibit Hall in the Purdue Memorial Union South Ballroom during the 2016 Purdue Veterinary Conference.

Conference-goers crowd the popular Exhibit Hall in the Purdue Memorial Union South Ballroom during the 2016 Purdue Veterinary Conference.

Garnetta Santiago, MA, LVT, veterinary technician strategy lead for Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc., gives the Diversity Keynote in the Purdue Memorial Union North Ballroom.

Garnetta Santiago, MA, LVT, veterinary technician strategy lead for Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc., gives the Diversity Keynote in the Purdue Memorial Union North Ballroom.

New Purdue Veterinary Conference sessions for 2016 included the Diversity Keynote with Garnetta Santiago, MA, LVT, veterinary technician strategy lead for Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc., who gave a presentation entitled, “50 Shades of Reality: Cultural Competency in the Changing Face of Veterinary Medicine,” and led an interactive workshop with Paige Allen, MS, RVT, who serves as PVM distance learning instructional technologist.  Special labs offered for the first time at the conference included the Radiology Lab and two hands-on training opportunities – the Physical Therapy Lab and Small Mammal Dental Lab.

The annual Dr. Jack and Naomi Stockton / Class of 1971 Lecture featured a presentation by Dr. Debbie White (PU DVM ’94), a small animal and exotic animal practitioner in Las Vegas, Nev., who is a regular veterinary contributor on local news and national radio programming.  She spoke on the topic, “Mentorship: Take the Gamble!” 

The general public had an opportunity to learn about animal welfare by attending the free Elanco Human-Animal Bond Lecture given by Dr. Candace Croney, director of the Purdue University Center for Animal Welfare Science.  Her talk, entitled, “Friends, Family or Food? Factors Shaping Perceptions of Animals and Their Welfare Implications,” gave the audience insight into how such factors as economics, knowledge, experience, history, culture, religion, demographics and urbanization affect attitudes about animals. 

At the Elanco Human-Animal Bond Lecture, (left-right) Dr. Alan Beck, director of the Purdue Center for the Human-Animal Bond and Dr. Heidi Hulon, Elanco Regional Consulting Veterinarian, join the speaker, Dr. Candace Croney, director of the Purdue Center for Animal Welfare Science, and Dean Willie Reed.

At the Elanco Human-Animal Bond Lecture, (left-right) Dr. Alan Beck, director of the Purdue Center for the Human-Animal Bond and Dr. Heidi Hulon, Elanco Regional Consulting Veterinarian, join the speaker, Dr. Candace Croney, director of the Purdue Center for Animal Welfare Science, and Dean Willie Reed.

The Physical Therapy Lab, held in Lynn Hall, gave Purdue Veterinary Conference attendees hands-on learning opportunities.

The Physical Therapy Lab, held in Lynn Hall, gave Purdue Veterinary Conference attendees hands-on learning opportunities.

Veterinary Technology Program’s 40th Headlines Special Events

Dr. Pete Bill, assistant dean for academic affairs, teaching and learning, gives the Dr. Roger L. Lukens Lecture after a special breakfast celebrating the Purdue Veterinary Technology Program’s 40th Anniversary.

Dr. Pete Bill, assistant dean for academic affairs, teaching and learning, gives the Dr. Roger L. Lukens Lecture after a special breakfast celebrating the Purdue Veterinary Technology Program’s 40th Anniversary.

A variety of special events also were held as part of the conference week, which kicked-off with the Indiana Animal Health Foundation/PVM golf outing Tuesday, September 27, followed by a special breakfast and lecture Wednesday morning, September 28, celebrating the Purdue Veterinary Technology Program’s 40th Anniversary.  Sponsored by the Purdue Veterinary Alumni Association, the breakfast began with opening remarks by Becky Bierman, RVT, clinical trials coordinator for the College’s Center for Comparative Translational Research, and a member of the Veterinary Technology Program’s first graduating class, the Class of 1976.  Then Dr. Pete Bill, assistant dean for academic affairs, teaching and learning and professor of veterinary pharmacology, gave the Dr. Roger L. Lukens Lecture, speaking on the topic, “Veterinary Technology Profession at a Crossroads: Where Do We Go?”

The named lecture honors the late Dr. Roger Lukens, Purdue Veterinary Medicine professor emeritus of veterinary technology and founding director of the Veterinary Technology Program. Dr. Bill described Dr. Lukens as “…one of the earliest pioneers and advocates for veterinary technicians.”  Addressing the present and future of veterinary technology, Dr. Bill stressed the importance of staying involved and not becoming complacent. “Veterinary technicians have the opportunity to mold what their profession can do,” Dr. Bill said.  “At 40 years old, we need to make sure the profession is strong, has a focused voice, and that it advocates for veterinary technicians throughout the state.”  Reminding the audience of the efforts of dedicated veterinary professionals, like Dr. Roger Lukens, who successfully launched the veterinary technology profession, Dr. Bill concluded, “Don’t just pay your dues—bring your passion. Bring your ideas. Bring your desire for the profession to grow to new levels of respect and opportunity. Lead, change, grow and never give up.”

Reunion Classes Honored at Medicine Mixer

Alumni enjoy viewing scrapbooks spanning years of Purdue Veterinary Technology classes at the Meet Me @ the Mixer reception, which included recognition of reunion classes and celebration of the Veterinary Technology Program’s 40th Anniversary.

Alumni enjoy viewing scrapbooks spanning years of Purdue Veterinary Technology classes at the Meet Me @ the Mixer reception, which included recognition of reunion classes and celebration of the Veterinary Technology Program’s 40th Anniversary.

The popular Meet Me @ the Mixer reception on Thursday, September 29, provided another setting for celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Veterinary Technology Program, as well as honoring alumni celebrating class anniversaries.  Dean Willie Reed welcomed representatives from many of the vet tech classes and presented them with a certificate commemorating the anniversary. Purdue Veterinary Medicine retiree Harry Latshaw, a registered veterinary technician who served on the Veterinary Technology Program’s staff as an instructor and student advisor for many years, spoke about the program’s remarkable history and reminisced about his own time working with the veterinary technology students. “This program prepares technicians for practice, industry, research, public health, practice management and even owning businesses,” he said. “I don’t think there’s a better program in the country. We need to be proud of these alumni that PVM has graduated into the profession.”

Dean Reed also announced each alumni class anniversary year, and paid special tribute to the 25th and 50th reunion classes. Dr. Jerry Rusch, of the DVM Class of 1991, spoke on behalf of his classmates, announcing that they are raising funds for a relaxation area for students, staff and faculty in Lynn Hall to promote wellness. Members of the 50th Anniversary Class, the Class of 1966, also were honored as they were introduced individually by Dean Willie Reed, and received a special 50th Anniversary Class medallion from the Purdue Veterinary Alumni Association. Class member and Purdue Veterinary Alumni Association board member Allen Lueking shared reflections on behalf of his classmates. “It’s a great honor to be classmates with this bunch. They’re a sharp bunch and I think we’ve all enjoyed the experience,” said Dr. Lueking.

Dean Willie Reed with the Golden Anniversary Class at the Class of 1966 50th Reunion Dinner, which was held in the John Purdue Room at Marriott Hall.

Dean Willie Reed with the Golden Anniversary Class at the Class of 1966 50th Reunion Dinner, which was held in the John Purdue Room at Marriott Hall.

Awards Celebration Honors Outstanding Alumna and Faculty

Alicea (Schaeffer) Howell (PU BS-VT 2003), recipient of the 2016 Distinguished Veterinary Technology Alumna Award.

Alicea (Schaeffer) Howell (PU BS-VT 2003), recipient of the 2016 Distinguished Veterinary Technology Alumna Award.

Another longstanding Purdue Veterinary Conference tradition, the annual Awards Celebration on Wednesday, September 28, in the Purdue Memorial Union North Ballroom, began with an award presentation that was especially appropriate on the occasion of the 40th Anniversary of the Veterinary Technology Program.  Dean Willie Reed presented the 2016 Distinguished Veterinary Technology Alumna Award to Alicea (Schaeffer) Howell, who earned her bachelor’s degree in Veterinary Technology in 2003 and accepted a position as a veterinary technician at Hillview Veterinary Clinic in Franklin, Ind., where she is still employed.  She also received animal training certification through the Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training and Behavior and achieved the distinction of Veterinary Technician Specialist in Animal Behavior in 2010.

Dean Reed then presented awards for outstanding teaching, research and service to PVM faculty members.  The Alumni Faculty Award for Excellence was presented to Dr. Gary Lantz, professor of small animal surgery, who was selected as a nominee by a committee of faculty and alumni.  Dr. Lantz joined the Purdue Veterinary Medicine faculty in 1979 and became a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons in 1983 and a diplomate of the American Veterinary Dental College in 2002.  The award recognized him for his excellence in scholarship, learning and engagement through innovative research, outstanding teaching and leadership in Veterinary Clinical Sciences as well as professional organizations.

Dean Willie Reed with several faculty award recipients: (left-right) Dr. Gary Lantz, professor of small animal surgery; Dr. Wendy Townsend, associate professor of ophthalmology; Dr. Dan Hogan, professor of cardiology; Dr. Paula Johnson, clinical assistant professor of emergency and critical care; and Dr. Stephanie Thomovsky, clinical assistant professor of neurology and neurosurgery.

Dean Willie Reed with several faculty award recipients: (left-right) Dr. Gary Lantz, professor of small animal surgery; Dr. Wendy Townsend, associate professor of ophthalmology; Dr. Dan Hogan, professor of cardiology; Dr. Paula Johnson, clinical assistant professor of emergency and critical care; and Dr. Stephanie Thomovsky, clinical assistant professor of neurology and neurosurgery.

Next Dean Reed presented three outstanding teacher awards.  Dr. Stephanie Thomovsky, clinical assistant professor of neurology and neurosurgery and director of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital’s physical rehabilitation service, received the PVM Alumni Outstanding Teacher Award.  Dr. Thomovsky joined the College’s Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences in 2014 and teaches neuroscience to first-year veterinary students and neurology and neurosurgery to third- and fourth-year veterinary students, interns and residents.  The Zoetis Distinguished Teaching Award was presented to Dr. Kevin Hannon, associate professor of basic medical sciences, who teaches anatomy to veterinary and veterinary technology students and has been a member of the Department of Basic Medical Sciences since 1996.  Dr. Wendy Townsend, associate professor of ophthalmology, received the Excellence in Teaching Award, which is sponsored by the College and awarded on the basis of nominations made by peers.  Dr. Townsend joined the PVM faculty in 2010 and teaches both ophthalmology and client communications to veterinary students, interns and residents.

Dean Reed then presented three faculty awards for excellence in research.  Dr. Dan Hogan, professor of cardiology, received the Zoetis Award for Veterinary Research Excellence.  His research focuses on thrombosis and non-invasive interventional cardiology. The Excellence in Research Award, sponsored by the College, was shared by two faculty, Dr. Suresh Mittal, professor of virology in the Department of Comparative Pathobiology, and Dr. Paul Robinson, professor of cytomics in the Department of Basic Medical Sciences, who also holds appointments as professor in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering and adjunct professor in the Indiana University School of Medicine.  Dr. Mittal is a world renowned expert on recombinant adenoviruses who developed adenoviral vector-based vaccines against highly pathogenic avian influenza and has engineered adenoviruses for use in gene therapy for cancer.  Dr. Robinson works at the interface between life sciences and engineering and is a world renowned expert in flow cytometry and high throughput imaging.

The Award Celebration concluded with the presentation of the PVM Excellence in Service Award to Dr. Paula Johnson, clinical assistant professor of emergency and critical care in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences.  Since coming to Purdue, Dr. Johnson has guided the College’s critical care service and spearheaded numerous improvements.

Dog Jog Raises $7K as Dogs and Joggers Flock to Event

Dogs lead the way as participants in the 2016 Dr. Skip Jackson Dog Jog approach the finish line in front of Lynn Hall.

Dogs lead the way as participants in the 2016 Dr. Skip Jackson Dog Jog approach the finish line in front of Lynn Hall.

The Purdue Veterinary Conference week wrapped up with the wildly popular Dr. Skip Jackson Dog Jog on Saturday, October 1.  Thanks to an outstanding turnout, the annual event, sponsored by McAfee Animal Hospital and Blair Animal Clinic, raised $7,000 to support Purdue Veterinary Medicine’s PetSafe and Priority 4 Paws programs.  PetSafe is a community service to meet the short-term housing needs of pets whose owners are temporarily unable to provide care. Priority 4 Paws (P4P) is a service learning program that utilizes a mobile surgery unit to visit Indiana animal shelters and spay and neuter pets up for adoption free of charge.

Nearly 250 runners participated in the Dr. Skip Jackson Dog Jog, along with more than 100 canine companions!  A big thank you to event organizer Marcus Dela Cruz, of the DVM Class of 2018, and to all the students who volunteered to help with the race and make it such an outstanding success.  The event is named in honor of Dr. Horace (Skip) Jackson, professor emeritus of veterinary physiology and biochemistry, and is one of the longest-running traditions of the Purdue Veterinary Conference.  Once again, Dr. Jackson was on-hand for the event, as he has been nearly every year since the first Dr. Skip Jackson Road Race was held in 1972.

Photos of the following Purdue Veterinary Conference events were taken by professional photographer Ed Lausch and can be viewed at www.lauschphotography.com, using the following usernames and passwords.

  • Awards Program:  username “2016awards” and the password “september2016”.
  • Meet Me @ the Mixer:  “2016mixer” and the password “september2016”.
  • Dr. Skip Jackson Dog Jog:  username “2016dogjog” and the password “october2016”.

This story is part of the 2016 Annual PVM Report.

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