Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine hosts Annual Conference and J.T. Vaughan Equine Conference

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The Auburn College of Veterinary Medicine’s 2022 Annual Conference and JT Vaughan Equine Conference — held Oct. 20-23 — continued a tradition of 115 consecutive years of continuing education provided by the Southeast’s oldest veterinary program.

More than 500 participants attended the conference which provided opportunities for Auburn alumni, faculty, students, veterinary technicians and other veterinary professionals from across the region and nation to participate in cutting-edge continuing education and professional networking opportunities. In addition to continuing education programming, the college’s Centennial Club members gathered to celebrate 30 years of philanthropy and alumni support, having raised over $5 million for the dean’s strategic use from 430 members.

This year’s conferences were sponsored by Southern Veterinary Partners, Boehringer Ingelheim, Merck Animal Health, PRN Pharmacal, IDEXX, the Auburn Alumni Association and the Emily Reaves Leischuck Endowment for Companion Animal Medicine. The three-day program offered presentations in various disciplines of small animal, farm animal and equine veterinary education, numerous animal health and wellness courses and a combined conference exhibit hall which allowed attendees to engage with vendors.

The 2022 program offered more than 85 hours of professional sessions in various disciplines, including courses designed specifically for veterinary technicians. In-state attendees were able to earn up to 20 hours of continuing education credit approved by the Alabama State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners. This year also marked class reunions for the classes of 1972, 1977, 1982, 1987, 1992, 1997, 2002, 2007, 2012 and 2017.

Sessions were led by some of the top veterinary professionals around the nation, including speakers from the fields of veterinary education, research and business. Among this year’s presenters were Dr. Rick Alleman, CEO of Lighthouse Veterinary Consultants; dr Katie Luke Broaddus, COO and staff veterinarian at the Austin, Texas, Humane Society; dr Robert Gukich, owner and operator of Lake Wales (Florida) Animal Services and G7 Ranch, Inc.; and dr Lee Jones, associate professor in the Department of Population Health, Food Management Health and Management at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine.

Other 2022 presenters included Dr. Richard A. Mansmann, clinical professor emeritus at the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine; dr Gary P. Oswald, COO of Tampa Bay Veterinary Medical Consultants; dr Laura A. Snyder, head of the clinical flow cytometry service at IDEXX Laboratories; dr Dirk Vanderwall, interim dean and professor of the School of Veterinary Medicine at Utah State University; and Julie Squires, a certified compassion fatigue specialist and life coach.

Another annual conference tradition was an awards ceremony honoring distinguished veterinary professionals who have practiced their profession with great skill, knowledge, energy, compassion and professionalism, recognizing those who have excellent in their profession and have enhanced the college’s reputation.

Three outstanding alumni were honored as the 2022 winners of Young Achiever Awards which are presented annually to recognize members of the class celebrating their 10th anniversary. The awards recognize recipients’ professional accomplishments in veterinary medicine, outstanding contributions to their communities and their overall advancement of animal and human health.

The recipients of the 2022 El Toro Award for Excellence in Food Animal Medicine and John Thomas Vaughan Equine Achievement Award were also recognized. The El Toro Award recognizes a veterinarian who through his or her high ideals, dedication to the production of food animals and contributions to food animal practice and organized veterinary medicine, serves as a role model for veterinary students.

The Vaughan Equine Achievement Award recognizes an Auburn College of Veterinary Medicine alumnus who exemplifies the Auburn spirit through leadership, dedication to and passion for the profession, hard work that improves individual and community outcomes and humility.

This year’s honorees include:

dr Dan Givens ’94

El Toro Award for Excellence in Food Animal Medicine

After earning his DVM from Auburn in 1994, Givens practiced with both food and companion animals in Campbellsville, Kentucky. He then completed a PhD in biomedical science and performed NIH-funded post-doctoral research at Auburn before joining the faculty, of which he remained a member for the next 24 years. After serving as a professor, acting department head and associate dean for academic affairs, Givens was named the fifth dean of the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech University in June 2021. A Diplomate of both the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists ( virology specialty) and the American College of Theriogenologists, Givens has conducted basic and applied research in infectious diseases that affect the reproduction of cattle. His research has led to more than 85 peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts, five book chapters, two international patents and numerous national and international presentations.

dr Fairfield Bain ’83
John Thomas Vaughan Equine Achievement Award

A graduate of North Carolina State University, Bain received his DVM from Auburn in 1983. He then returned to NC State for a large animal internship, before completing a residency in large animal internal medicine at the University of Florida and a residency in veterinary anatomic pathology at Kansas State University. He also holds an MBA from the New York Institute of Technology. Bain’s veterinary career has consisted of time in private referral hospitals, including Peterson and Smith Equine Hospital, Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, Littleton Equine Medical Center and Equine Sports Medicine and Surgery, as well as university hospitals in the US and Australia. Prior to joining Merck Animal Health in April 2016, he was a clinical professor of equine internal medicine and equine hospital section head at the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine. At Merck, Bain is currently associate director of the Equine Life Cycle Management team, where he is involved with new product innovation, discovery and development and integrates among multiple units within the company including professional service veterinarians, business development and research and development. He is also board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, the American College of Veterinary Pathologists and the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care — for which he was a founding large animal diplomate.

dr Kristin Coleman ’12
Class of 2012 Young Achiever

After earning her Auburn undergraduate degree in microbiology along with the Biomedical Sciences Dean’s Medal, Coleman earned her Auburn DVM and then completed a general rotating internship at the Animal Medical Center in Manhattan, New York. She then completed a small animal surgery residency at and earned a master’s degree from the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital and later became a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons. After working as a surgeon at a busy private practice specialty hospital in Brooklyn, New York, she moved to Houston, Texas, where she now works as a surgeon at an even busier private practice specialty hospital — Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists. As a surgeon, she enjoys orthopedic surgery, soft tissue surgery, minimally invasive surgery and any procedure involving exotics, which has led to her recent position as liaison to the Houston Zoo.

dr Cheryl Too Lawson ’12
Class of 2012 Young Achiever

After graduating with her Auburn DVM, Lawson practiced as an associate veterinarian in the Nashville, Tennessee, area for several years prior to returning to Auburn for residency training in veterinary clinical pathology. In 2017, she completed her residency and became a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists. That same year, she also completed a master’s in veterinary biomedical sciences and earned a certificate in college/university teaching. From 2017 to 2019, she was a clinical pathologist at IDEXX Laboratories before returning to academia as an assistant professor in the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine. In addition to clinical pathology and teaching, Lawson has an interest in diversity, equity and inclusion as well as investigating the causes of mental health challenges in veterinary medicine and veterinary medicine education.

dr Melissa Singletary ’12
Class of 2012 Young Achiever

After receiving her Auburn DVM, Singletary served as an officer in the US Army Veterinary Corps, earning the Army Achievement Medal and two Army Accommodation Medals before returning to Auburn to complete a doctorate in biomedical science with a focus in olfactory neuroscience in 2018. She is currently assistant director of the Auburn University Canine Performance Sciences program and an assistant professor of neuroanatomy in the Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Pharmacology. As a co-principal investigator of the newly created multi-institutional Detection Canine Sciences Innovation, Technology and Education program, she recently contributed to achieving the single largest research contract in Auburn’s history. A Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, Singletary has received her Aquatic Certificate of Veterinary Medicine and graduate certificate in university and college teaching. She has also published more than a dozen journal articles, contributed to more than seven book chapters and served on the AAHA Working Dog Task Force. Her research activities include canine health and welfare, detection canine performance assessments and intervention studies, training aid development, detection methods of novel chemical and biological threats, explosive odor spectrum detection and olfactory capacity characterization studies.