UW Veterinary Medicine professor Ruthanne Chun receives 2021 LaMarr Billups Community-University Engagement Award

A veterinary student weighs the shenanigans dog at a WisCARE clinic in Madison in 2015. The WisCARES program, co-founded by Ruthanne Chun, aims to provide holistic health and residential support to disadvantaged residents of Dane County and their pets. Photo: Bryce Richter

Ruthanne Chun, Clinical Professor of Oncology at the UW School of Veterinary Medicine, has been named the winner of this year’s LaMarr Billups Community-University Engagement Award.

The award recognizes a member of the Greater Madison Community who has made outstanding contributions to campus community partnership initiatives.

Ruthanne Chun

In 2014, Chun co-founded Wisconsin Companion Animal Resources, Education and Social Services (WisCARES), a community veterinary clinic for low-income and homeless families.

“One of the pillars of our mission at UW-Madison is to go beyond the campus to share knowledge that will improve people’s lives. Ruthanne Chun is a worthy recipient of this prestigious award. As co-founder and director of WisCARES, she created a national model for public relations and collaboration, ”says Chancellor Rebecca Blank.

Since its inception, Chun has helped WisCARES grow from a street medicine project led by a single veterinarian to a fully functioning clinic. It is now open five days a week with a dedicated full-time social worker extending care beyond the animal to its owner.

“I’m very proud of the work we do in the veterinary care, housing and care of animals that are such important companions,” Chun said during the virtual awards ceremony on June 22nd about this campus and community, and so am I proud to be part of it. “

Chun has established partnerships to expand the program on and off campus, working with the UW Schools of Pharmacy, Social Work and Medicine, and Public Health, as well as the Madison Area Technical College and Dane County Homeless Services Consortium, The Beacon, Community Action Coalition together, Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin, Reach Dane, VA and other local organizations.

“Chun has devoted much of her career to improving the Madison community through her service and activism for the benefit of those who have unstable housing and their pets. There couldn’t be a more deserving award winner, ”says Mark Markel, dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine.

The LaMarr Billups Community-University Engagement Award recognizes contributions in the following areas:

  • Commitment to improving the Madison community through service, activism, and / or professional activities;
  • Building strong connections between the wider community and UW-Madison through genuine collaboration and mutually beneficial partnerships; and
  • Commitment to the highest level of integrity, leadership and the pursuit of excellence.

The award was named in honor of the late LaMarr Billups, a respected campus and community leader. Known as a competent ambassador between the university and the city, he was intensely committed to important civic institutions and social issues. At UW-Madison, he was Director of the Office of Community Relations and Senior Special Assistant to Chancellors David Ward and John Wiley.

View the full 2021 LaMarr Billups Community-University Engagement Award ceremony online and learn more about the award, including past winners, here.