Going above and beyond for the profession

by Berenger M Communications Officer AVA
11 Jul 2017

Last month at the AVA Annual Conference, 10 veterinarians were recognised for their commitment to the profession and the Association at the AVA Awards ceremony.

The Gilruth Prize is the AVA’s most prestigious award and this year’s recipient was Peter Chenoweth. Having worked in veterinary science for more than 40 years, Professor Chenoweth is renowned for his knowledge and experience in animal reproduction and education. He is a former AVA Board member and has authored over 200 publications in animal reproduction, veterinary education, and animal welfare. Professor Chenoweth has established animal andrology laboratories in the USA and Australia and he is also a founding member of the Consortium of Veterinary Andrology Laboratories and the Association of Applied Animal Andrology.

The Kendall Oration is presented at the AVA Annual Conference when it is hosted in Canberra or Melbourne and this year’s recipient was John Charles Milne. Professor Milne has extensive experience in disease management, having served as the Chief Veterinary Officer in Scotland and helping to oversee the response to a foot and mouth disease outbreak in the UK. In 2014, he became Victoria’s Chief Veterinary Officer and has made it a priority to develop response plans to potential pest or disease outbreaks. He has also served as the Chief Veterinarian in other countries when disease outbreaks have occurred.

The recipient of the 2017 Kesteven Medal was the late Rick Speare. With dual degrees in veterinary science and human medicine, Professor Speare worked as a clinician in both fields and was committed to raising awareness of the One Health concept throughout the world. His most recent work was in the Solomon Islands and New Guinea where he facilitated strengthening research capacity in those countries. He had a long association with James Cook University, produced 301 publications and his research challenges were focused on improving the health of human and animal life.

The winner of the President’s Award was Anne Fawcett who graduated as a vet from the University of Sydney in 2005 after already establishing a career as a journalist. Dr. Fawcett has been active in the education of veterinary students at the University of Sydney in ethics and professional practice. She is a Director of the University of Sydney veterinary intern mentoring program, a participant in the AVA’s new graduate mentoring program, and founder of The vet cookbook. Recently, Dr. Fawcett co-authored Veterinary ethics: navigating tough cases.

Recognised for their outstanding service to the AVA were David Beggs and David Johnson, who were both awarded Fellowships.

David Beggs has more than 25 years of experience as a cattle veterinarian and is the author of several computer software programs, including the widely used ‘Dairy Data’ and ‘Bull Reporter’ and he set up and moderates the ACV ListServ. More recently, he has been coordinating the AVA response to the Bovine Johne’s Disease review, is the Scientific Officer for Australian Cattle Veterinarians and teaches at the University of Melbourne Veterinary School.

David Johnson has been the Chief Veterinarian to Equestrian Australia and the London Olympic team and he has been dedicated to disease prevention surveillance. In the late 80s and early 90s, he served on the NSW Division Executive Committee, EVA Executive Committee, and the AVA Board. In 1993, he was elected as President of EVA and after that, he served as an AVA Policy Councillor for a further 10 years. He also represented the AVA in the NSW racing licence court case of 2013–2014.

Meritorious Service Awards were presented to four members who have shown long-term service to the AVA, divisions, branches and special interest groups (SIGs). Included this year were former EVA presidents Nathan Anthony and Ian Fulton, Tanya Stephens, who has been a driving force of the animal welfare and ethics SIG, and former NSW Division president, Geoffrey Tomkins (not present).

As the 2017 recipient of the Don Kerr Student Award, Nell Wharton was recognised for her outstanding academic achievement and commitment to cattle medicine.

Senior Firefighter Anthony Hatch was announced as this year’s Honorary Member. His work has resulted in the training of over 400 veterinarians and countless more emergency personnel being trained to safely manage equine emergency rescues in Australia.

Congratulations to all our 2017 Award winners.

Going the extra mile – a special note of thanks

The AVA Awards are made possible thanks to the commitment and guidance of those who volunteer to be part of the Awards Committee. The AVA sincerely thanks Professor Keith Leslie Hughes AO, who has served on the Awards Committee for 21 years, including 14 years as Chair of the Committee.

Professor Hughes has shown commitment to the veterinary profession and the association throughout his career, which started in 1959 following graduation from the University of Queensland School of Veterinary Science. He immediately joined the AVA and has remained a member for 58 years.

He has shown unwavering dedication to the AVA, serving on the AVJ editorial committee and assuming the role of honorary editor, a position he held for an unprecedented 18 years. Professor Hughes has won two AVA Awards in the past, including the prestigious Gilruth Prize in 1990; he became a Fellow of the AVA in 1979.

During his career, he worked at the University of Melbourne as a senior lecturer in microbiology and in 1990 he became Head of the School of Veterinary Science at UQ, a position he held until his retirement at the end of 2000. Professor Hughes also found time to be Chief Clinical Examiner for overseas veterinarians seeking registration in Australia, a position he only relinquished in 2010.

Professor Hughes has always regarded the AVA awards as different from civil awards because they are predominantly for service to the veterinary profession. We thank Professor Hughes for his commitment and support of the AVA, and especially the AVA Awards over the past two decades.

This article appeared in the July 2017 issue of the Australian Veterinary Journal

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