VMCVM hosted a Public Health + Wellness Virtual CE Webinar Series on Nov. 17-19, 2020. These events were created in response to a challenging and difficult time and as an acknowledgement that we are all dynamic, constantly evolving people—and so is our college. We are committed to self-improvement, devoted to compassion, and dedicated to, simply stated, being and doing better for each other and for ourselves.

It is possible that you, as others who have attended these events have attested, feel a connection as you view these presentations. We hope that, if even in some small way, you feel you are validated, more comfortable in your own skin, better prepared to take the next step, or perhaps more confident in who you are or who you hope to become.

We sincerely thank the individuals who took the time to share their stories and experiences in these presentations. Thank you for taking us on your journey, which has equipped us with a greater awareness and preparedness to proceed on our own.

CE credit was given to live participants. No CE credit will be given for viewing these videos now.

TUESDAY, NOV. 17, 2020
7–8:30 p.m.

"COVID Impacts on the Veterinary Community"

This CE webinar and moderated panel discussion hosted an impressive group of individuals (listed below) from a wide array of public health entities. These individuals joined together to develop a survey aimed at better understanding the impacts of COVID-19 on the veterinary community. This webinar introduced the survey and the important issues and concerns that led to its creation, with a main focus and outcome of providing the development of programming to support mental health needs in the veterinary profession.

Moderator: Dr. Laura Hungerford, DVM, MPH, PhD, CPH
Department Head, Department of Population Health Sciences

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Transcript available upon request


Virginia Tech College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, Department of Human Development and Family Science

Dr. Jody Russon
Krista Bland

Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, Veterinary Social Work

Trish Haak, LCSW

Virginia Department of Health

Dr. Julia Murphy
Dr. Brandy Darby

Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Dr. Carolynn Bissett

D.C. Health

Dr. Nivedita Ravi-Caldwell

Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH)

Dr. Katharyn Kryda

Chair, FVMA Professional Wellness & Wellbeing Committee & Medical Director at Country Oaks Animal Hospital, New Port Richey, FL

Dr. Philip Richmond

Veterinary Relations Manager - Friendship Hospital For Animals, Washington, D.C.

Kathryn Leef

WEDNESDAY, NOV. 18, 2020
7–8:30 p.m.

"A Walk In Our Shoes: Navigating Veterinary Medicine as a Minority"

In this CE webinar and wellness discussion, six alumni panelists and four student moderators, one from each DVM class, navigated an important conversation and discussion on their experiences as minorities in the veterinary community and profession.

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Transcript available upon request


Mario Dance (DVM '90)

Mario Dance (DVM '90)

B.S., biochemistry, nutrition, 1986, Virginia Tech; DVM, 1990, VMCVM; M.S., pharmacology, Virginia Commonwealth University, 2011

Dr. Dance spent five years in private practice before transitioning into lab animal medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University, working first in the Department of Pharmacology/Toxicology and currently as a clinical veterinarian in the Division of Animal Resources, a position from which he will retire in December 2020. He also serves as a consultant clinical veterinarian with Virginia State University, Randolph-Macon College, University of Richmond, and the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center.

Though born in Japan to a Panamanian mother, Dr. Dance spent his youth in California and Virginia. He calls Virginia home, but has traveled extensively doing mission work with the church.

Tim Fan (DVM '95)

Tim Fan (DVM '95)

After earning a DVM at VMCVM, Dr. Fan completed a small animal rotating internship at the University of Illinois, followed by a small animal internal medicine residency at Cornell University in 1998. He returned to the University of Illinois to receive advanced clinical training in medical oncology and completed board certification in internal medicine in 2000 and in medical oncology in 2001.

Following his clinical training, Dr. Fan completed a PhD in tumor immunology in 2007, investigating the anti-cancer effects of cytokine manipulation strategies for the treatment of locally invasive and metastatic tumors in mouse models of disease. He now serves as the principal investigator of the Comparative Oncology Research Laboratory in the Small Animal Clinic, Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine, where his research focuses on identifying molecular targets for improving treatment of canine and feline cancers.

A core member at the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology in the Anticancer Discovery from Pets to People theme, Dr. Fan also serves as a program leader for the Cancer Center at Illinois, which focuses on the inclusion of companion animals as sophisticated model systems to study cancer. Uniquely, Dr. Fan's training as a scientist and veterinarian enables him to rapidly investigate and translate novel treatment strategies in dogs and cats with spontaneously arising cancers and to conduct meaningful comparative oncology research that is hoped to eventually aid in treating cancer in both companion animals and humans.

Tosha Starke (DVM '04)

Tosha Starke (DVM '04)

Dr. Starke grew up on a grain and livestock farm in Brunswick County, Virginia. Pursuing her passions for caring for and healing animals, she earned a DVM from VMCVM in 2004. Since then, she has practiced in northern Virginia.

In a varied and well-rounded career, Dr. Starke has practiced as a chief of staff in two hospitals, provided medical care to shelter pets, and worked as an associate veterinarian. Her interests include dentistry and surgery, and she loves the interactions and relationships she builds with patients and clients.

Dr. Starke, who lives in northern Virginia with her husband, her children Christopher and Gabby, and their three dogs, Dozer, Bruce, and Kettle, believes that starting All Four PAWS Veterinary Relief was a wonderful way for her to balance her passions as a mom and as a veterinarian and to spend more time with her family.

Jaya Kannan (DVM '12, MPH '13)

Jaya Kannan (DVM '12, MPH '13)

Dr. Kannan grew up in Bethesda, Maryland, and graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park, prior to earning a DVM and MPH at VMCVM.

Based in Fairfax, Virginia, Dr. Kannan is a veterinary epidemiologist with Northrop Grumman Corporation, supporting the Defense Threat Reduction Agency with global biological threat reduction.

Melani French (DVM '14)

Melani French (DVM '14)

Dr. Melani French, who has wanted to be a veterinarian since she was 4 years old, has worked in the veterinary field since 2005 as a veterinary assistant, a receptionist, and now a doctor.

After completing a B.S. in biological sciences in 2010 at Hampton University, she graduated in the top 10 of her DVM class at VMCVM in 2014.

A native of Manassas, Virginia, Dr. French returned to her hometown to serve as a small animal general practitioner, a relief surgeon, and a lead veterinarian/medical director before deciding to pursue a better work-life balance.

Currently a relief veterinarian with the All Four Paws Veterinary Relief team, she has a range of professional interests, including surgery, dentistry, internal medicine, and advanced diagnostic imaging, such as radiology and ultrasound.

In her free time, Dr. French enjoys mentoring and coaching youth groups and hanging out with her family and friends and her two shih tzu-mixes, Tanner and Jake. She will quickly admit that she has a soft spot for WFDs—white fluffy dogs!

 Tierra Price (DVM '20, MPH '20)

Tierra Price (DVM '20, MPH '20)

Dr. Tierra Price is a recent graduate of VMCVM, where she served as vice president of her class and as president of the Women's Veterinary Development Leadership Initiative. Currently a community medicine veterinarian in Los Angeles, she has a wide variety of veterinary interests, including emergency/critical care, surgery, public health, and lab animal medicine.

In 2018, while a veterinary student, Dr. Price founded BlackDVM Network, a community that connects Black veterinary professionals for mentorship and advancing veterinary medicine. This safe space provides educational and networking opportunities for its members, as well as a sense of belonging. Dr. Price's commitment to highlighting Black veterinary professionals is directly related to her desire for a mentor with whom she could identify.

In her free time, Dr. Price loves dancing, yoga, reading, and soaking up the sun. Most importantly, she believes we all should be able to show up as our entire selves in our career, and she hopes to inspire others with her drive, authenticity, and confidence to boldly take on challenges in veterinary medicine.


Ajit Aryal (DVM Candidate '21)

Ajit Aryal (DVM Candidate '21)

Born and raised in Prince George's County, Maryland, Ajit Aryal attended Howard University, after which he and his wife moved to Brooklyn, New York, where they still keep their apartment. For four years, he worked at large, private practice small animal hospitals in New York City, before entering VMCVM.

Aryal hopes to combine skills acquired from working in the city with his DVM knowledge to bring quality, modern, and affordable care to his father's family-owned animal hospital in Prince George's County.

Corinne Woodson (DVM Candidate '22)

Corinne Woodson (DVM Candidate '22)

A native of Prince George's County, Maryland, Corinne Woodson is a member of the DVM Class of 2022. She hopes to become a general practitioner who works with exotic pets and small animals.

Chris Hollingsworth (DVM Candidate '23)

Chris Hollingsworth (DVM Candidate '23)

Chris Hollingsworth, a second-year veterinary student, is originally from Guyana, South America, but grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland. He hopes to pursue a residency in anatomic pathology, but still has a strong desire to serve his community as a small animal vetenarian.

 Marquis Harper (DVM Candidate '24)

Marquis Harper (DVM Candidate '24)

From the small town of Henderson, North Carolina, Marquis Harper found his passion for animal well-being while volunteering at a local animal shelter, which eventually led to working at the local animal hospital while in high school.

Harper, who earned a B.S. and M.S. in animal science from the illustrious North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, aspires to become a large animal veterinarian and eventually settle down in his hometown to open a low-cost veterinary clinic.

THURSDAY, NOV. 19, 2020
7–8:30 p.m.

Alumni Awards Presentation and CE Webinar:
"Opportunities in Veterinary Medicine"

In this awards presentation and CE webinar, Dean M. Daniel Givens presented alumni awards to Cindy Driscoll (DVM '87), recipient of the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Alumni Award, and Kari Meidenbauer (DVM '16, MPH '16), recipient of the 2020 Outstanding Recent Alumni Award. Drs. Driscoll and Meidenbauer, joined by their award nominators Dr. Valerie Ragan and Dr. Jessica Walters (PhD '14, DVM '16), then presented a combined CE webinar.

Together, these four outstanding DVMs, who have taken non-traditional paths in veterinary medicine, shared their experiences, available resources, and public health opportunities in veterinary medicine. Their combined experiences provide insight to interested students, as well as those considering a career transition.


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Transcript available upon request