Updated 08/09/20. Keep checking the site often as updates will be made as speakers are confirmed.
Dr. Tannetje Crocker
Be sure to check out her session
Heal, Spay, Love on August 14 at 1:00 pm.
As an individual, as a community, and as a pandemic essential worker, you and I have learned so much in this veterinary career. Join me as we discuss some of the highs and lows. Come ready to listen to my journey and share your own experiences. Make sure to download the FREE pdf. that is available prior to the event. See you there!
- Dr. Crocker
About Dr. Tannetje Crocker:
She is a 2009 graduate from the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine. Growing up Dr. Crocker was always passionate about horses and was inspired to become a veterinarian. Since graduation she has worked as an equine ambulatory vet, small animal general practitioner, and emergency veterinarian. She currently practices in Grapevine, Texas at Northwest Animal Hospital and the Animal Emergency Hospital of North Texas. She is passionate about mentorship and empowering both veterinary students and young veterinarians to embrace the profession and find joy and success. For the past two years she can be found traveling and speaking at veterinary schools and veterinary events to share her message of encouragement. In her free time, Dr. Crocker can be found spending time with her family and friends riding horses and enjoying the outdoors.
In alphabetical order
Dr. Michael Apley
Professor, Kansas State University
Track: Production Animal
Dr. Apley is a veterinarian with a PhD in physiology (pharmacology). He is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology. His practice background includes general practice in central Kansas and a feedlot consulting/contract research practice based in Colorado. Dr. Apley was on the College of Veterinary Medicine faculty at Iowa State University for nine years through 2005. He is currently a professor in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences at Kansas State University. Dr. Apley works with veterinarians and producers throughout the United States concerning the use of drugs in food animals and also in the area of beef cattle health with an emphasis on feedlots.
Dr. Apley teaches in the beef production medicine, large animal medicine, clinical pharmacology and pharmacology courses. His research interests include infectious disease, antibiotic efficacy and resistance, antibiotic stewardship, drug residues, and applications of drugs in food animals. In 2016, he and collaborators started a 5-year study funded by the FDA which focuses on quantifying antibiotic use in feedlots and dairies.
Dr. Apley is a past president of the Academy of Veterinary Consultants, the American College of Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology, and the American Association of Bovine Practitioners. In 2015, Dr. Apley was appointed as a voting member of the Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria. In 2019 he was reappointed to another 3-year term.
Ms. April Bays
Emergency Room Supervisor, Bend Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Center
Track: Emergency & Critical Care
April has worked in veterinary medicine since 2001, and became certified in 2007. She earned her Veterinary Technician Specialty in Emergency and Critical Care in 2013. Her interests include pain management, metabolic, endocrine and respiratory emergencies. She has lectured for her local Veterinary Technician program, mentors hopeful VTS applicants, and is an ambassador for the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society. She loves sharing her enthusiasm with technicians writing for journals, blogs, co-authoring a chapter in the Veterinary Technician’s Manual for Small Animal Emergency and Critical Care, and speaking at conferences across the country. More than anything, April enjoys educating technicians and pushing them to elevate themselves higher than they ever knew possible.
Dr. Katie Berlin
Associate Veterinarian, Shiloh Veterinary Hospital
Dr. Berlin is an associate veterinarian at Shiloh Veterinary Hospital, a Fear Free Certified®, an American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA)-accredited private practice in York, PA. She graduated from Williams College in 2000 with a degree in Art History and worked in art museums before going back to school and earning her DVM from Cornell in 2009. She is a blogger, certified personal trainer and marathoner, and co-host of the Veterinary Super Friends podcast with Carrie Jurney of Not One More Vet. Through podcasting and her website, The Vet Reset, she hopes to help veterinary professionals find sustainability and happiness by focusing on both mental and physical wellness.
Mr. Stephen Cital
Co-Founder, Veterinary Cannabinoid Academy
Track: Alternative Medicine
Stephen originally started college to become a registered human nurse but did not enjoy working with humans as patients. Instead Stephen became an RVT and then obtained certification as a Surgical Research Anesthetist through the Academy of Surgical Research followed by the designation of a Registered Laboratory Animal Technician through the American Association of Laboratory Animal Science soon after. Most recently he became one of the first Veterinary Cannabis Counselor Specialists in the country while continuing to educate veterinary professionals on safe and effective use of cannabis in the clinical setting, and one of a handful of Certified Veterinary Pain Practitioners in the country. Stephen is the Executive Director for the Academy of Laboratory Animal Veterinary Technicians and Nurses, holding a Veterinary Technician Specialist certification in Laboratory Animal Medicine (LAM). He was most recently employed at ElleVet Sciences as the Director of Education and Development but is now a private consultant. He occupies his remaining time writing book chapters and is an award-winning international lecturer. He was also a column coordinator for one of Nature’s journals and is the primary editor for a textbook on cannabis therapy being published by Springer Nature. He enjoys teaching and serves on advisory boards for veterinary technician college programs, is on the editorial advisory board for DVM360, a key opinion leader for multiple pharmaceutical/device companies, COO for the Veterinary Anesthesia Nerds and Veterinary Cannabis Academy Facebook and webpages. Stephen was also the 2020 Chair for the Committee of Veterinary Technician Specialties. He has served on several professional organization boards and committees, including NAVTA, IVAPM, CaRVTA and SLAVT.
Dr. Craig Clifford
Medical Oncologist, Hope Veterinary Specialists
Dr. Craig Clifford is a graduate of Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine and received an MS degree in Animal Science/Virology from the University of Delaware. After completing an internship and a medical oncology residency at the University of Pennsylvania, he became a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Oncology) in 2003. He is a medical oncologist, Director of Clinical Studies and co-owner of Hope Veterinary Specialists in Malvern, Pennsylvania.
He is active in clinical research within a referral setting and serves as an advisory board member with both industry and non-profit foundations. He is a renowned oncologist who has authored/co-authored over 60 papers and book chapters. He is a frequent lecturer at major veterinary meetings in the USA and abroad. Dr. Clifford has served on the VCS executive board, ACVIM Exam Rating Committee, Residency Training and Credentials Committee, Oncology Pathology Working Group, Co-chair of the Standards of Excellence in Residency Education Task Force and an Examiner for the Australian Scientist’s Oncology Specialty Exam.
Ms. Julia Conny
Registered Veterinary Technician, Internal Medicine Team Lead, Veterinary Referral Associates
Track: Internal Medicine
Julia is a Registered Veterinary Technician and the Internal Medicine Team Lead at Veterinary Referral Associates in Gaithersburg, Maryland. She created and manages the Advanced Pet Diabetic Monitoring Program with Tina Conway, DVM, MA, DACVIM (SAIM). Her veterinary background originated in general practice before receiving her Veterinary Technology degree and licensure in 2016. From there, Julia continued in a variety of general practices with a focus on management and technician team leadership.
Her passion in veterinary medicine is now concentrated on advancing at-home management of canine and feline Diabetes Mellitus. By using the FreeStyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System, Julia is working to progress traditional glucose monitoring with an option that is more comprehensive, intuitive and stress-free for pet owners. Julia is also incorporating the FreeStyle Libre into the VRA Critical Care department.
When not educating diabetic pet owners, she enjoys working on crossword puzzles, listening to podcasts and watching bad spy movies. She lives in Baltimore with her ginormous Doberman, Norman Gnocchi, and little lady cat, Cannoli.
Dr. Tina Conway
Staff Internal Medicine Department, Veterinary Referral Associates
Track: Internal Medicine
Dr. Conway graduated from Michigan State University in 1995. Between 1995-96 she had rotating internship positions in Small Animal Medicine and Surgery at the Animal Medical Center in New York City, New York. In 1996 she took a residency in Small Animal Internal Medicine at Michigan State University until 1999. Dr. Conway achieved her board certification in Small Animal Internal Medicine by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. In 2001 she began her career at Veterinary Referral Associates in Gaithersburg, Maryland as Staff Internal Medicine Doctor. In 2014 she developed and managed Radio-Iodine (i-131), a treatment program for hyperthyroid cats at Veterinary Referral Associates.
Dr. Barry David
Associate Veterinarian, Hagyard Equine Medical Institute
A Colorado native, Dr. Barry David received both his BS and DVM from Colorado State University. Dr. David was an intern here at Hagyard Davidson McGee Equine Hospital and remained at Hagyard’s as an associate ambulatory veterinarian for three years. After practicing in Virginia and Dubai, Barry completed a residency in large animal internal medicine at Texas A&M University and then accepted a position as internal medicine specialist here at Hagyard Davidson McGee. Dr. David then practiced in both Virginia and Florida before rejoining the staff at the McGee Medical Center. Dr. David has written several book chapters and journal articles in addition to speaking at a number of state veterinary meetings.
Dr. Susanne Heartsill
Veterinary Services Manager, CEVA
Susanne Heartsill is a 1999 graduate of the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine and the founder of Downtown Animal Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. After 20 years of clinical practice, Dr. Heartsill joined Ceva Animal Health as a Veterinary Services Manager and Level 3, Fear Free Certified Veterinarian. With a special interest in cardionephrology, Dr. Heartsill’s other areas of passion include the human/animal bond, dermatology, parasitology, zoonotic diseases and dentistry.
Dr. Michael Hickey
Cardiologist, CVCA Cardiac Care for Pets
Dr. Hickey is a life-long Marylander. He was educated at the University of Maryland, College Park, and the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. He was fortunate to merge his childhood dream of becoming a veterinarian with an interest in cardiovascular medicine developed in college to achieve ACVIM board-cerWficaWon in cardiology in 2013. He completed his residency with CVCA-Cardiac Care for Pets under the mentorship of Dr. Steve Rosenthal. His professional interests include heart failure management and client communicaWon and health literacy.
Ms. Julie Hirsch
Education Coordinator/Medical Liaison, North Penn Animal Hospital
Julie graduated from Manor College in 1997 where she was class valedictorian with a 4.0 GPA. She was licensed as a Certified Veterinary Technician the same year. In 2000, Julie earned her Veterinary Technician Specialty certification in Emergency and Critical Care. At that time she was 1 of only 86 in the U.S. to obtain this specialty.
Julie joined Valley Central Veterinary Referral Center in 1997 as a Veterinary Surgical and Internal Medicine Technician. In 1998 she served as Head Technician and later Practice Manager of Metropolitan Veterinary Associates and Emergency Services in Norristown, PA, one of Pennsylvania’s leading multi-specialty referral practices. Julie was responsible for managing, directing and coordinating all clinical and administrative operations and support staff.
After spending 12 years at Metropolitan, Julie went on to become the Chief Operating Officer for Swedesboro Animal Hospital and then Saint Francis Veterinary Center.
Julie then served as the Chief External Affairs Officer at Saint Francis Veterinary Center. Her executive portfolio included conceptualization and execution of all external communications efforts with key constituencies; including referring veterinarians, local governments, industry stakeholders, community organizations, pet owners and the public at large. During her tenure, Saint Francis earned status as a Finalist for Referral Practice of the Year, North America, awarded by the American Animal Hospital Association.
Julie joined North Penn Animal Hospital in May 2016 as the Education Coordinator/Medical Liaison. In this role she works directly with the Medical Director, Practice and Nurse Managers to ensure North Penn maintains the industry’s Standard of Care. Julie coordinates all in-house and off site CE for the Veterinarians and Technicians, creates training outlines, worksheets, case reports and encourages the growth and potential of the staff at North Penn Animal Hospital.
Dr. Jessica Kielb
Criticalist, Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Center
Track: Emergency & Critical Care
Jessica was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago and attended veterinary school at The University of Illinois. After school she completed a rotating internship in Chicago and then moved south for a residency in Emergency and Critical Care at North Carolina State University. After completing her residency and ACVECC credentialing exam, she moved to Philadelphia to work as a full time criticalist at VSEC in Levittown & Philadelphia.
Jessica has a grey dog named Byrdie and a grey cat named Lou. In her spare time, she enjoys yoga, running and traveling with her husband.
Dr. Eric Klaphake
Associate Veterinarian, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Dr. Klaphake was born and raised in Nebraska, and was a graduate of Kansas State University (1997), and worked 12 years in exotic/small animal private practice and performing various zoo relief work, split up by a three-year residency at University of Tennessee in Avian and Zoological Medicine and Surgery. He has been the associate veterinarian at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs since 2010. He has enjoyed working with wolverines, American martens, lesser scaup (ducks), sagebrush songbirds, sage grouse, pika, various reptiles/amphibians, and Cape vultures in the wild. In his spare time, he likes trail running, birding, and spending time with his son Xavier.
Dr. Micah Kohles
Vice President of Technical Services and Research, Oxbow Animal Health
Dr. Micah Kohles, DVM, MPA, earned his DVM from Kansas State University in 2001 and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Nebraska-Omaha in 2010. Dr. Kohles joined Oxbow Animal Health as VP of Technical Services and Research in 2006. Additionally, he is owns and actively practices at Woodland Animal Hospital and serves as an adjunct professor appointment at the University of Nebraska School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Kohles is a frequent lecturer at veterinary schools and conferences domestically and internationally and was VMX Exotics speaker of the year in 2020. He is an active member of many professional organizations and serves World Pet Association Board of Directors, chair of the Nebraska Board of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery and in the past, he has served on the boards of the Nebraska Veterinary Medical Association and the Lincoln Children’s Zoo. Most importantly he enjoys spending time with his wife Ashley, daughter Taiya, and two boys, Tegan and Kai.
Dr. John Lewis
Co-Owner, Veterinary Dentistry Specialists
Founder, Silo Academy Education Center
Dr. John Lewis obtained his VMD from University of Pennsylvania in 1997 and spent 5 years in general practice prior to returning to the University of Pennsylvania for a residency in dentistry and oral surgery. Dr. Lewis became a diplomate of the American Veterinary Dental College (AVDC) in 2005. At the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Lewis rose to the rank of Associate Professor of Dentistry and Oral Surgery. Dr. Lewis also served as Residency Director and Chief of Surgery of Ryan Veterinary Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Lewis is Past President of the American Veterinary Dental Society. Dr. Lewis is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Veterinary Dentistry, and writes a monthly column for Veterinary Practice News. In 2019, Dr. Lewis opened Veterinary Dentistry Specialists and Silo Academy Education Center, both located in Chadds Ford, PA.
Dr. Chee Kin Lim
Clinical Associate Professor in Diagnostic Imaging, Purdue University
Dr. Lim graduated with a DVM in 2004 and completed his veterinary diagnostic imaging residency at the University of Pretoria. He also completed his master’s degree with a thesis in veterinary echocardiography. He is a European recognized specialist in diagnostic imaging and has served as a radiology faculty at the Purdue University since 2013. He is currently the director of the ECVDI and co-supervisor of the ACVR residency programs at Purdue University. His clinical and research interests include ultrasonography, echocardiography and CT imaging of trauma in small animals but never tires of looking at radiographs or MRI studies. To date, he has authored and co-authored over 30 peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Lim also frequently travels within the USA and internationally to deliver lectures and conduct imaging workshops.
Dr. Jennifer Lopez
Professional Services Veterinarian, Northeast Zone, Antech Diagnostics and Imaging
Born and raised in Miami Beach, Florida, Dr. Jennifer Lopez was raised as a “Florida baby”. Growing up, she knew she would be a veterinarian as she would care for her seven pet Rottweilers, blue and gold macaw and the various animals that her family rescued. Dr. Lopez began her veterinary career as a technician at the University of Florida in the Dermatology department. She helped in both clinical and research departments of dermatology, the ICU and their blood donor ward. She worked closely with the dermatologist in charge of clinical trials with their in-house high IgE research beagles, where she was a part of developing the model for atopic dermatitis. Her passion grew for clinical research and skin diseases, resulting in being published in several journals such as Veterinary Dermatology and American Veterinary Journal of Research.
She then attended St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine in Grenada, the West Indies where she received her DVM degree. Dr. Lopez stayed active in community programs to educate the local Grenadians on pet care, parasite control and preventive medicine, representing both Zoetis and VCA as a student ambassador. After graduating from veterinary school, she began general practice in Miami, while continuing her education and receiving her MBA in Multi-Sector Health Management. She then took a position with VCA as a medical director for a 24-hour, 12 doctor general practice and emergency hospital in Pittsburgh, PA.
Her varied veterinary interests include dermatology, surgery and emergency care. She loves to interact with clients and pets which is why recently left clinical practice to take on the position of Professional Services Veterinarian at Antech. Dr. Lopez provides in-clinic professional support to the entire hospital team by educating on medical relevance of new and existing products and how to use best medicine practices utilizing Antech Diagnostics. She excels at providing consultative services to practice owners and veterinary staff in order to support the goals of practice including growth, acquisition, and retention.
Dr. Lopez fur babies include two French bulldogs, Roxy Razzle Dazzle and King Pickle, and a miniature red poodle, Clifford. Her hobbies include gardening, cooking, scuba diving, all water sports and traveling. She enjoys learning the histories, cultures of the world and exposing herself to new languages and people.
Dr. Evelyn MacKay
Clinical Assistant Professor, Texas A&M University
Track: Production Animal
Dr. Evelyn MacKay grew up in Wisconsin and attended the University of Missouri for veterinary school. She completed an internship at the Ohio State University before a food-animal emphasis internal medicine residency at Texas A&M University. She stayed on at Texas A&M as a clinical assistant professor of food animal medicine & field service. She seems food animal patients in the clinic and in the field, and has a special interest in small ruminants, neonates, and pet pigs.
Dr. Anna Massie
Assistant Professor of Small Animal Orthopedic Surgery, University of Pennsylvania
Dr. Massie is a native of Illinois and completed her DVM at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. Following graduation, she completed a small animal rotating internship at Purdue University, a small animal surgical internship at North Houston Veterinary Specialists, and a surgical residency at the University of California-Davis. She remained at the University of California as an orthopedic surgery staff veterinarian and became a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons in 2019. She then joined faculty at the University of Pennsylvania in the fall of 2019 as an Assistant Professor of Small Animal Orthopedic Surgery.
Dr. Massie’s research interests include bone quality assessment and translation of the animal model to human implant design, specifically the unique properties osteoporotic and brittle bone. Clinically, she enjoys angular limb deformity, joint resurfacing procedures, and fracture repair.
Dr. Dani McVety
Founder/CEO, Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice
Dr. Dani McVety founded Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice just 3 months after graduation from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine. Now an Inc 5000 company, and 6 time recipient of the Gator 100 award, Lap of Love has visited the homes of over 150,000 families, with a nationwide network of over 120 passionate doctors and a full time interdisciplinary support staff. Their team is dedicated to making the end of life experience for pets, and the people that love them, as dignified and peaceful as possible. Dr. McVety has become widely known among veterinary students nationally and internationally for her ability to authentically share her personal struggles through veterinary school. Her underlying message is one of accountability, hard work, and a focus on entrepreneurism.
Dr. McVety and Lap of Love have been featured on numerous local, national, and professional media outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, Huffington Post, and many more. She is the youngest recipient of both the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine’s Distinguished Young Alumni Award (2013) and the Florida Veterinary Medical Association's President's Award (2014). She was honored to also receive the Tampa Bay Up and Comer’s 40 under 40 Hall of Fame award and the Pet Industry Woman of the Year in 2017.
With a home base and business headquarters in Tampa, FL, Dr. McVety’s most prized moments occur at home, with her husband Dominic, children Baron (12), Collins (8), and Lion (1), and non-human kids including 2 dogs, Blitzen and Grace, and horse, Vanna.
Dr. Daniel O. Morris
Professor and Chief of the Dermatology and Allergy Service, Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Dr. Morris is currently Professor and Chief of the Dermatology and Allergy service at the Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. He received his doctoral degree from Kansas State University in 1992, and completed dermatology/allergy residency training at Michigan State University in 1995. Following residency training, he joined the dermatology/allergy practices at Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists in Houston and Austin, TX where he spent 3 years in private referral practice. He then joined the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania in 1998 and completed a Masters of Public Health Degree at Penn in 2009.
His primary research interests focus on infectious diseases of the skin that are transmissible between people and their pets. He is board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Dermatology and is a Past-President of the American Academy of Veterinary Dermatology. He currently serves as a Senior Editor for the international journal Veterinary Dermatology.
Dr. Jennifer Morris
Criticalist, Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Center
Track: Emergency & Critical Care
Dr. Jennifer Morris is originally from Massachusetts. She attended Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and then completed a rotating internship in Small Animal Medicine and Surgery at Ocean State Veterinary Specialists in Rhode Island. After completing her internship, she worked as an Associate Emergency Veterinarian at Ocean State Veterinary Specialists for two years prior to completing a three-year residency in Emergency and Critical Care at Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care in Las Vegas, NV. She passed the ACVECC credentialing exam after residency and moved to Philadelphia where she currently works as a criticalist at VSEC in Levittown and Philadelphia.
Dr. Yoko Nagamori
Veterinary Specialist- Parasitology, Zoetis
Dr. Yoko Nagamori is originally from Tokyo, Japan where she earned her first undergraduate degree in Geosciences. She moved to the United States in 2005 and completed another undergraduate degree in Biology at Augustana University, Sioux Falls, SD, followed by studying for her DVM degree at Iowa State University in 2013. Upon graduation she immediately started her parasitology residency program at the National Center for Veterinary Parasitology at Oklahoma State University and completed her training with an MS degree in 2016. Dr. Nagamori became a board-certified Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists in Parasitology in 2017. Before joining Zoetis in 2020, Dr. Nagamori was a Clinical Assistant Professor and Section Head of Parasitology Diagnostic Laboratory at College of Veterinary Medicine, Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, OK. In this position she managed the diagnostic laboratory, taught veterinary students and mentored parasitology residents while also presenting oral and poster research abstracts and providing local and regional educational events. Now Dr. Nagamori serves as a veterinary specialist in parasitology within Zoetis PetCare, Veterinary Professional Services.
Dr. Michael Petty
Owner, Arbor Pointe Veterinary Hospital and Animal Pain Center
Michael Petty is a 1980 graduate of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State University. He has turned his lifelong interest in pain management into a pain referral practice. He is certified in pain management, medical acupuncture and rehab. He is the author of Dr. Petty’s Pain Relief for dogs, and a co-author of the AAHA/AAFP Pain Management Guidelines. He is happy to be here to share his knowledge with you so that you too can better help your patients in pain.
Dr. William Saxon
Field Medical Specialist, IDEXX
Dr. Saxon received his DVM degree from Iowa State University in 1986. He completed his internship at the Animal Medical Center in New York City followed by residencies at the Animal Medical Center and University of Pennsylvania and is board certified by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and the American College of Veterinary Emergency Medicine and Critical Care. He practiced in the San Francisco area and has also owned an intensive care unit in Washington DC. He has published on burn injury, the acute abdomen, feline cardiomyopathy, drug toxicities and is a coauthor of the Manual of Small Animal Emergency and Critical Care. He has been an IDEXX employee since 2007 as an internal medicine and telemedicine consultant and as a speaker at regional, national, and international conferences.
Ms. Donna Sisak
Veterinary Technician Specialist, Seattle Veterinary Specialists, Blue Pearl
Donna Sisak has been a Licensed Veterinary Nurse Specialist in anesthesia/analgesia for 14 years and has worked in the veterinary profession for 35 years. Her clinical experience includes general practice, academia and currently specialty medicine. Upon graduating from Harcum College, Bryn Mawr, PA in 1991 – she began her career at the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary Hospital, in Philadephia, PA, as an ICU/general ward nurse. In 1995 Donna transferred to the Anesthesia Department in pursuit of learning more about a lifelong interest – anesthesia/analgesia. It was during this time she was bitten by the teaching “bug”.
During 2000 – 2008 she became Department Supervisor of Harcum College Veterinary Nursing Students’ two-week clinical anesthesia rotation in addition to teaching an 8-week fundamentals of anesthesia/analgesia course to second-year nursing students at Harcum College. During this time she was the recipient of the Veterinary Teaching Award for six consecutive years.
In the spring of 2008, she pursued her professional interests in specialty medicine in the Pacific Northwest where she has been a member of Seattle Veterinary Specialists (SVS) in Kirkland, WA. Her role at SVS has been as an anesthesia/analgesia specialist – performing and training anesthesia/analgesia – in addition to other aspects of veterinary medicine – to all in-house staff and the local veterinary community.
In February 2017, she became a member of the Aratana Technician Council of Experts (ACTE) Pain Board. As of 2020 she continues her work with ELANCO educating and advocating for safe anesthetic/analgesic care.
Her lecture experience includes IVECCS, AVMA, AAHA, ACVC, NJVMA, Annual Penn Conference, WSVMA, Annual SVS Spring Symposium, and local/in-house CE events.
Her passion for the profession/patients and teaching makes her a great champion for veterinary nurses and patients.
Dr. Claire Underwood
Assistant Professor of Large Animal Diagnostic Imaging, New Bolton Center, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
Subsequent to graduating from Cambridge University, Dr Underwood undertook a surgery internship and at University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center. She then ‘converted to the dark side’ and spent two years in Dr. Virginia Reef’s ultrasound and cardiology fellowship. In 2010 she joined the University of Queensland, Australia, where she completed a PhD and set up the equine ultrasound and cardiology service at their new hospital. She returned to University of Pennsylvania’s ultrasound and cardiology service in 2017. Her current research includes investigating temporary cardiac pacing, novel methods in musculoskeletal ultrasound and telehealth.
Ms. Alexis Wells
Senior Practice Coach, Veterinary Growth Partners
Alexis Wells, CVPM, CCFP, holds an Associate’s degree in Criminal Justice and Psychology and a Bachelor’s degree in Biology. She has always had a passion for providing the highest standards in animal care. This began early in life as a competitive equestrian and continued as she entered the veterinary industry in 2006 as a Technician Assistant. As a Senior Practice Coach with Veterinary Growth Partners, Alexis takes pride in working with veterinary practices across the country to provide not only practice management support in all facets of the business but also to assist veterinary practice owners with creating a plan to successfully execute their vision.
As a self-proclaimed life-long-learner, she continues to expand her knowledge base, staying on the cutting edge of the field to provide the highest level of coaching to veterinary leadership teams. Alexis received her Certified Veterinary Practice Managers designation in 2019 and is also a Certified Compassion Fatigue Professional. She speaks nationally to veterinary leaders on marketing, finance, and strategic planning.
Dr. Emily Westphal
Associate Veterinary Cardiologist, CVCA Cardiac Care for Pets
Dr. Emily Westphal attended Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, TX, prior to attending veterinary school at Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS. After receiving her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine, she completed a rotating small animal internship at North Carolina State University. She returned to Kansas State for a cardiology residency program and received her board certification in cardiology in 2011. Dr. Westphal moved to the Richmond area shortly after and has been in private practice referral medicine ever since. She has a strong interest in acute and chronic management of heart disease (canine and feline), diagnosis and treatment of congenital heart defects, and arrhythmia management.
Dr. Westphal’s interests in her spare time include playing golf, being active in her church, playing the cello, hiking, traveling, wine tasting and crafting. She also enjoys spending time with her husband and two young daughters, and their two dogs, Jackson and Reagan.
Dr. Michael Willard
Professor Emeritus, Texas A&M University, College of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Willard is a 1975 graduate of the Texas A&M University, College of Veterinary Medicine. He did his internship and Masters degree at Kansas State University and his internal medicine residency at Michigan State University. After that, Dr. Willard held faculty appointments at Michigan State university, Mississippi State university, and Texas A&M University. He is currently Professor Emeritus of Small Animal Clinical Sciences and specializes in gastroenterology, hepatology, pancreatology and endoscopy (flexible and rigid). Dr. Willard has extensive experience with protein-losing enteropathies and gastrointestinal ulceration/erosion of racing Alaskan sled dogs. He is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine. Dr. Willard has given over 3,800 hours of invited post-graduate continuing education lectures (nationally and internationally), has over 80 referred publications, and has over 150 book chapters in print.
Ms. Jessica Wilson-Hess
Veterinary Technician Specialist, VCA Metzger Animal Hospital
Jessica Hess is a Certified Veterinary Technician and Veterinary Technician Specialist in small animal internal medicine. She obtained her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in animal science from Penn State University and her Associate's degree in Veterinary Technology from St. Petersburg College. She is currently employed at VCA Metzger Animal Hospital in State College, PA, and divides her days between clinical pathology, nutrition, and internal medicine specialties. This unique position allows her to combine her passion for both client and patient centered medicine with the intellectual challenges of clinical pathology. In addition, she enjoys providing continuing education on topics focused on the interface of in-house diagnostics, advanced nursing skills and medical case management.