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Raye Taylor, DVM, cHPV, (S/H/T), Senior (Chief) Veterinary Medical Officer-Rural Companion Animal Care, CARE: Companions and Animals for Reform and Equity

Dr. Taylor is a Red Lake Nation Ojibwe and Scottish descendant, lives in Minnesota with her husband and furry/scaly children. She is a graduate from St. George's University and the University of Minnesota for her doctorate in veterinary medicine. Her undergraduate degrees were achieved at Iowa State University in Microbiology, Zoology and Animal Ecology. Since veterinary school, she has training in Leadership at Cornell and is a certified Hospice and Palliative Care veterinarian. She has spent many years as a small animal and exotics practitioner in the Twin Cities areas, while also maintaining an equine regulatory position. She teaches surgery at the University of Minnesota. As well as volunteering regularly with community medicine student groups and various Minnesota Veterinary Medicine Association committees, she has also been appointed to the Minnesota Board of Veterinary Medicine, serving as Vice President. CARE: Companions and Animals for Reform and Equity, focusing on increasing access to care and knowledge for rural communities especially those of tribal nations, from within.

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Jody Lulich, DVM PhD, DACVIM, Professor, Internal Medicine, Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Jody Lulich holds the endowed Hills/Osborne Professorship in nephrology and urology at the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine.  He has earned an international reputation as a clinical investigator and educator in this field with over 500 publications in scientific journals and books.  His recent memoir, In the Company of Grace was published in 2023.  He is a classical pianist, lectures around the world, and lives in the Twin Cities with his husband, two dogs and one cat.




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Ruby L. Perry, DVM, MS, PhD, DACVR, Dean, Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Perry is also a professor of veterinary radiology. Prior to this, Dr. Perry served as interim dean and associate dean for academic affairs for the College of Veterinary Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health. She is an alumna and former president of the Tuskegee Veterinary Medical Alumni Association. From 1982 to 1988, Dr. Perry was an assistant veterinary radiology professor at Tuskegee. She also served as acting chair of the Department of Small Animal Medicine, Surgery and Radiology. In 1995, Dr. Perry served as section chief of diagnostic imaging at Michigan State University, a post she held for six years. She was also a tenured associate professor of veterinary radiology for more than 17 years before returning to Tuskegee. Dr. Perry received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 1977 from the Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine. She received a Master of Science degree from Michigan State University in 1991 and is also a board certified radiologist and member of the American College of Veterinary Radiology.


Iverson Bell Feature Session

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Arlene Garcia, PhD, Assistant Professor, Behavior and Welfare, School of Veterinary Medicine, Texas Tech University

Dr. Garcia is a Presidio, Texas, native with a research focus in animal behavior and welfare. She is a PAACO certified multi-species animal welfare auditor, a licensed veterinary technician, and animal welfare consultant for various industry groups. Her teaching focuses on farm animal stress, behavior and welfare, and Spanish for Specific Purposes in Agriculture. Her area of research is focused on management of compromised livestock and timely euthanasia. She has also done extensive pig transportation research, that has helped develop national guidelines and continues to work on finding innovative ways to reduce transport stress. Her research goals are to continue to improve animal welfare by addressing commercial needs and developing programs that educate caretakers on the relevance of humane handling and welfare. Dr. Garcia has vast experience in animal welfare auditing standards to prepare local producers for third party audits. She is the Texas Tech University (TTU) president elect for the Latino Hispanic Faculty and Staff Association, a co-chair for the Animal Behavior and Well-being Program for the American Society of Animal Science (ASAS), and a member of the Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committee for ASAS. Dr. Garcia provides service to other areas at her home institution, as well as for industry.

Breakout Session Speakers

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Mary Katherine O’Brien, PhD, Researcher for Education and Outreach, Center for Animal Health and Food Safety, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota

Mary Katherine O'Brien, PhD, is a Researcher for Outreach and Education and Director of eLearning programs at the Center for Animal Health and Food Safety (CAHFS) at the University of Minnesota's College of Veterinary Medicine. In this role she supports faculty who are affiliated with CAHFS and expert partners across the globe in collaborations to support the CAHFS' mission of improving global animal health, food safety, and public health through capacity building, education, and outreach.  She is not a veterinarian by training, but has found a home working in the UofM CVM and with veterinarians worldwide on shared projects for workforce development and improved global food systems.



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Lauren Bernstein, MVB, MPH, DACVPM, Assistant Professor, Community Medicine, Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota

Dr. Lauren Bernstein is an assistant professor in Community Medicine, and works in partnership with the College of Veterinary Medicine and local community organizations. Dr. Bernstein has a background in private companion animal practice and community-engaged public health research. Her primary interests include understanding how structural social, economic, political, or cultural barriers affect access to information, access to veterinary care, and dynamics of power and trust. Dr. Bernstein serves as the advisor for the Student Initiative for Reservation Veterinary Services (SIRVS), and the co-advisor for the One Health Club and Veterinary Treatment Outreach for Urban Community Health (VeTouch).



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Colin Yoder, DVM, MPH, DACVPM, Assistant Professor, Department of Veterinary Population Medicine, University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Colin Yoder is a recent resident in the Veterinary Public Health and Preventative Medicine program at the University of Minnesota Center for Animal Health and Food Safety, and has a background in bovine medicine and public health. During this time, he began working in MNPRO on chronic wasting disease outreach with Amish communities and chronic wasting disease surveillance with Tribal communities in Minnesota.




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Marissa Milstein, MA, DVM, PhD, Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Milstein is a wildlife veterinarian with an interest in tropical infectious diseases. She is the co-PI of the Konashen Ecosystem Health Project, a long-term collaboration with Indigenous Waiwai in Guyana, South America, focused on sustainable resource use and shared human-animal health. The primary focus of the research is to characterize disease transmission dynamics between humans, wildlife, and domestic dogs in Amazonia. Additionally, with a background in anthropology, she use ethnographic methods to understand how different societies construct human-animal distinctions and how that influences zoonotic disease transmission.



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Emily Kathambi Kiugu, BVM, MS, Resident, Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine

Emily is a Veterinary Epidemiologist pursuing a PhD in Veterinary Medicine at the Department of Veterinary Biomedical Sciences, University of Minnesota. Dr. Kathambi has a keen interest in improving the well-being of humans and animals through One Health. Her research focuses on improvement of productivity and welfare of livestock in African production systems. She has been actively involved in multiple collaborative One Health interventions integrating community participation in Kenya.




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Elizabeth Martinez-Podolsky, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota

Elizabeth Martinez-Podolsky serves as the inaugural Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. In her role as director, Elizabeth supports the college by providing leadership and direction in areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion, provides professional training and discussions to promote learning, and works with faculty and staff to find new ways to embed inclusion into the college curriculum and into our clinical spaces. Elizabeth’s goals include helping the College of Veterinary Medicine understand the many intersections that diversity has within medicine and to create spaces to challenge and support people’s learning. As a scholar, Elizabeth’s educational background is in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and her research interests include veterinary education, American agriculture and Latino professionals.


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Edward “Ned” Patterson, D.V.M., Ph.D., DACVIM (SAIM), College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota

Edward “Ned” Patterson D.V.M., Ph.D., DACVIM (SAIM) (he/him/his) has been a Professor of Small Animal Medicine at the University of Minnesota (UMN) College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) since 2004. He is board certified in small internal medicine and he staffs a once-a-week dog and cat epilepsy clinic. He is a founding member of the Canine Epilepsy Research Consortium, and was a member of the International Veterinary Epilepsy Taskforce (IVETF). He currently is the faculty co-chair for the UMN CVM Diversity and Inclusion Committee (DNIC). He is also a current Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA) Board Member and chairs the MVMA DEI Action Team. He started working on DEI&A educational issues as a member and chair of the parent Diversity Committee for his daughter’s elementary school in 2002.


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Richard Barajas, MIPA, MPH, Assistant Dean, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, University of Wisconsin-Madison, School of Veterinary Medicine

Richard’s previous roles include Administrative Director for the Medical Scientist Training Program and the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Director of Admissions at the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy and Program Coordinator in the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs at Iowa State University.  Richard holds master’s degrees in international public Affairs and public health.  He was born in Sterling, IL and has spent a considerable amount of time in Mexico City.  Research interests include college access, health disparities in minoritized communities and critical discourse analysis of university strategic plans.  Richard enjoys watching any type of live sporting event (baseball and soccer being favorites) as well as traveling the world.



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Sue Knoblaugh, DVM, DACVP, Associate Professor, Department of Veterinary Biosciences, & Faculty Director, Diversity Equity Inclusion and Belonging, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University

Dr. Sue Knoblaugh received her DVM degree from the College of Veterinary Medicine at The Ohio State University. She received her post-graduate training in comparative pathology at the University of Washington in the Department of Comparative Medicine and became Board Certified in Veterinary Anatomic Pathology. Dr. Knoblaugh joined the faculty in the Department of Veterinary Biosciences at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine (OSU-CVM) in 2015 where she is an Associate Professor and a comparative pathologist and the Co-Director for Inclusive Excellence for the OSU-CVM. Dr. Knoblaugh is the Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists (ACVP) Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and a member of the Society of Toxicologic Pathologists (STP) Diversity, Equity, and Belonging Committee. Dr. Knoblaugh is the recipient of the 2023 ACVP Wendy Coe Leadership Award in recognition of outstanding leadership for the ACVP DEI Committee. She is passionate about supporting inclusion and belonging for all in the veterinary profession, teaching, mentoring, and “pathfinding” for students and early career faculty. She has been an invited speaker for several workshops and conferences and is an author and coauthor of several publications and book chapters.

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Sarah Brown, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Science, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota

Dr. Brown’s goal as an educator is to ensure continued student motivation and success. She is interested in pedagogical research that focuses on innovations that drive student success. Aside from teaching, Dr. Brown’s basic science research is in bone physiology; taking a biomedically-driven approach to skeletal biology that is founded within evolutionary theory. Her central research question is whether or how prenatal exposures predispose an offspring to diseases of aging like osteoporosis. 



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Elizabeth E. Alvarez, DVM, DABVP, Clinical Assistant Professor, Primary Care Service, School of Veterinary Medicine University of Wisconsin

Elizabeth (Liddy) Alvarez has been teaching students at the University of Wisconsin, Madison for the past 15 years.  Liddy graduated from Michigan State University with her DVM in 2003 and completed a rotating internship at Veterinary Specialty Center in Lynnwood, WA in 2007.  She also became a diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (canine and feline practice) in 2013. Liddy has been a part of building the UW-Madison outreach program, WisCARES (Wisconsin Companion Animal Resources, Education, and Social Services) since its inception in 2013.  WisCARES is a One Health program, a collaboration with the UW Schools of Social Work, Pharmacy, Nursing, and Medical Schools established to help pet owners experiencing homelessness and housing instability increase access to animal and human healthcare and social services.  She has served as Medical Director and is currently the Curriculum Director for WisCARES, where she focuses on the student experience, research, and obtaining grant funding for the program.

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Kelly Schultz, DVM, MS, Medical Director & Lead Clinical Instructor, WisCARES Community Veterinary Clinic

Dr. Schultz received her MS in Conservation Biology in 2011 and went on to receive her DVM from the UW Madison School of Veterinary Medicine in 2015.  After completing a 6-month internship in practical epidemiology immediately after graduation, Dr. Schultz went on to practice small animal veterinary medicine. She joined the WisCARES team as a practicing veterinarian and instructor in 2018 and became Medical Director in 2019.   When not participating in direct clinical work, Dr. Schultz works to further the WisCARES mission through research, curriculum building and programatic improvements.



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Ruthanne Chun, DVM, DACVIM, Clinical Professor & Section Head of Oncology, Chief of Large Animal Services, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin

Dr. Chun is a graduate of the UW School of Veterinary Medicine. She completed an internship at Cornell and a residency in Comparative Oncology at Purdue. She served as the Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs and Hospital Director for the SVM from 2010 until 2021. She is the Director of the Wisconsin Companion Animal Resources, Education, and Social Services (WisCARES) program, an interprofessional program housed within a veterinary medical clinic. In 2021, Ruthanne received the LaMarr Billups Community-University Engagement Award and was admitted to the National Academies of Practice in Veterinary Medicine as a Distinguished Fellow. In 2022, Ruthanne was named an Outstanding Women of Color at UW-Madison. She is a practicing veterinary medical oncologist, and an educator with a passion for teaching communication skills and cultural humility.


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Heather Case, DVM, MPH, DACVPM, CAE, Chief Executive Officer, International Council for Veterinary

Dr. Case is a native of Minnesota, received her DVM degree from the University of Minnesota, and completed an internship in large animal medicine and surgery at the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph. After her internship, she entered private mixed animal practice in rural Minnesota, focusing on equine medicine. Following several years in practice she returned to the University of Minnesota to complete a veterinary public health residency, earning her Master of Public Health degree. As a volunteer member of the AVMA's Veterinary Medical Assistance Team, Dr. Case deployed to Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina where she served in logistics and as Commander of Shelter Veterinary Medicine for a shelter housing over 10,000 animals. After completing residency, she served as an AAAS/AVMA Congressional Fellow in Washington, DC. She later joined the staff of the American Veterinary Medical Association, originally as the National Coordinator of Emergency Preparedness and Response and then as Director of the Scientific Activities Division. Dr. Case joined the ICVA staff as CEO in July of 2014. She is board certified in Veterinary Preventive Medicine and is a Certified Association Executive.

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Courtney Vengrin, PhD, MS, Senior Director of Assessment & Design, International Council for Veterinary Assessment

Dr. Vengrin works to further the mission of the organization by playing an integral part in the development of assessment materials and resources. In her role, she conducts research on assessment practices, conducts a variety of data analyses and develops data visualizations. Dr. Vengrin is originally from Virginia, where she earned a B.S. in Biology at Radford University, and then an M.S. in Agricultural Extension Education and Ph.D in Agricultural Leadership and Community Education at Virginia Tech.  Following her PhD, Dr. Vengrin was a postdoctoral research fellow specializing in academic assessments in Undergraduate Academic Affairs at Virginia Tech. She then became the Coordinator of Assessment and Faculty Development at Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine (ISUCVM), eventually reshaping the assessment and faculty development services and creating the office of Curricular Assessment and Teaching Support services, where she was named Director. During this time, she also served as part of the ICVA’s Academic Veterinary Assessment Working Group. She was the 2020 recipient of the Frederick Douglass Patterson Diversity and Inclusion Award at ISUCVM where she remains affiliate faculty. Dr. Vengrin joined ICVA full-time in 2021.

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Tiffany Wolf, DVM, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Veterinary Population Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota

Dr. Wolf is a wildlife epidemiologist with a broad interest in understanding diseases of wildlife populations at the interface of humans, animals, and the environment. She is particularly interested in the dynamics of infectious diseases in multi-host pathogen systems and methods to assess the changes and impacts of disease in these populations, although my research includes non-infectious disease dynamics as well. Much of her research includes developing new approaches to studying disease in wildlife using advanced epidemiological, ecological, and molecular methods. As such, the nature of her work is highly multidisciplinary. Dr. Wolf is involved in several lines of research that include moose health, Parelaphostrongylus tenuis transmission, primate health surveillance, tuberculosis transmission at the interface of humans and wildlife, and contaminants of emerging concern in aquatic ecosystems.


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Roger Faust, MS, Ho-Chunk PhD Candidate, Conservation Sciences, College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, University of Minnesota.

Roger is a Ho-Chunk PhD Candidate in Conservation Sciences. Roger's research focuses on bridging gaps in natural resource management by fostering collaboration between tribal communities, conservation agencies, and academic institutions. Through community engagement, Roger prioritizes tribal values and knowledge to enhance human and ecosystem well-being.




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Min. Rosemary Klass, AAS, Sr. VT, Diversity Initiative Preceptor & VMC Culture Advocate, University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center

Rosemary Klass celebrates 36 years as a licensed and ordained Clergy and does pastoral ministry in men's and women's prisons.  She was the 1st African American Veterinary Technician hired at the Lewis Small Animal Hospital, 26yrs ago. Since Fall of 2022 she has partnered with the VMC Director of Operations, Pat Berzins to launch the Diversity Initiative called, Bridge to Vet Med, which welcomes preteens and teens to the field of Veterinary Medicine.  Simultaneously, she was appointed as a Culture Advocate for the VMC Community.  As a certified facilitator trainer, she supports employees through coaching, team building, mediation, and affirmation. Aiming to strengthen employee fulfillment & job retention. With full hands, she still makes time for family, friends and fun!