Dr Julie Stafford, a veterinarian in Alaska, USA, has been named by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) and Hill’s Pet Nutrition (Hill’s) as the 2016 ‘Next Generation’ Veterinary Award winner.
Having shown leadership qualities and dedication to the veterinary field both as a student and as a professional, Dr Stafford will receive her award at next week’s 2016 WSAVA World Congress (September 27-30) in Cartagena, Colombia. She will use the occasion to present a lecture entitled ‘Veterinary Wellness: Addressing burnout, depression and suicide in the veterinary profession’.
As a student at Oregon State University, Dr Stafford worked in a pro bono clinic in Nicaragua and was heavily involved in the Student American Veterinary Association and the International Veterinary Students’ Association. Since graduating in 2013, she has, among other things, participated in leadership programs with the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), and— as a strong proponent of mental wellness and self-care of vets—spent a year working with the AVMA promoting wellness within the veterinary profession. (Read our feature on depression and suicide in the veterinary profession in our August 2016 issue here.)
“Millennial vets like Julie, who are at the early stage of their careers, carry the future of the profession with them,” said Dr Jolle Kirpensteijn, chief professional relations officer at Hill’s. “Through this award, we aim to inspire them to contribute to the betterment of companion animals, the veterinary profession and their communities around the world.”
Having recently moved to Alaska, where she works with Iditarod sled dogs and aims to develop a more active veterinary community, Dr Stafford said she was “honoured to receive this award and delighted that Hill’s and the WSAVA are leading the profession in recognising and encouraging leadership for the next generation of veterinarians.
“I hope that other recent graduates entering the veterinary profession will see this award and decide to take a more active role in veterinary leadership on a local and global scale,” said Dr Stafford.
Candidates for the 2017 Next Generation Award can come from any country and nominate themselves by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org by January 1, 2017. They should include a letter of intent, a CV and at least one reference letter. Further information can be found at on the WSAVA website.