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Advocate for Veterinary Medical Education Receives Melcher Leadership Award

March 19, 2009

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March 19, 2009

The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) has awarded Dean Bennie Osburn the Melcher Leadership in Public Policy Award. This honor, named after former Montana senator John Melcher, DVM, recognizes outstanding contributions to public policy initiatives that advance veterinary medical education.
"We are pleased to present this award to Dr. Osburn, who has been so influential in the growth of AAVMC's advocacy initiatives and who has been a tireless champion of the veterinary profession and academic veterinary medical education," said AAVMC Executive Director Marguerite Pappaioanou when the award was bestowed March 16.
Osburn served as president of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges from 2003 to 2005. During his tenure, he launched a national initiative to strengthen the infrastructure of U.S. veterinary schools and meet an urgent national need for public practice veterinarians. Dean Osburn also steered the association’s effort with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the U.S. military to begin rebuilding veterinary colleges in Afghanistan and Iraq. Other contributions to the profession and veterinary education include the initiation and implementation of the association's public health task force, which has increased the number of joint or post-graduate public health programs from four to 22 in the 28 U.S. colleges of veterinary medicine.

He is currently serving on the National Academies Panel on Assessing the Current and Future Workforce Needs in Veterinary Medicine and the Legislative Advisory Committee of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
As dean of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, Osburn increased the number of students in the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree program from 109 to 131. He has helped expand the number of veterinary specialty residents and supported development of K-12 outreach activities to encourage the next generation of veterinarians. Under his leadership, the school's annual research budget rose 100 percent to $96 million. Osburn also has fostered the establishment of centers of excellence in vectorborne disease, zoonotic and food animal disease, and animal welfare.  He was instrumental in establishing the UC Veterinary Medical Center–San Diego in 1998 and the Western Institute for Food Safety and Security in 2002.  Osburn has also promoted growth in the areas of wildlife and environmental health, veterinary public practice, and comparative medicine.  
The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges provides leadership for and promotes excellence in academic veterinary medicine to prepare the veterinary workforce with the scientific knowledge and skills required to meet societal needs through the protection of animal health, the relief of animal suffering, the conservation of animal resources, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge.

Members of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine carry out a statewide mission of teaching, research and service to benefit animal health, public health and environmental health.