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UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine Professor Earns AAVMC/Zoetis National Teaching Excellence Award

WASHINGTON, Jan. 15, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) announced today that Dr. Matthew Mellema from the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine is the recipient of the 2013 AAVMC Distinguished Teacher Award, presented by Zoetis. The honor is considered the most prestigious national teaching award in veterinary medicine.

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Dr. Mellema is an assistant professor of emergency and critical care at UC-Davis, where he has taught since 2007. He will receive the award during the AAVMC's 2014 Annual Conference in Alexandria, Virginia, on Friday, March 14, where he will also share his approach, experiences and teaching philosophy with more than 200 conference attendees, including veterinary college deans, faculty and associated dignitaries from throughout the United States and the world.

The AAVMC Distinguished Teacher Award recognizes excellence in professional veterinary medical education and is presented to an educator whose sustained record of teaching excellence and ability, dedication, character and leadership has contributed significantly to the advancement of the profession.

"Dr. Mellema exemplifies the qualities we seek in an honoree," said Dr. Kent Hoblet, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State University and president of the AAVMC. "Students and colleagues alike applaud his dedication and passion for education. Teaching is his priority and his emphasis on critical thinking, problem-solving, and self-directed learning maximizes students' chances for life-long success."

The AAVMC is pleased to partner with Zoetis in presenting the award.

"The AAVMC Distinguished Veterinary Teacher Award, presented by Zoetis, was established over 50 years ago and its spirit continues to honor outstanding instructors of veterinary medicine," said Zoetis Director of Academic and Professional Affairs, US, Vanessa Mariani. "The dedication and passion for animal health and stronger future professionals that the recipients represent, fuel our continued commitment to supporting extraordinary profession and extraordinary leaders as Dr. Mellema."

In nominating Mellema for the award, UC-Davis Chair of the Department of Surgical and Radiological Sciences Dr. Erik Wisner and Associate Dean for Academic Programs Dr. Jan E. Ilkiw wrote that "He is regarded by peers, students and residents as an outstanding small animal emergency and critical care instructor who is highly respected for his creative and effective teaching style … (He) has an extraordinary ability to simplify and clarify complex subject matter using a unique approach that combines an interactive style with an infusion of humor that engages and inspires intellectual curiosity in students, residents and colleagues."

Four students also contributed to Mellema's nomination by writing that, "As a mentor, Dr. Mellema has been truly invaluable in shaping the careers of veterinary students. He takes the role very seriously and has not only provided meaningful research and clinical experiences to his mentees, but also encouragement and moral support throughout the difficulties of veterinary school. His depth of knowledge can only be described as impressive, and his passion for teaching means that countless students have benefitted from Dr. Mellema's intelligence. His humorous nature makes him easy and fun to work with and adds another dimension to a very accomplished man."

Mellema has given numerous presentations on issues related to emergency and critical care and written book chapters on topics that include electrocardiogram evaluation, cardiac output monitoring, and initial management of the poisoned patient. He also received the 1999 Distinguished Research Award from the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) for a project deemed the most outstanding in small animal respiratory medicine.

He earned his bachelor's degree in zoology from the University of California, Berkeley, his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from UC-Davis, and a doctoral degree in respiratory physiology from Harvard University. He is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care.

The national AAVMC Distinguished Teacher Award, presented by Zoetis (formerly the Pfizer Distinguished Teacher Award) is presented annually to a faculty member at a college or school of veterinary medicine in the United States and the Caribbean. It is the most prestigious teaching award in veterinary medicine. Since 1963, the award has been sponsored by Pfizer Animal Health. Award nominees are selected by their individual colleges, while a selection committee at the AAVMC chooses the final honoree.

The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) is a nonprofit membership organization working to protect and improve the health and welfare of animals, people and the environment by advancing academic veterinary medicine. Its members include 35 veterinary medical colleges in the United States and Canada, nine departments of veterinary science, eight departments of comparative medicine, thirteen international colleges of veterinary medicine, and six affiliate colleges of veterinary medicine: www.aavmc.org

SOURCE Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC)

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