CVMA | Biographies

Biographies of CVMA Executive Members


Originally from Prince Edward Island, Dr. Melanie Hicks obtained her Bachelor of Science from the Nova Scotia Agricultural College before attending the Atlantic Veterinary College. Upon graduation in 2003, she moved with her family to Moncton, New Brunswick, and began her career as a companion animal practitioner. After 10 years of practicing, Dr. Hicks joined Abaxis Global Diagnostics as a Professional Services Veterinarian. She has been involved with the New Brunswick Veterinary Medical Association as a Council member since 2009 and was acting President from 2011-2012. She joined the CVMA as a Council member in 2013, serving on numerous task forces including the Business Management Advisory Group, Veterinary Wellness Advisory Group, and an innovation/technology group. Dr. Hicks currently resides in Moncton with her husband and son on a small alpaca farm, and is working on her MBA in her spare time


Dr. Enid Stiles graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College with a DVM in 2000. Prior to her veterinary degree, she completed a Bachelor of Science (Conservation Biology) at the University of Ottawa and a Masters in Clinical Sciences (Behaviour Medicine) at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Montréal, in 2009. International Veterinary medicine is a passion of Dr. Stiles. As a founding member of Veterinarians Without Borders Canada, Dr. Stiles has been fortunate to work with people and animals around the world. She believes strongly in working for, and with, communities in need to foster the health of animals, people, and the environments that sustain us all. Dr. Stiles works closely with Montreal based cat and dog rescue groups as well as her continued work with VWB and CVMA on improving veterinary services for remote and under serviced communities in Canada. In recent years, Dr. Stiles has become a regular presence in print, television, radio and social media advocating on current national and international animal health issues. Her interest and experience in veterinary behaviour medicine and animal welfare have been highlighted at speaking engagements with a recent focus on alternatives to feline partial digit amputation (declawing). In 2015, Dr. Stiles was selected as member of the CVMA National Issues Committee. Dr. Stiles was born in Newfoundland, but has also lived in Zimbabwe, Ottawa, Guelph and now Montréal. Dr. Stiles is passionate about helping animals and their families by providing excellent care and compassion to all of her patients, no matter how big or small. In 2009, Dr Stiles opened her own small animal practice, Sherwood Park Animal Hospital, in the West Island of Montréal. It has grown rapidly and is now staffed by four veterinarians and offers a complete veterinary behaviour service.


Dr. Louis Kwantes hails from Sherwood Park, Alta., where he has lived for the past 24 years. His educational background includes grade school in Japan, college in United States, veterinary school in Canada (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine 1987) and post-DVM studies in the United Kingdom (Master of Science 1989). His professional background includes mixed animal practice in Ontario, shorter and longer overseas veterinary postings in Haiti, Uzbekistan, and the Middle East (mostly in Sultanate of Oman as senior staff veterinarian for University of Durham’s Centre for Overseas Research and Development). Dr. Kwantes is presently employed by National Veterinary Associates as a veterinarian at Park Veterinary Centre in Sherwood Park (a companion animal veterinary clinic he founded with his business partner in 1997). He is a past board member of the Edmonton Veterinary Emergency Clinic, and past president of the Edmonton Area Small Animal Veterinarians group. He has also served the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association for more than 12 years in a variety of capacities including a term as president in 2015. He was awarded the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) award for scholarship and leadership in 1987 and shared the CVMA Hill's Public Relations Award in 2006. Dr. Kwantes is a passionate promoter of veterinary medicine and has been a regular media contributor in print, radio, and television. He is grateful for the opportunity to both represent and serve fellow veterinarians as a CVMA Executive Member. Dr. Kwantes and Janet, his youthful, loving and patient wife of 29 years, are now empty-nesters, save for a spoiled cat. Their eldest daughter is studying music in Boston; her twin brother is studying dentistry in Australia, and the youngest daughter is studying biology at Kings University in Alberta.

Dr. christopher bell, EXECUTIVE MEMBER

Dr. Chris Bell grew up on a family horse farm in Airdrie, Alta. He attended the University of Saskatchewan where he obtained a B.Sc with high honours in Microbiology and Immunology. Dr. Bell proceeded to attain a DVM with Distinction from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM). Following his DVM, he completed a one-year clinical internship at Arizona Equine Medical and Surgical Center and then completed a three-year surgical residency program at WCVM. Dr. Bell also completed a Master of Veterinary Science in Upper Airway Surgery during his residency program. He is a board-certified Equine Surgeon and Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons (DACVS), as well as society member of the American College of Veterinary Radiology. Dr. Bell is an Adjunct Professor of equine surgery and sports medicine with WCVM. He is a recognized speaker and has presented at the Provincial, National and International level in the areas of lameness, ethanol fusion of the hocks, MRI diagnosis and treatment of navicular disease, and development of novel sinusitis treatments in horses. Dr. Bell serves his colleagues through multiple commitments to the Manitoba Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA) and the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA). He serves as the WCVM Advisory Committee Liaison and member of the Professional Image Committee for the MVMA. He previously served on the Practice Inspection Committee. Dr. Bell has been recognized by the MVMA with the Award of Merit in 2019 for contributions to his colleagues, the profession and the MVMA. He is a member of the CVMA Canadian Veterinary Reserve, is chair of the CVMA Emerging Leaders Program, and chair of the Student and Early Career Engagement committee for the CVMA and MVMA.  Dr. Bell is an active member of the equine community, sitting on several committees and boards within Manitoba such as the Manitoba Horse Council Breeds and Industry committee and consulting with Manitoba Horse Council. At the national and international level Dr. Bell currently serves as the AAEP liaison with the MVMA. He has owned Elders Equine Veterinary Service since 2012. Elders Equine is a host hospital and participates in senior veterinary student, veterinary intern, and surgical residency training through this distributed learning program. When he is not at work, he enjoys spending time with his wife, two daughters, and their chocolate lab.


Dr. Chotowetz graduated from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in 1990. She practiced in Alberta from 1990 to 1998 in several mixed animal practices before returning to Saskatchewan in 1998. Dr. Chotowetz returned to work in a companion animal clinic in Saskatoon and has been there for 18 years. She was elected to the Saskatchewan Veterinary Medical Association (SVMA) in 2009 and went on to serve as President from 2011 to 2012. She was a member of the SVMA Animal Welfare Committee for nine years and served on the Board of Directors for the Animal Protection Services of Saskatchewan for three years. Dr. Chotowetz became the Saskatchewan representative on the CVMA Council in 2013. While on Council she has served as the liaison for the Animal Welfare Committee and the Canadian Veterinary Reserve, and is the CVMA representative on the Western College of Veterinary Medicine Advisory Council. In her spare time, Dr. Chotowetz enjoys spending time with her husband and family at their acreage outside Saskatoon. They have four very spoiled dogs and a cat that keep them busy and happy. Her favourite, and only, hobby is reading which is made even better with a cup of coffee and a lap full of dogs.

DR. brian evans, treasurer

Dr. Brian Evans is an alumnus of the University of Guelph where he obtained a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture in 1974 and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1978. Following several years in private practice with a professional focus on reproductive herd health and embryo transfer, Dr. Evans was recruited by the Canadian federal government into public practice to develop domestic and international standards and certification programs in support of the safe international movement of animal semen and embryos. He had a distinguished career in public service which included serving as Canada’s fourteenth Chief Veterinary Officer for 15 years, as well as Governor-In-Council appointments, initially as the Executive Vice President of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), then as Canada’s first Chief Food Safety Officer, and finally as a special advisor to the CFIA President. Dr. Evans also served as the Government of Canada’s Delegate to the 182-member country World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) for 13 years. During that time, he was elected as the Secretary General for the OIE Regional Commission for the Americas and to four consecutive three-year terms as a representative of the member countries of the Americas Region on the Council of the OIE. Dr. Evans retired from the federal government in 2013 and was subsequently recruited by the OIE to be the Deputy Director General responsible for animal health, veterinary public health, and international standards based in Paris, France. He is a strong advocate for the integrated management of the social, economic, biosecurity and food security risks that emerge at the interface of eco-system, animal, and human health. Dr. Evans has been the recipient of numerous national and international awards including the CVMA’s President’s Award, the Queen’s Gold and Diamond Jubilee medals, and two Public Service of Canada Excellence awards. He has also been conferred with Honorary Degrees of Laws by both the University of Guelph and the University of Calgary.

Jost am Rhyn, Chief Executive Officer

Mr. am Rhyn graduated from business administration and economics in Switzerland and had 20 years of experience in association management when he joined the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) in February 2002 as its Executive Director (now Chief Executive Officer) and National Examining Board (NEB) Registrar. Prior to joining the CVMA, Mr. am Rhyn was the Executive Director of a Canadian national Olympic sports organization for 10 years and a national trade association in Switzerland for seven years. During his involvement in the corporate sector, he worked for a Swiss insurance company and later served a large international enterprise in the domain of business organization and restructuring. Among his many volunteer involvements, Mr. am Rhyn sat on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Society of Associations Executives (CSAE), where he also served as the Co-Chair of the Membership Committee and the Advocacy Committee.