CVMA | Biographies

Biographies of CVMA Executive Members


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.


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. Troye McPherson, born in Cape Breton, N.S., graduated from the Ontario Agricultural College in 1984 and the Ontario Veterinary College in 1989. She then headed to western Canada to tackle a multitude of career opportunities; working in large animal and small animal veterinary medicine, teaching agricultural courses at Lakeland College in Vermilion, Alta., and becoming the Acting Director of the Animal Health Technologist Program at the College for two semesters. She returned to Nova Scotia to continue expanding her knowledge in the profession; in mixed practice, small animal and emergency medicine, and as a Federal Veterinarian, meat inspector, for a year. She also helped develop a Veterinary Assistant Program at a private business college in Halifax. However, her true calling was as a small animal practitioner, and has been one ever since. Dr. McPherson is a member of the American Association of Feline Practitioners and is currently working on her board certification (feline specialist). She is currently the CVMA representative for the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe and the Registered Veterinary Technologists and Technicians of Canada. She served on the Council of the Nova Scotia Veterinary Medical Association twice. Dr. McPherson lives in Dartmouth, N.S., with her husband, Patrick, four Border Collies and four cats.

DR. barry stemshorn, treasurer

Dr. Barry Stemshorn is a veterinarian who trained at the University of Montreal and holds a B.Sc. from McGill University and a Ph.D. from the University of Guelph. His professional interests include environmental, animal and human health, and the governance of regulatory programs. He served as the founding Director for a Certificate Program in Regulatory Leadership launched jointly by the University of Ottawa and Carleton University in 2013. From 2000-2006 Barry served as Assistant Deputy Minister for the Environmental Protection Service of Environment Canada where he led national programs to prevent and reduce pollution of air, water and soil. Prior to this he held a number of executive positions over two decades with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, responsible for diagnostic and research laboratories, animal health policy development and then regional operations in Western Canada. He also served (1988-90) as the first project manager for a 12 country Caribbean animal and plant health information network for the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture based in Trinidad & Tobago. From 1999-2000 Barry served as a Director of Operations, Economic and Regional Development, at Canada’s Privy Council Office where he supported the Prime Minister and his Cabinet in dealing with difficult aspects of energy, environmental, agricultural and fisheries policies. Barry was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee (2002) and Diamond Jubilee (2012) Medals for his contributions to Canada. In recent years he has worked as a consultant for Canadian and international agencies including the Paris-based World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Bank. On behalf of the OIE he has participated in evaluations of the national veterinary services of over a dozen countries. Barry has served as a Director and volunteer for the Ottawa Riverkeeper and for Veterinarians without Borders (Canada). He enjoys cross-country and telemark skiing, cycling and fly-fishing. He returned to photography in 2012. His photos of The Fishing Bears of the Great Bear Rainforest of Canada’s west coast were exhibited at the Art Brûlant gallery in Shawville, Quebec, and at The Table Restaurant in Ottawa in 2014 and used as corporate gifts by the CVMA.

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.