Teacher of the Year Award
Meet some of Canada’s Honored Veterinary Teachers!
The CVMA Teacher of the Year Award is presented annually to a teacher at each of the Canadian veterinary colleges. The recipient, selected by veterinary students, is a teacher who inspired them most by their approach to the subject, teaching methods, and enthusiasm.
Here are the 2020 CVMA Teacher of the Year Award Recipients:
Dr. Stephanie Hamilton is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Companion Animals at the Atlantic Veterinary College. She received her DVM from Virginia Tech in 1999 and started her veterinary career in a small animal practice in Martinsville, Virginia. Soon thereafter, she returned to Virginia Tech and completed a residency in veterinary anaesthesia and analgesia, in addition to receiving an MSc in Veterinary Medical Sciences in 2003. She became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia in 2005. The one bit of advice Dr. Hamilton would offer to students (especially now) would be “that there will be chaos during this journey to become veterinarians. And that this chaos can feel overwhelming at times. During all of this, it will help to remember one thing — be kind. Be kind to yourself, be kind to those around you, and be kind to the animals that are entrusted to your care.”
Dr. Mouhamadou Diaw is an Associate Professor in Theriogenology at the Université de Montréal — Faculté de médecine vétérinaire (FMV). He is a graduate of the École Inter États des Sciences et Médecine Vétérinaires — University of Dakar, Senegal. After working in mixed animal private practice for several years, Dr. Diaw found a passion for reproduction at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, Lexington, Kentucky. He completed a residency in theriogenology at the University of Florida and achieved board certification in 2011. He then worked as a clinician in theriogenology at North Carolina State University before completing his Masters in Reproduction in 2015 at the University of Montréal.
Dr. Darren Wood is an Associate Professor of Clinical Pathology at the Ontario Veterinary College (University of Guelph). He obtained his DVM from the Atlantic Veterinary College in 1994 and did a 1-year internship at Washington State University after graduation. After 2 years of small animal practice in British Columbia, he enrolled in a clinical pathology residency and a Doctor of Veterinary Science Program at OVC, which he completed in 2000. He obtained his board certification in Veterinary Clinical Pathology in 2001, while working
as an instructor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine. In 2002, he was fortunate to obtain a faculty position at the University of Guelph, where he remains. Dr. Wood teaches primarily 2nd- and 4th-year students of the DVM Program at OVC, along with training graduate students in pathology. He was voted Honorary Class President 4 times, and takes his role as educator seriously, as evidenced by enrolment in higher education teaching courses while a faculty member. His research interests include diagnosis and pathophysiology of blood clotting disorders, hematologic diseases, and canine lymphoma biomarkers. He has served as Section Editor for the Veterinary Clinical Pathology Journal, as committee member and Co-Chair of the ACVP Certifying Exam Committee, and is currently on the executive board of the American Society for Veterinary Clinical Pathology. His advice to students and new graduates is,
“Try your best to maintain balance in life — apply yourself and study hard, but don’t forget to make time to do what you love and to stay in community with family and friends.”
Dr. Michael Scott is an Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of Calgary — Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Scott is originally from British Columbia and graduated
from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) in 1993. He completed a large animal internship at the Ontario Veterinary College and returned to WCVM for a large animal surgery residency from 1994-1997. Dr. Scott became an ACVS Board Certified Large Animal Surgeon in 1998, and after working at several locum positions in Canada and the United States, worked at Moore & Company Veterinary Services in Calgary, Alberta from 1998 to 2016, primarily doing equine surgery, diagnostic imaging, lameness diagnosis, and equine sports medicine. In 2012 he became a board-certified specialist in Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation (ACVSMR) and made the transition from private practice to academia in 2016 before joining the UCVM. His role at UCVM includes teaching undergraduate students in all years of the program (plus graduate students, interns, and residents), research, and clinical activities. His research activities include projects in wound healing, joint disease and osteoarthritis, biomechanics, and gait analysis. He also continues to spend approximately 25% of his time working in the clinic at Moore Equine, doing equine surgery, lameness, and after-hours emergency service. He lives on a ranch south of Calgary with his family and a fluctuating number of cattle, horses, sheep, and cats.
Dr. Scott feels fortunate to be a veterinarian and is grateful for the opportunities he’s had working as a clinician and now as a research scientist and teacher. He is eternally thankful for the teachers and mentors he had as a student, in particular, large animal surgeon Dr. Peter Fretz. According to Dr. Scott, the impact and importance of role models on the student’s path to becoming a good professional, and a good person, is immense.
He recognizes the benefits he received from his mentors and tries to pass those on to the students with whom he works. Dr. Scott finds it difficult to think of a singular message to
give as advice to students, as many thoughts come to mind, depending on the topic and context. One thought he often emphasizes to students is to keep an open mind and be curious. One of the greatest aspects of this profession is the diversity of people and opportunities that arise. It is more than a job; it is truly a lifestyle within a global community of inspiring people and their efforts. We may think we know where our lives are
headed or what our interests are, but there is uncertainty in life and things change. By keeping an open mind and cultivating curiosity, he believes we can be more resilient, adaptable, and excited by all the opportunities the profession affords.
Dr. Tiago Afonso is an Assistant Professor at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine. Before joining the faculty, Dr. Afonso was a Senior Lecturer in Equine Internal Medicine
at New Zealand’s Massey University and at the University of Adelaide in Australia. Prior to that, he worked in a busy private practice during a foaling season in the state of Victoria, Australia.
After completing an Integrated Master’s (DVM) program at the University of Lisbon (Portugal), Dr. Afonso spent a year at Ghent University in Belgium as a large animal intern. His next move was to the Ontario Veterinary College (University of Guelph) for a 1-year rotating internship in large animal medicine and surgery.
In 2016, he completed his PhD in Equine Cardiology and a 3-year residency program at the University of Georgia. During the same year, he also became a board-certified specialist in large animal internal medicine by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM).
Dr. Afonso’s main clinical interests include the cardiovascular system, respiratory tract diseases, gastrointestinal emergencies, antimicrobial therapy, infectious diseases, and critical care medicine, particularly the critically ill neonate.
Dr. Afonso’s advice to students is to “not forget that it is our job to help you reach your goals and we are here for you, so keep that positive feedback coming, and we will all get through this together!”