2016 PVMA Award Recipients
Tuesday, October 4, 2016
Posted by: Cristina Keef
2016 PVMA Award Recipients
Veterinarian of the Year
Recipient: Dr. Mary Blankevoort
Nominated by: Dr. Dale Seifert and Dr. Yvonne Roberts, Fremont Veterinary Clinic
Dr. Mary Blankevoort’s career spans 43 years in Portland. She was the sole veterinarian for the Animal Care Department at OHSU, the Dental School, and the Hearing and Speech Laboratory from 1973 to 1980. She was also the Medical School Explorer Troop Leader while there. In 1980, she established a small ruminant practice. She was a consultant and frequent speaker at local dairy goat meetings and conferences on breeding sheep and goats to diseases and husbandry. She wrote articles for Dairy Goat Newsletter for 10 years.
In 1983 she served two years in the Peace Corps in the West African nation of Togo. There, she helped design and implement a preventive health program for work oxen. She consulted with local veterinarians and extension agents in their national language, French. She also started a project to construct a human health clinic in the local village of Atakpame before returning to the States. Mary served two terms on the Dove Lewis Board of Directors. She was the PVMA CE Coordinator for five years and she served on the OVMA CE Committee for an additional five years. She was the 4-H Leader for Corbett Critters livestock and horses for eight years and created a project for 4-H kids to raise $3,000 for Heifer Project. Mary also volunteered as a veterinarian for the Feral Cat Coalition for six years.
She has volunteered and worked for Multnomah County Animal Services for many years, helping to bring the facility to a high standard of care allowing pets to be healthy adoptees. In June of 2015, Mary traveled to Huanchaco, Peru with the Perros Project to help provide veterinary services to the underserved village people.
Mary has tirelessly given countless hours and miles travelled to clinics and meetings for the non-profit organization, Portland Animal Welfare Team. She has sacrificed time and donated money to keep PAW team afloat and running. Mary has been a dedicated volunteer with PAW Team for 10 years, served on the Board of Directors for 6 years, and she is the current Medical Team Leader. Through Mary’s efforts, Portland’s underserved, homeless, Dignity Village residents and the indigent can receive care for their pets. In national recognition PAW Team won the Inaugural Henry Schein Cares Medal for Animal Health, Non-Profit. Mary flew to New Orleans to accept the award on April 9, 2016.
Veterinary Team Affiliate of the Year
Recipient: Teresa Schilperoort, CVT, Barlow Trail Veterinary Clinic
Nominated by: Dr. Jaime Houston, The Village Vet/Barlow Trail Veterinary Clinic
Teresa has been practicing her craft at the same location for 20 years. That is an accomplishment in of itself! Not only that, none do it better. I have complete confidence in this technician. There is never a problem. Her skill set is exceptional. What more is there to say? Every clinic wishes they had two or three employees of this caliber, quietly doing their job day in and day out year after year. So rare and so precious.
I have been blessed to work with many amazing people throughout my career. I have stayed in this field not just for my love of animals but due to Dr. David Christenson. His fairness, honesty and compassion for his employees is what has kept me in the field and at BTVC for the last 20 year. I have had the privilege to work with Dr. Houston personally for the last 2 years.
Recipient: Mel Bocchichio, BS, CVT , VCA NW Veterinary Specialists
Nominated by Dr. Steve Kochis, VCA NW Veterinary Specialists
Mel joined the veterinary field in 1998 as an assistant at Anne Arundel Veterinary Emergency Clinic in Annapolis, Maryland. Within one year, Mel was promoted to veterinary technician working overnights in the ER/ICU. She eagerly built up her skill set as she completed her B.S. in Zoology at University of Maryland. After graduating, Mel passed the VTNE to become a certified veterinary technician. After ten years at AAVEC, Mel moved to Portland to work at VCA Northwest Veterinary Specialists as an overnight ICU technician and regularly filling in with the surgery department. After several years, Mel became a member of the Imaging department where she became proficient in MRI and CT, going on to train new staff members in Imaging.
In 2013, Mel joined the VCA Technician Development Team for the Pacific NW region, which provides connection between staff at VCA hospitals and continuing education opportunities for technicians and assistants. Over the last 3 years, Mel has been a vital member of the team and has continued to expand the scope and reach of the TDT. She developed a scholarship program through Penn Foster College to support VCA staff in obtaining their education in veterinary technology to become certified veterinary technicians. The program was so successful, it is now offered throughout all regions. VCA awarded 20 scholarships last year. Mel is regularly involved with educational outreach at local hospitals throughout Oregon and Washington. Mel teaches everything from CPR and first aid to imaging techniques and patient care.
In 2014, Mel volunteered with WorldVets on a sterilization campaign in Pisac, Peru. As someone who loves to travel, this was an amazing new outlet for Mel to practice her trade. She had such a wonderful experience connecting with veterinary professionals from all over the world and providing care for animals in need that she will continue to do this indefinitely. She accepted a teaching position with WorldVets at their International Veterinary Medicine training facility in Grenada, Nicaragua this winter where she will educate veterinary students from Central and South America on the principles of pre-anesthetic evaluation, surgical preparation, anesthesia, and recovery.
In 2015, Mel became the Technician Trainer at VCA Northwest Veterinary Specialists and developed a new hire training program for technicians and assistants. She is currently working on a Penn Foster College externship program to help facilitate training on scholarship winners. She continues to moonlight in the Imaging department while she patiently awaits Diagnostic Imaging to become approved as an area of specialty to obtain credentialing as a Veterinary Technician Specialist. Whatever the future holds, Mel will continue to share her love of animals and knowledge in the field with those around her. She is completely dedicated to the development and recognition of veterinary technicians and inspires those around her to learn, grow and continue to find ways to reinvent themselves in a field that often has a high level of burn out and compassion fatigue or where most individuals seek other means of financial stability.
Recipient: Dr. Deb Sheaffer
Nominated by Dr. Ron Earp, Laurelwood Animal Hospital (Dr. Sheaffer’s husband)
Deb Sheaffer, DVM, passed away on the evening of July 5 this year. I know this award is not given on the basis of what a marvelous person, loving mother and compassionate wife she was, although I doubt anyone could surpass her on any of those categories. But I believe she excelled in her profession as well, to a degree I have rarely seen in many of my colleagues. Deb was a wildlife veterinarian at the Audubon Society of Portland’s Wildlife Care Clinic. She was the first veterinarian ever hired by Audubon, and their gamble paid huge dividends. It would be an extreme understatement to say Deb had a passion for her work – I can attest to many a night spent helping rescue and treat injured eagles, answering phone calls from concerned individuals, and all the paperwork that goes with it. She wrote grants to advance the capabilities of a rapidly growing care center, as well as presentations to veterinary personnel and testimony to government agencies about ways we can better coexist with and understand the natural habitat we live in. She was a leading member of the Oregon Wildlife Rehabilitation group, and was called upon by many a school teacher to show developing minds the wonder of the wild world.
Since her passing, I have received literally hundreds of cards and notes, most from the volunteers she trained and worked with. To a person, they all said how committed she was to her profession, and that she would always make them feel needed and valuable. Even when things went wrong, she never shamed, only approaching it as a teaching moment – “How can we make this better? How can we learn from this?” She rose to every occasion, would not back down to adversity, and was committed to a population who has scarce little voice in our world. I feel my words are inadequate to describe the impact she had on anyone she met.
Although she has passed, her efforts will shape the local field of wildlife medicine for many years. And I for one will never, ever forget her.