2020 PVMA Award Recipients

2020 PVMA Award Recipients

This year, the PVMA is honored to recognize two individuals and an organization that have gone above and beyond for the veterinary profession and the people in it. Thank you so much to Tiah Schwartz, Dr. Bob Mack, and the Portland Animal Welfare Team for your dedication to our profession and community!

Veterinary Team Member of the Year

Tiah Schwartz CVT
Oregon National Primate Research Center
Oregon Veterinary Technician and Assistant Association

“I have had the utmost pleasure of knowing and working closely with Tiah for almost ten years now in the Surgical Services Unit at the Oregon National Primate Research Center. To say Tiah is a triple threat is an understatement, she’s like a quintuple or dodecathreat.  I am continually amazed by her positivity, compassion, intelligence, you name it, she embodies it.

Tiah is a consummate self-starter with an incredible work ethic. She truly leads by example both within our unit and as part of the ONPRC/OHSU community.  Her hard work and focus are evident to all and the energy she brings to work each day motivates those around her to excel. Among her many attributes, Tiah demonstrates a strong dedication to animal welfare, minimally invasive surgery, training (not only herself but others), and, most unique of all, a passion for emergency response and management. This last attribute is displayed through her long-time participation in the Oregon Veterinary Emergency Response Team and the National Veterinary Emergency Response Team, as well as her disaster planning efforts here at the ONPRC.  She even coordinates and sends out regular emergency preparedness tips to the entire ONPRC community as part of these outreach efforts. Tiah provides compassionate care for her animal patients while assuring scientific integrity for her research partners.

Her experience and can-do attitude make Tiah a highly skilled and invaluable surgical team member. She consistently delivers centralized, reliable, and consistent surgical services. Through her outside activities, Tiah spreads positive information about what we do among people who may not be aware of our work or contributions – she is an ideal ambassador for the ONPRC. Above all she is a natural leader and a highly respected team player who is always ready and willing to help with a smile.”

– Dr. Lauren Drew Martin

” This award is a wonderful recognition of Tiah’s work… and it does not surprise me at all. Tiah is a true team player. She does her job along with about 7 other jobs around campus, most are community-service oriented. She gives so much and asks so little in return and she does it all with grace, kindness, and good humor. Tiah’s work in disaster preparedness is legendary – she is like a “prepper” without all the crazy. Her energy, compassion, generosity, and graciousness are exactly what the world needs more of right now. We are all truly fortunate to have Tiah amongst us.”

– Dr. Theodore Hobbs


Veterinarian of the the Year

Dr. Bob Mack
VCA NW Veterinary Specialists- Retired

“At first it might seem like nepotism that 6 out of 8 current board members have personally worked with Dr. Mack.  But if you actually know Bob, you will see it more as a representation of how many of us in the community have called him, colleague, coworker, intern, and friend.  You didn’t need to be a doctor or technician at Northwest Veterinary Specialists (NWVS) to appreciate how much he has contributed to our community.

In 1990 he started out as an internist at NWVS at its original SE Stark St/Gresham location joining 3 surgeons and an ophthalmologist.  In 1999, Dr. Mack, Dr. Scherlie and Dr. Lozier branched out on their own and opened NWVS as it exists today at its current location in Clackamas.  At one point in time NWVS employed 45 doctors that included specialists in 11 different disciplines. 

I first met Bob in 1996 while doing an externship at NWVS.  Since I was the first student they had ever agreed to take, they didn’t really know what to do with me.  Mack and Dr. Scherlie rescued me from my boredom, put me to work and taught me a lot in my 4 short weeks with them.  They also took me to some classy establishment where all I can remember is, we threw our peanut shells on the floor of the bar.  I moved to Portland three years later and have felt lucky to always have Bob pick up my calls, help with cases, take my referrals, and in the early years at Dove – come in at 2am to scope an esophageal foreign body for me.

Dr. Mack was more than just a practice owner or even just a specialist in the community.  He was an advocate for his clients, his patients and most importantly his team and colleagues.  Many of us refer to him as Papa Mack. He earned this title because of his ability to empathize, connect and support all of us even during moments of extreme tension and stress.  While we joke often about how his drug of choice was prednisone, in reality it was laughter.  He could turn tears to a smile and a good laugh with his spot-on sense of humor and rapport with everyone he interacted with.  He is our friend and our mentor and our trusted confidant.  He has taught and mentored hundreds of student and interns that have rotated thru specialty medicine.

Bob has contributed to our community in a variety of other ways.  He serves or has served on the PVMA, Dove Lewis, and Oregon Humane Society boards.  While he probably wouldn’t confess, he is quite the horse salesman.  I don’t think there is anyone in town he hasn’t at least tried to sell a horse to.  Bob retired earlier this year, a well-earned moment in his career.  A moment that unfortunately was overshadowed by a pandemic and civil unrest.  He and his wife are currently looking into ways that they can help pets within the homeless community as well as those who are fleeing domestic violence and other situations that have put them on the streets.  There is no doubt in my mind that he intends to continue to contribute to our community well into his retirement.”

– Dr. Stephen Kochis


Outstanding Service

Portland Animal Welfare Team

“Over the last 20 years, the Portland Animal Welfare (PAW) Team has been saving lives, alleviating suffering, and keeping pets and their people together by providing free veterinary care to the pets of people who are experiencing houselessness or extreme poverty in the greater Portland area. With the support of a robust volunteer base, PAW Team serves over 1,000 families in need each year. Approximately 50% of PAW Team’s client households receive $0 reportable income and PAW Team ensures that these families do not have to choose between providing care for their companion animal and affording rent, groceries, or tending to their own medical needs. PAW Team’s medical program includes weekday appointments and weekend drop-in clinics, offering a comprehensive scope of care from basic vaccine exams and parasite control, to ongoing management of chronic conditions, such as skin allergies or age-related concerns. In 2019, volunteer DVM’s dedicated 2,400 hours to provide care to 1,700 individual pets at PAW Team’s clinics.

From the start of the pandemic, PAW Team recognized the importance of ensuring their vital veterinary services remained accessible to the community and shifted their service model to make this possible. PAW Team continues to host weekday clinics using a curb-side model and has widened access to their free pet supply bank to anyone expressing need during this financially difficult time. In addition, PAW Team began offering teleconsult services, pet transportation to appointments, and delivery of essential pet supplies to ensure clients who are at-risk of exposure to the virus are able to remain safely at home. Now more than ever, PAW Team recognizes their crucial role in providing affordable, quality veterinary care to those in need in our community and seeks to remain accessible for decades to come. Despite the odds, PAW Team continues to show their dedication to improving access to veterinary care in our community and I believe they would be an excellent choice for PVMA’s Outstanding Service Award.”

– Dr. Andrea Sanchez