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2011 Alumni Society Recognition Award Bios

Biographies of the Winners

Gary L. Riggs, DVM

Dr. Gary Riggs graduated from The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine with his DVM degree in 1981. He has had a long career of commitment to wildlife and preservation. Following graduation, he worked in an Akron, Ohio emergency room where he started treating exotic pets. This led to the Akron Zoological Park asking him to develop their veterinary program. Working at the zoo exposed him to animals and conservation efforts from all over the world.

In 2006 Dr. Riggs and some volunteers started the non-profit organization, "Wild4Ever," a wildlife conservation foundation dedicated to preserving animals both domestically and worldwide. This group looks for small and underfunded efforts that can have a big effect at little cost.

Dr. Riggs is owner of Barberton Veterinary Clinic, Animal Clinic of Wadsworth, North Coast Bird & Exotic Specialties, and is veterinary advisor to numerous organizations. He is past president of Summit County VMA, Ohio Animal Health Foundation, and Metropolitan Referral Group. His award nominator stated, "When I envision a veterinarian whose expertise encapsulates all animals and species alike, it is Gary who has excelled above the rest."

Anna M. van Heeckeren, MS, DVM

Dr. Anna van Heeckeren received her DVM degree from The Ohio State University in 1993. She is the visionary and founder of The van Heeckeren Foundation, established in 2008, and has currently raised $325,000 for the purpose of preventing the spread of zoonotic diseases through research, education, and outreach. It also provides veterinary care to dogs and cats of qualified individuals. In her work with the foundation, Dr. van Heeckeren has developed relationships with other professionals interested in advancing the One Health concept.

Prior to establishing the foundation, as Animal Core Director at Case Western Reserve University, Dr. van Heeckeren became a leading worldwide expert in cystic fibrosis mouse models. In the 15 years she was at the university, she secured $8 million in grant and contract funding. Dr. van Heeckeren has shown an exceptional ability to collaborate with others at the local, state, national, and international levels toward common goals centered on issues balancing the needs of public health with that of animal welfare in challenging environments.

Dr. van Heeckeren has served in leadership roles at the American Veterinary Medical Foundation including board chair, chair of both the Grants/Awards Committee and the Executive Committee. Her training as a veterinarian and biomedical researcher, and compassion for the animals in her care and the people she serves, gives her a unique appreciation of people with different viewpoints. Her commitment to animal welfare is ensuring all pets receive adequate veterinary care to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

Donald L. Reynolds, DVM, PhD

Dr. Donald Reynolds received his DVM degree in 1981 and PhD degree in 1986 from The Ohio State University. He is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists. In 2008 Dr. Reynolds was named dean and professor of Microbiology and Pathology of the Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island. Prior to this appointment, Dr. Reynolds served as associate dean for Research and Graduate Studies and associate director of the Veterinary Medical Research Institute at the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Reynolds is a member of numerous professional organizations and currently serves on the AVMA’s Council of Research and on the AAVMC. He has received several professional awards including the AAAP’s "New Investigator Award" and the "Visionary Award" presented for creativity and innovation in higher education by Iowa State University. He was also named to Phi Kappa Phi, Gamma Sigma Delta, Phi Beta Delta and Phi Zeta honor societies.

Dr. Reynolds holds two patents and numerous refereed journal publications. His research interests include enteric diseases of poultry, respiratory diseases of poultry, and food safety/security. He also serves on the editorial board of Avian Diseases and on the Animal Health Research Reviews.

His nominator cited that Dr. Reynolds "demonstrated commitment to diversity enhancement in our profession." As an example, Dr. Reynolds identified and recruited an African American woman into a combined DVM/PhD program and obtained financial support for the student as well.

Dawn E. Morin, DVM, MS

Dr. Dawn Morin received her DVM degree from The Ohio State University in 1986 and a Master of Science degree from the University of Illinois in 1991. She is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. In 2008 she was named professor and Assistant Dean, Academic Affairs & Curriculum at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Morin also serves as the attending veterinarian for Agricultural Animals and director of the Agricultural Animal Care and Use Program. She is a leader in ruminant medicine and surgery, particularly related to mastitis.