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AKVMA Symposium

Anchorage
/
Sept. 27-29
/
20 CE Hours
Sarah Coburn

DVM, MS

Dr. Sarah Coburn is the State Veterinarian for Alaska.  She completed her veterinary degree, as well as a Master’s Degree in Clinical Sciences, at Colorado State University.   She was a Veterinary Medical Officer for USDA APHIS Veterinary Services in Vermont prior to moving to Utqiagvik in 2011.  In Utqiagvik she served as the Public Health Officer and Veterinarian for the North Slope Borough Department of Health, managing animal care and control, in addition to clinical veterinary practice. She became the Assistant State Veterinarian for Alaska in 2017, and in January transitioned to State Veterinarian.  

Jodie Jones

DVM, MPH, DACVPM

Dr. Jodie Jones completed her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 2012 and her Master in Public Health in 2013 from Oregon State University. In 2019 she became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventative Medicine.

Dr. Jones started her journey as a veterinarian in a private mixed animal practice in Central Oregon and was then employed by Banfield as a float veterinarian for the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area. In 2015 she began her career as a regulatory veterinarian starting with the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) in Oregon and then transferred to USDA APHIS Veterinary Services as the Export Veterinary Medical Officer in the Tumwater, WA office. In 2019, she took the position as the Field Veterinary Medical Officer for USDA APHIS Veterinary Services stationed in Anchorage, AK. In addition to her field duties in Alaska she has been deployed to the virulent Newcastle Disease outbreak in 2019, the COVID 19 mass vaccination effort under FEMA in 2020 and has had multiple deployments to the 2022-2024 Highly Pathogenetic Avian Influenza outbreak.

 

Louisa Castrodale

DVM, MPH

Dr. Castrodale is veterinary epidemiologist and Alaska State Public Health Veterinarian. She is principal investigator for the Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity Grant (CDC). Duties include general infectious disease surveillance, particularly zoonotic disease, and response to outbreaks. Other responsibilities include managing the Rabies Control Program and supervising the Section’s Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer, and other fellows. She serves as Acting Manager of the Infectious Diseases and Tuberculosis Program, and Acting Chief of the Section of Epidemiology as needed.

Rachel Berngartt

DVM, JD

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William D. Saxon

DVM, DACVIM, DACVECC

Dr. Saxon received his DVM from Iowa State University in 1986. He completed his internship at the Animal Medical Center in New York City and residencies at the AMC and the University of Pennsylvania. He practices in Washington, D.C. He has been an IDEXX Reference Laboratories internal medicine consultant since 1997. Dr. Saxon is a coauthor of Manual of Small Animal Emergency and Critical Care Medicine and has authored articles on cardiomyopathy, acute abdomen disease, drug toxicities and burn injury.

Ashley Melco

DVM, DACVIM (Small Animal Internal Medicine)

Dr. Ashley Melco is a Board-Certified Small Animal Internal Medicine Specialist at Tier 1 Veterinary Medical Center. Originally, she was born and raised in Minnesota, however, her advanced medical training has taken her on a tour of the lower 48! Dr. Melco received her doctorate of veterinary medicine from Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, CA. Her internship training was at North Carolina State College of Veterinary Medicine teaching hospital in Raleigh, North Carolina, and she completed her residency in small animal internal medicine at the University of Wisconsin Madison Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin. Her clinical research focused on gastrointestinal and infectious disease. Throughout training she found a passion for teaching clinical students/interns and developed a special interest in mental health within the veterinary profession. When not working, her past times include gardening, cooking, reading, ice climbing and trail running with her dog Vasu.

 

Ashley Bourgeois

DVM, DACVD

Dr. Ashley Bourgeois is a board-certified veterinary dermatologist passionate about providing practical knowledge to general practitioners to help itchy pets! She completed her bachelor’s degree at Iowa State University and graduated from the University of Missouri’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 2010. She then completed a one-year small animal internship at Purdue University. Upon finishing her internship, she accepted a residency position with the Animal Dermatology Clinic’s Tustin, California location in 2011. She became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Dermatology in 2014. Dr. Bourgeois moved to Portland, Oregon in 2016 to help expand the company. She is an owner within the company and on the board of directors. She has a strong interest in autoimmune skin diseases, allergies, cytology, and otology.

In her leisure, Dr. Bourgeois enjoys outdoor activities, traveling, and watching sports. She and her husband stay busy with their daughter, son, and rescue Lab/Boxer/Pit mix. Dr. Bourgeois is passionate about educating veterinarians in dermatology and work/life integration through her podcast, lecturing, and social media presence (The Derm Vet).

Rebecca Walker

BS, LVT, VTS (Clinical Practice - Canine/Feline), CFVP, CVPP, CCAT

Rebecca grew up on Kodiak Island Alaska and is a 2009 graduate of Portland Community Colleges Veterinary Technology Program, a 2015 graduate of University of Alaska, Anchorage, the first VTS in the State of Alaska in Clinical Practice – Canine/Feline focus through the Academy of Veterinary Technicians in Clinical Practice (AVTCP), was a previous vice-president on the Alaska Veterinary Technician Association Board, continues to mentor VTS applicants through the mentorship committee and the exam review committee for the AVTCP.  She obtained her Pain Practitioner certification in 2021 through the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management (IVAPM) and her Companion Animal Rehabilitation Therapist certification in 2023 through the North Carolina State University (Previously the program from University of Tennessee). 

She has worked in general practice, emergency medicine/specialty referral, internal medicine, shelter medicine, and research.  She has a strong interest in Animal Health Emergency Response Team programs, One Health Initiatives, veterinary ethics, and sustainable work-force initiatives.  She recently accepted the role of Assistant Professor and Co-Director of Alaska’s first Veterinary Technology Associates program at the University of Alaska, Anchorage – Mat-Su College.

 

Holly Cummings

LVT

Holly Cummings is a perfect example of a veterinary technician who has purposefully pursued her career. While studying for her degree, she
knew that even then she wanted to be involved in education. After
starting at a small veterinary clinic in Richfield, Minnesota, she
transitioned into education and was soon offered a role as the executive program chair for Broadview University at their Boise campus. She spent 7 years as an integral part of building the curriculum for this program, helping future veterinary technicians reach their full potential. She then relocated to Clarkston, Washington, where she returned to a mixed animal practice, and transitioned to the Diagnostic Imaging Department at the Washington State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Pullman, Washington. 

Ms. Cummings is an extremely passionate member of the veterinary technician community, particularly in recognizing the different important
roles they play in their clinics. In particular, she feels that the diversity of experience and expertise speaks volumes to the important role vet techs play in keeping pets healthy. From administrative tasks such as
reminding pet owners about administering heartworm disease
preventives every month to running laboratory and diagnostic tests, she
believes that veterinary technicians have some of the most important
and insightful perspectives in the industry.

She is the proud owner of a wirehaired pointing griffon named Oddly Bee.

Eli Cohen

DVM, DACVR

Dr. Cohen is founder and radiologist of Dragonfly Imaging, a teleradiology and mobile sonography company, and Adjunct Professor (formerly Clinical Professor) at NC State University. Prior to NC State he was a senior lecturer in diagnostic imaging at Massey University in New Zealand, and did his residency training at the University of Georgia. Dr. Cohen interprets all diagnostic imaging modalities, with special interest in exotic animal and cross-sectional imaging (CT/MRI). He is particularly interested in how our human biology affects learning and predisposes us to medical errors, and the methods we can employ to reduce those errors to better help our patients. Eyeing the future, he has become a voice in regards to artificial intelligence, and how it can be ethically deployed in veterinary medicine. Some of his research and conservation efforts in the Galapagos Islands have recently been featured on the PBS series Evolution Earth. 

Tracy Sheffield

CVPM, LVT

Tracy Sheffield received her Bachelor of Science degree from Oregon State University. She has earned the designation of Certified Veterinary Practice Manager. Additionally, she is a Licensed Veterinary Technician in the state of Texas.

Tracy is a managing partner for T & L Veterinary Business Consulting. T & L Veterinary Business Consulting offers real world solutions to small and midsized practices in the areas of human resources and team building, marketing and client education, financial analysis and loss prevention and operations.

Tracy has over 30 years of practice management experience with a mixed animal practice.

She is widely published including pieces in Veterinary Economics, Veterinary Technician, The Veterinary Business Journal (UK), and DVM 360. She cowrote Chapter 17on Business Management for the AAEVT Equine Manual for Veterinary Technicians. She is currently working on four topics for Blackwell’s Five Minute Consult -Practice Management 4th edition.

Tracy has been a speaker at veterinary conferences across the country. She has spoken at AVMA, AAEP, Southeast Veterinary Conference, Fetch DVM 360, the Bluegrass Conference and many others.

Tracy is a two time national finalist (2016 & 2018) for Practice Manager of the Year. An avid horsewoman, Tracy is also president of the Texas Thoroughbred Association.

Helen Chiu

DVM, CVA

Dr. Helen Chiu has a comprehensive background in both conventional and alternative veterinary medicine. After completing her undergraduate studies in Taiwan, she moved to the United States and obtained her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Driven by a passion for integrative healing, Dr. Chiu furthered her training with a Small Animal rotating internship at VCA West Los Angeles Animal Hospital. She also pursued certification as a veterinary acupuncturist from the Chi Institute, expanding her skill set to provide comprehensive care to her patients. Since completing her formal training, Dr. Chiu has served as a full-time relief veterinarian at various veterinary medical facilities, including general practice clinics, physical rehabilitation specialties, and multi-specialty hospitals.  In addition to her clinical expertise, Dr. Chiu is proficient in Mandarin Chinese and is a certified yoga teacher. She has also received training in Traditional Chinese Veterinary Food Therapy. Dedicated to providing compassionate care to animals, Dr. Chiu blends her knowledge of conventional veterinary medicine with holistic modalities to optimize the well-being of her patients.

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