Marie-Suthers-McCabe, of Riner, Va., associate professor of small animal clinical sciences at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, has been awarded the highest honor in the nation for work in the area of the “human/animal bond.”

Suthers-McCabe was recently presented with the 2005 Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award at the 142nd annual meeting of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the 28th World Veterinary Conference in Minneapolis. She was honored for her exemplary work in promoting and protecting the human/animal bond. The award includes a crystal obelisk, a cash award for the honoree and a matching cash award for a veterinary college or non-profit organization of the recipient’s choice.

"I would like to extend heartfelt thanks to my veterinary medical students who nominated me for this honor and to my colleagues who wrote letters of support,” said Suthers-McCabe. “Veterinary medicine is a great profession. One of the reasons is that we are not just animal doctors, we are family doctors. This bridge between veterinary medicine and human health is recognized by the Bustad award.”

Suthers-McCabe is the immediate past president of the American Association of Human Animal Bond Veterinarians and is also on the Council of the International Society for Anthrozoology. She is the creator and developer of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine’s Center for Animal-Human Interaction (CENTAUR), which promotes the convergence of human and veterinary medicine through research, education and service. She is the faculty advisor for the college’s “Pet Loss Support Hotline,” she serves on the Human/Animal Bond committee of the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association, and she serves as veterinary advisor for People, Animals, Nature, Inc.

She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Saint Francis of Assisi Service Dog Foundation, the Many Blessings Farm Therapeutic Riding Program, and the advisory council of the Unbridled Association.

Suthers-McCabe, who spent two weeks at “Ground Zero” immediately following the 9/11 tragedy as a veterinary medical officer with Veterinary Medical Assistance Team 2 of the National Disaster Medical System, has spoken extensively at meetings around the nation and the world. Her academic interests include studying the impact of human/animal interactions on specific human populations and the well-being of animals employed in therapeutic interventions for humans.

Suthers-McCabe earned her DVM degree from The Ohio State University and a certificate in Animal Assisted Therapy and Education from People, Animals, Nature Inc.

The award was named for the late Leo K. Bustad, former President of the Delta Society, Dean of the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, and a pioneer in recognizing the importance of the human-animal bond. The award is sponsored by the American Veterinary Medical Association, Delta Society, and Hill's Pet Nutrition, Inc.

The Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (VMRCVM) is a two-state, three-campus professional school operated by the land-grant universities of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg and the University of Maryland at College Park. Its flagship facilities, based at Virginia Tech, include the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, which treats more than 40,000 animals annually. Other campuses include the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center in Leesburg, Va., and the Avrum Gudelsky Veterinary Center at College Park, home of the Center for Government and Corporate Veterinary Medicine. The VMRCVM annually enrolls approximately 500 Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and graduate students, is a leading biomedical and clinical research center, and provides professional continuing education services for veterinarians practicing throughout the two states.

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