Jeffrey S. Douglas of Christiansburg, communications director for the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech, and Dr. Leslie Colby, clinical assistant professor at the University of Michigan Medical School and 1996 alumna of the veterinary college, have been appointed to serve on a strategic planning committee for the Association for American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC).

Douglas and Colby are two of 13 people from around the nation who will participate in a detailed strategic planning process that has been initiated by AAVMC Executive Director Marguerite Pappaioanou, who assumed leadership of the AAVMC in November 2007.

The group includes three veterinary college deans and several other senior administrators in academic institutions, AAVMC personnel, representatives from the Department of Defense, and Bayer Corporation, which is providing resources to support the strategic planning effort.

In a letter chartering the task, Dr. Pappaioanou stated that as a result of the efforts of many excellent leaders, academic veterinary medicine is facing the challenges of the 21st century with a great deal of strength.

“Even with our successes to date, however, it is important to remember that going beyond the status quo will be necessary to meet the needs of the AAVMC family and its external stakeholders into the future,” she wrote. “With the world facing uncertainty in the areas of homeland security, agroterrorism, natural disasters, and emerging zoonotic diseases, our colleges and departments must be prepared to meet society’s needs.”

The group will convene in Washington in early January for a “plan-to-plan” meeting with a strategic planning consulting firm, and then engage in a process that is expected to develop a strategic plan that will guide AAVMC for the next three to five years, she wrote.

“I’m really honored by this opportunity to serve,” said Douglas. “AAVMC is the change agent for the profession, and they are doing vital work in society. I look forward to helping out in any way that I can.”

Douglas joined the college in 1983 and presently leads the college’s public relations and legislative relations efforts.

A former president of the Association of Veterinary Advancement Professionals and the Blue Ridge Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), Douglas earned his professional accreditation from PRSA in 1994. In 2004, he was inducted into the PRSA College of Fellows, a hallmark of lifetime achievement that has been attained by only about 400 of PRSA’s 20,000 members.

He has worked closely with the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges since 1998 and was instrumental in their creation of a permanent “Advancement Committee.”

Douglas earned a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from Radford University.

Since 2002, Colby has been a clinical assistant professor in the Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine in the University of Michigan Medical School.

Colby is a three-time graduate of Virginia Tech. She received her bachelor’s degree in animal science from the College of Agriculture in 1992, her D.V.M. in 1996 and a master’s degree in veterinary science-bacteriology/immunology in 1997. She was also a post-doctoral fellow in laboratory animal science in the VMRCVM from 1999-2002. In 2005, she was board certified as a diplomate by the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine. She also serves as a consulting veterinarian to Molecular Imaging Research, Inc. in Ann Arbor.

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. Virginia Tech, the most comprehensive university in Virginia, is dedicated to quality, innovation, and results to the commonwealth, the nation, and the world.


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