OVC Alumni Celebrated For Their Contributions To The Veterinary Profession


June 22, 2022

Each year, the Ontario Veterinary College Alumni Association (OVCAA) recognize the outstanding accomplishments of OVC alumni who have made significant contributions to the veterinary profession.

This year, the OVCAA recognizes Drs. Ira Zaslow (OVC DVM 1970), Scott Stevenson (OVC DVM 2013) and Richard Barnett (OVC DVM 1973) for their dedicated work in veterinary medicine.

Dr. Ira Zaslow
2022 OVCAA Distinguished Alumni Award

The OVCAA Distinguished Alumnus Award recognizes OVC graduates who have brought honour to their alma mater and fellow alumni in the areas of alumni affairs, education, community, profession, country and science.

Dr. Ira Zaslow graduated with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree from the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) in 1970, and is a Charter Diplomate, Emergency and Critical Care Medicine from the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care.

Since his graduation, Dr. Zaslow has dedicated his career to advancing the discipline of veterinary emergency and critical care medicine. One of the four founding fathers of the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society (VECCS) and the American College of Veterinary Emergency Critical Care, he was also the first veterinary member of the Human Society of Critical Care Medicine, a unique honor he held exclusively for more than 20 years. In the late 1980s, Dr. Zaslow organized the first International Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Symposium (IVECCS), which currently draws more than 4,000 attendees.

In 1994, the Zaslow Distinguished Service Award at VECCS was created in Dr. Zaslow’s honour, recognizing individuals demonstrating exceptional commitment and dedication while making significant contributions to the practice of veterinary emergency critical care.

Dr. Zaslow published numerous journal articles throughout his career, and in 1984 edited the Veterinary Trauma and Critical Care textbook. This was the first textbook to appear in this field and remained a standby for decades as it heralded the importance and recognition of this vital specialty.

As a busy practitioner both in New England and in Florida, Dr. Zaslow deeply believed in the need and value of emergency and critical care to offer the highest possible standard of care. He regularly invited highly recognized specialists to his practice to provide continuing education programs not only for his own clinicians and staff, but also for the local veterinary community. In addition, he was responsible for residency training of several individuals in the emergency and critical care specialty.

Dr. Zaslow also saw a need for greater inclusivity and diversity in the veterinary profession, and lobbied for greater inclusivity in veterinary school admissions for students from underrepresented communities who wished to pursue veterinary medicine.

Dr. Scott Stevenson
2022 OVCAA Young Alumni Award

The OVCAA Young Alumnus Award recognizes OVC graduates who have made a significant contribution in their field within fifteen years of completing an undergraduate DVM or a graduate degree from OVC.

Dr. Scott Stevenson graduated from OVC with a DVM degree in 2013, and is part owner of Thousand Islands Veterinary Services in eastern Ontario, where he is known for providing an exceptional quality of care for pets and clients.

Throughout his career, he has played an important role in advancing Lyme disease awareness in Canada. In addition to his commitments in general practice, he has given many talks to veterinarians, technicians and members of the public on the changing risk of exposure to ticks and tick-borne diseases in dogs, cats and people across Canada.

Dr. Stevenson has brought significant awareness to multiple areas of companion animal parasitology across Canada through his activities as a board member of the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) in the USA. He has been a very active member of the Canadian Parasitology Expert Panel, where he has made substantive contributions to the development of evidence-based guidelines for controlling parasites in dogs and cats across Canada, and has taken an active role in promoting these guidelines to Canadian veterinarians. Dr. Stevenson was also one of a number of veterinarians asked to provide feedback on the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine's most recent consensus statement on Lyme disease.

He has also been influential in shaping the conversation around mental health in veterinary medicine. Through presentations to members of the veterinary profession and through social media, he works actively to increase awareness around mental health. He values the importance of mental health, support and connection and makes this a top priority within his team at the clinic.

One of Dr. Stevenson’s colleagues shared this summary of his impact on the veterinary profession: “It is not just Scott’s technical knowledge that sets him apart; he has a genuine desire to get involved, educate, create awareness around ticks and tick-borne diseases, and tackle some of the major challenges that the veterinary sector faces. His dedication both in his everyday work at his practice and in the broader field of veterinary medicine has led to strong trusting relationships with his clients, his peers, and his colleagues.”

Dr. Richard Barnett
2022 OVCAA Alumni Volunteer Award

The OVCAA Volunteer Award recognizes OVC graduates who have volunteered their time within the college, community, a veterinary organization, nationally and/or internationally and bring honour and recognition to OVC.

Dr. Richard Barnett graduated with a DVM degree from OVC in 1973. Following his graduation, he worked in Alberta and later Nova Scotia before returning to his hometown of Essex, Ontario. He worked at the Essex Animal Clinic before opening his own large animal practice four years later. This practice evolved first into a mixed practice and later into a focus on companion animals.

During his time in large animal practice, Dr. Barnett had the pleasure of hosting students as part of OVC's externship program. He also served as president of the Essex-Kent Veterinary Association and as treasurer for the Ontario Association of Swine Practitioners.

Dr. Barnett’s volunteerism was inspired by his parents. His father volunteered for the Canadian Armed Forces, and both his father and mother were active volunteers in their community. He was also inspired by his employers and veterinary colleagues Drs. Brown and McKelvie, both of whom who epitomized the Rotary motto, “Service Above Self.”

Inspired by these examples, Dr. Barnett joined his local Rotary Club, where he has served as president, treasurer, secretary, and on various committees for over 20 years. His efforts with the Rotary Club included fundraising to support both local and international initiatives, including student exchange programs and scholarships, the Essex Food bank, Citizen of the Year, support for Hospice of Windsor and Essex County, the Rotary centenary mural, Little Libraries, and international programs supporting polio eradication, eye care clinics, and infrastructure for clean water and irrigation. He was twice named Rotarian of the Year by his Rotary Club for service to his club and community.

Dr. Barnett also serves on the Board of Directors for Heritage Essex, which oversees the restoration and management of the Historic Essex Railway Station and maintains a large collection of railroad artifacts, a railway library, and sponsors the largest model train show and exhibit in Southwestern Ontario each year.  Two of his favorite projects were the restoration of the WWI Cannon on display in front of the Essex Town Hall, and the restoration of the 135-year-old railroad baggage cart which can be seen in front of the station.

When asked about his volunteerism, he states, “A small group of volunteers, each doing a little bit, can produce amazing results. I hope I have done my bit.”

About the OVC Alumni Association Awards

The OVC Alumni Association Awards were established to recognize OVC graduates who have made a significant contribution to the veterinary profession, and who have brought honour to their alma mater and fellow alumni in the areas of alumni affairs, education, community, profession, country, and science.

If you know an OVC graduate who deserves to be recognized for their accomplishments, please consider nominating them for an OVC Alumni Association Award. Nominations for the 2022-23 OVCAA Awards close on March 1, 2023. 

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