OVMA award winners have demonstrated a wide range of outstanding work in their communities. Whether it’s volunteering for committees or associations, engaging in volunteer work at home or abroad, or working to improve animal welfare in the province, OVMA’s award winners are improving the veterinary profession for the better each and every day. Since the OVMA Awards Program was established in 1986, more than 100 individuals have been recognized with one of OVMA’s prestigious awards (see a list of past award winners).
Read the OVMA Awards Brochure for award categories and more information, or read our FAQ.
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Meet the 2021 OVMA Award Winners!
Outstanding Veterinarian Award - Patricia Lechten, DVM
The Outstanding Veterinarian Award is presented to a veterinarian for their outstanding contributions to the veterinary profession.
Dr. Patricia Lechten is a graduate of the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Missouri. For the past 30 years she has dedicated her career to improving the health and well-being of companion animals as practice owner of Allandale Veterinary Hospital in Barrie, Ont.
“Dr. Lechten has inspired many of the veterinarians and veterinary staff around her with her enthusiasm and charisma,” says colleague Dr. John Brajkovich. “She takes on challenges with both hands and has a tremendous amount of confidence and passion for veterinary medicine.”
She is an active advocate for the profession and animal welfare, serving on the boards for Canadian Golden Retriever Rescue and The Global Alliance for Animals and People (GAAP). She has also held several roles with the College of Veterinarians of Ontario, including serving six years on CVO Council and as the college’s president in 2019.
Dr. Lechten donates veterinary care to COPE Service Dogs, the Ontario SPCA and the local hospice centre’s live-in pet. She has also organized and participated in numerous spay, neuter and vaccination missions in Honduras, Guatemala and Jamaica, and in First Nations reserves to help underserved communities.
She also regularly gives back to her community by fundraising for the local food bank, preparing meals for the Barrie Out of the Cold program, supporting local sports teams and the arts, and by sponsoring children all over the world to help with their education.
Award of Merit - Scott Weese, DVM
The OVMA Award of Merit recognizes individuals for their practice of, or help to, veterinary medicine. It is awarded for distinguished public service to the veterinary profession in any form.
Dr. Scott Weese is a professor at the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) and a zoonotic disease/public health microbiologist at the University of Guelph’s Centre for Public Health and Zoonoses. He’s also chief of infection control at the OVC Teaching Hospital and is a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences As an infectious disease expert, Dr. Scott Weese has been an instrumental resource for Ontario veterinarians throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
When the pandemic hit, Dr. Weese worked tirelessly to provide guidance and support to veterinarians. He worked with OVMA to create a guide to help veterinary clinics safely continue operations. It provided detailed advice, from establishing services that could be offered safely to effective disinfecting and social distancing practices. As protocols developed and restrictions changed, Dr. Weese continued to revise the guide to ensure veterinary practices had up-to-date advice. The guide has since been shared with other veterinary associations and has been referenced by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, the American Animal Hospital Association and a number of state veterinary medical associations when providing advice to their own members.
Dr. Weese also published pandemic-related articles on his Worms & Germs blog, fielded COVID-19-related questions from the profession and participated in numerous webinars to provide advice to Canadian veterinarians.
“Dr. Weese selflessly volunteered his time and expertise over and over again to ensure the continued health of veterinary staff, clients, patients and the veterinary profession as a whole during this very difficult period,” says Doug Raven, OVMA’s CEO. “He went above and beyond the call of duty to guide the profession through the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Golden Life Membership Award - John Reeve-Newson, DVM
The OVMA Golden Life Membership Award recognizes OVMA members who are retired from full-time career pursuits of veterinary medicine or who have been a veterinarian for a minimum of 30 years and have served the profession in an extraordinary manner. Recipients receive an honorary lifetime OVMA membership.
Following his graduation from the Ontario Veterinary College in 1964, Dr. John Reeve-Newson opened The Animal Clinic, a Toronto-based veterinary hospital, where he remains an active partner and continues to practice. He also serves as chief executive officer and chairman of the board of the Veterinary Emergency Clinic (VEC), which he founded in 1974.
“Dr. Reeve-Newson has dedicated his career to promoting animal health and welfare at all levels,” says his colleague Dr. Matthew Richardson. “From primary care to emergency and referral care, the mentorship of young and aspiring veterinarians and overseeing the most important aspects of our profession’s self-regulation, to breeding and judging dogs at the highest levels.”
In addition to his extensive veterinary career, Dr. Reeve-Newson has volunteered for a variety of organizations. From 1989 to 1993, he served on the College of Veterinarians of Ontario’s (CVO) Discipline Committee, including three years as chair, which was followed by a term as CVO president in 1993. He was also an OVC Pet Trust board member for six years and founded the Companion Animal Wellness Foundation in 2006.
Dr. Reeve-Newson’s commitment to animal welfare has earned him many prestigious honours, including the Governor General’s Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers, which he received in 2013, and the naming of a VEC award, the Dr. John Reeve-Newson Prize in Emergency Medicine, which is presented to a fourth-year veterinary student at the Ontario Veterinary College. He is also a licensed all-breed dog show judge and has judged competitions around the world, including seven times at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City.
Honorary Membership Award - Hayley Glaholt, Yvonne Tang and Nicole Huang, founders of Link Coalition Toronto
The OVMA Honorary Membership Award is presented to someone who is not a veterinarian but has contributed to animal welfare and/or the veterinary profession.
Link Coalition Toronto (Link T.O.) was established in 2017 by Hayley Glaholt, Yvonne Tang and Nicole Huang when they saw a critical need to educate the public about the co-occurrence of domestic violence and animal abuse. They also identified the need for a pet fostering program in the Greater Toronto Area that was specifically tailored to survivors of domestic violence and their pets. Since it’s inception, Link T.O. has been instrumental in OVMA’s SafePet Ontario program, operating as a regional partner.
Glaholt, Tang and Huang have evolved the program by working to educate community health workers, law enforcement officials, animal care professionals, and the public about the interconnectedness of all types of violence.
Through their efforts, Tang, Huang and Glaholt have made a lasting impact on hundreds of domestic abuse survivors and their pets throughout the GTA. One such survivor escaped intimate partner violence but struggled to find care for her cat Phoebe. She accessed the SafePet Ontario program through Link T.O. to get Phoebe into foster care.
“These women have worked tirelessly, while still maintaining full-time jobs, to help women and their family pets like Phoebe and me,” she says. “The have advocated for women fleeing domestic violence who have been forced to abandon their animals. They are literally helping to save the lives of individuals, children and family pets.”