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Presenters & Facilitators:  2005


Cindy Adams, PhD
Gilbert Burns, DVM PhD
Richard DeBowes, DVM, MS
Kelly Griffin
Susan Seaman EdD
Zach Ricker DVM
Kathy Ruby PhD
Kara Tassone
Dan Zenner PhD


John & Fay Batchelder
Warwick, Bayly
Marcy Brown-Dawley
Jane R. Shaw, DVM, PhD
Graham Swinney, DVM
Kelly Farnsworth, DVM, MS
Margaret-Mary McEwen, BVSc
Leslie Sprunger


Dr. Cindy Adams   Cindy Adams PhD, MSW, BSW is a Professor of Communication and Social Epidemiologist at the Univerisity of Guelph, Ontario Veterianry College. Dr Adams received her Master’s of Social Work from the University of Calgary and University of Western Ontario. She developed, as part of her Master’s thesis, a training program for veterinarians on effective support for bereaved pet owners. She worked with veterinary practices across the country to develop protocols for dealing with end of life and teaching communication skills for addressing various issues in practice.

In 1996 Adams completed her PhD in Veterinary Epidemiology at the Ontario Veterinary College. Currently a Professor in the Department of Population Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, she has developed the first comprehensive communication curriculum in veterinary education in North America. Dr. Adams has also established a comprehensive research program pertaining to medical communication skills that attracts graduate students from across North America. Her publications reflect commitment to furthering knowledge about clinical communication and educational strategies for preparing entry level graduates for practice, and the human animal bond.

Dr. Adams is called upon nationally and internationally for her expertise in setting up programs that will teach the skills required to deal with communication challenges inherent to veterinary medicine. She consults to veterinary practices and conducts training workshops on clinical and team based communication plus design, development and assessment of communication curricula. Adams recently organized and Chaired the First International Conference on Communication in Veterinary Medicine which was attended by practitioners, educators and researchers.
Dr. Gil Burns   Gilbert A. Burns is the Associate Dean of Academic and Student Affairs, the Director of Admissions, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Veterinary Comparative Anatomy, Physiology, and Pharmacology (VAPP) in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University (WSU). He holds Ph.D. (Neuroanatomy) and DVM degrees from Cornell University, as well as a B.A. in psychology (magna cum laude) from Michigan State University and physician’s assistant certification (PA-C) from the University of Wisconsin.
By the time he joined the CVM faculty at WSU in 1992, Gil had functioned as a primary-care physician’s assistant, a private practice veterinarian, and an academic with research interests that include the elucidation of the hindbrain neurocircuitry involved in the control of food intake. While at WSU, Gil has been active in scholarly research and publication, teaching (veterinary anatomy, neuroscience, and leadership development courses) and service (at the university, state and national level). Most recently, he has participated in ongoing efforts to enhance the personal growth, leadership, and communication skills of veterinary medical students and has presented the WSU-derived Emotional Competency Model at veterinary schools and professional meetings in the United States and Canada.
  Richard M. DeBowes is the Professor of Surgery and Chair for the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences (VCS) in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University (WSU). He holds a Masters Degree in Veterinary Surgery from Washington State ('82) and a DVM from the University of Illinois ('79) as well as BS degrees from Illinois and Massachusetts. He is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, a former chair of Clinical Sciences at Kansas State University an active contributor to organized veterinary medicine and a past president of several national veterinary organizations including the American Association of Veterinary Clinicians and the North American Veterinary Conference.
Although formally trained as an equine clinician/surgeon and engaged for most of a 26 year career as a veterinary clinical educator and academic surgeon, Dr. DeBowes has spent much of the past 6 years of his career focusing on changes in student and program needs in Colleges of Veterinary Medicine and specifically, how best to equip students with the skills they need for success and continued professional growth.
  Kelly Griffin is a 2nd year student at the University of MN College Of Vet Med. Go Gophers! In addition to pursuing a DVM, she keeps herself busy as President of our AVMA Student Chapter, Class Representative, and of course VLE Representative to our college. Kelly’s career endeavors include practicing small animal medicine, owning her own business, and one day teaching the future leaders in veterinary medicine. Kelly states, “In my spare time (yes I do have some) I enjoy watching my 2 yr old daughter encounter the world anew, traveling with my family, and playing some soccer For right now I am content with a good book.”


Susan J. Seaman is the education specialist member of the WSU CVM VLE/SLE Leadership Team, with Master’s, Education Specialist, and Doctor of Education degrees in Educational Administration from the University of Idaho.

As a teacher, Susan has been involved with district, state, and regional leadership in the areas of curriculum, instruction, and assessment development. A teaching highlight was to receive the Presidential Award for Mathematics and Science Teaching from the National Science Foundation.

As an administrator, Susan has implemented and evaluated a variety of programs, policies, procedures, supervision, and grants, has worked with state department of education personnel and legislators, has planned professional conferences, and has presented at state and regional conferences, in addition to co-chairing an Idaho Achievement Standards committee. An administrative highlight was to receive the Educator of the Decade Award from the University of Idaho Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa. Additional leadership training has been in Expeditionary Learning/Outward Bound, including completing a Puget Sound Longboat Course and a New York City Urban Expedition.

Susan also has experience with breeding and showing Arabian horses and Irish setters. She donated a carrier mare and affected colt to the WSU combined immunodeficiency (CID) program and successfully test bred and registered her ISCA Top Brood Matron/Top Litter producer as one of the first to be certified as a non-carrier of progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).

  Zach Ricker is a 2005 graduate of Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine and will be doing a small animal rotating medicine and surgical internship at Texas A&M University. At Oklahoma State he has held the positions of SCAVMA president, SAVMA Delegate, and was a founder of the Veterinary Business Club. As OSU’s SAVMA delegate Zach was the founding chair of the Economics, Finance, and Management Committee and served as the student representative to the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues (NCVEI). Zach’s passion is small animal surgery and he plans on pursuing a residency in that field after his internship. Additional interests include studying interpersonal communication, the characteristics of successful leaders, and enjoying outdoor activities. As a graduate of the 2004 VLE Zach states that the experience has, and will continue to contribute to the development of great leaders within our profession.
Reflecting on the 04 VLE, Zach states, ”the VLE has equipped me with life long friends and the support of the veterinary leaders of today as well as those of tomorrow. It provided me with the environment necessary to discover the intricacies of my personality and has equipped me with the tools necessary to improve myself as a veterinarian, leader, and friend.”
  Kathleen L. Ruby, Ph.D. is a licensed professional clinical counselor with more than twenty years experience in the counseling and educational fields. She has been the head of WSU's College of Veterinary Medicine Counseling and Wellness Department and on the veterinary school faculty for the past six years. In this capacity, she has counseled veterinary students and faculty, taught classes on life skills, as well as developed and conducted programs and workshops related to professionalism, communication skills, stress management, life balance, and leadership within the college.
Dr. Ruby developed and supervises WSU’s Pet Loss Support Hotline, and trains students in client bereavement management. The development of an integrated method teaching and reinforcing life/professional success/ non-technical skills in veterinary students is a central goal of her work.

She is a frequent speaker at state veterinary associations and practice venues. With a background and training in individual and organizational psychology, human development and leadership, Dr. Ruby brings a unique mix of people-skills, psychological insights, and programmatic ideas to the profession of veterinary medicine. Her special research interests include the psychology of high achieving individuals and the development of emotional competence in medical professionals.
  Dan Zenner achieved a Ph.D. in Sport Ethics & Sport Psychology while studying at the Center for Ethics at the University of Idaho. In 2004 Dan achieved Certified Consultant status with the Association for the Advancement of Applied Sport Psychology. Dan’s area of expertise is helping high-achieving individuals and organizations pursue excellence. As a faculty member at the Center for Ethics, Dan assists in ongoing projects such as character education programs for several major university athletic departments, the military academies, and professional colleges. In this capacity, Dan collaborates in the development of recommendations to assist client organizations modify their pedagogical methodology so that the clients graduate more complete performers. While consulting with the veterinary medical profession, Dan’s efforts have focused on further developing in current veterinary students and professionals the non-technical competencies identified as critical for future success by veterinary medical organization sponsored studies.
Dan has served as a performance consultant for youth, high school, and collegiate individual and team sports, Olympic bobsledders, collegiate and professional musicians and actresses, physicians, and police officers. Dan has coached at the youth, high school and collegiate level and has been a part-time tennis teaching professional for many years. After completing his undergraduate degree in Animal Science, Dan owned and operated a livestock feed commodity brokering business for eighteen years. Dan served on several state and national agricultural industry boards during that time and was selected to participate in several industry sponsored leadership development programs.

To inquire about performance excellence coaching services, contact Dan at Gold Medal Mentoring at

John & Fay Batchelder

John is the Executive Director and Fay is the Program Director at Ross Point Camp and Conference Center in Post Falls, Idaho. John and Fay Batchelder have been in the camp and conference field for approximately 19 years, and actively involved in team building and outdoor adventure for 17 years. John has a B.S. in Zoology.


Previous to camping they toured with an International Drama Group performing plays and leading drama and communication workshops. John traveled with the group for 6 years traveling through the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, and Fay was with the group for 3 years. It was there they met and were married.

They have three children, Zachary, Rachel, and Joel. They love camping, climbing, skiing, motorcycles, music ….life!

  Jane R. Shaw, DVM, PhD is currently an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Communication at Western University of Health Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Shaw received her veterinary degree from Michigan State University in 1994. After spending two years in companion animal practice in northern New Jersey, Dr. Shaw joined Cornell University, as an instructor in the problem-based learning curriculum and clinician for the Community Practice Service. While at Cornell, she developed Cornell Companions, an animal-assisted activities program that works with developmentally disabled children and advised student volunteers of the Pet Loss Support Hotline.
Most recently, she completed her PhD in Epidemiology at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. The title of her PhD thesis was “Communication Skills and the Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship”, the first study of the veterinarian-client-patient communication. In a theme of firsts, while at OVC, she developed the student-centered Community Wellness Service, which focused on preventative medicine and clinical interviewing. In addition, she advised the development of the first Pet Loss Support Hotline in Canada. Dr. Shaw is currently serving on the advisory committee for the International Conference on Communication in Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Shaw brings her passions for social epidemiology, human-animal interactions, communication and student-centered learning.
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