Presenters & Facilitators for AVMA VLE 2007
Brannan is a 2000 DVM graduate of the University of
Illinois where she started the CARE Helpline, a pet loss
Dr. Brannan received many awards in veterinary school, including several human-animal bond awards for her work in end-of-life issues and animal behavior. Her most cherished award was being voted “Most Compassionate” by her veterinary classmates at graduation.
Dr. Brannan was on faculty at Colorado State University,
working with the Argus Institute and the Community Practice
Service until 2004. At Colorado State University she was the
first recipients of the Argus Institute’s Bond-Centered
Practitioner Certification and co-authored the Argus
Institute’s Guidelines for a Bond-Centered Practice. Her
love of teaching and desire to make a positive difference in
the profession has won her several awards and
acknowledgements for teaching and compassionate client and
Dr. Brannan joined the staff of Washington State University in 2005. With a previous history of being Wilderness Education Association Outdoor Leadership certified, she was drawn to Washington State University because of their groundbreaking work in the area of leadership in the profession of veterinary medicine. Dr. Brannan is currently the Professional Programs Specialist with Banfield, The Pet Hospital.
Jennifer Brandt is the Program
Director of Honoring the Bond at
the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
As director for the Honoring the Bond program at The Ohio
State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr.
Jennifer Brandt is leading the effort to provide veterinary
teams with the communication, interpersonal and teamwork
skills needed to promote quality veterinary care and
veterinary career success.
Honoring the Bond services include professional development,
communication skills training and practice management
education. These courses provide applied learning
opportunities that foster veterinary teambuilding and
enhance veterinary team communication, while promoting a
culture of superior client service that enhances veterinary
client satisfaction and advances the clinical learning
model. Additional services include providing grief support
outreach services for pet owners and providing continuing
education and consultation for veterinary professionals.
Dr. Brandt was one of two faculty members in North America asked to serve as a faculty trainer for the Bayer Institute for Healthcare Communication’s Faculty Development Program in 2004 and 2005. This is her second year as a Veterinary Leadership Experience (VLE) faculty member. She also was invited to the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine to teach an educational series on “Communication in Veterinary Medicine.” Dr. Brandt has presented several lectures at the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association’s Midwest Veterinary Conference and at other conferences around the nation.
Dr. Brandt previously served as a medical social worker, educator and researcher specializing in work with survivors of crime and trauma and bereavement facilitation. She received her bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Indianapolis and her master’s and doctoral degrees in social work from The Ohio State University.
|Gilbert A. Burns was 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) until April 2007. He is currently the Dean of Faculty and Administrative Programs at Ross University. 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.
Betsy Charles is a 2003 graduate of Washington State
University College of Veterinary Medicine. She developed an
interest in lameness and equine imaging while working
closely with Dr. Bob Schneider, a pioneer in equine MRI. Her
senior thesis summarized an AQHA project investigating the
use of MRI in furthering our understanding of navicular
After graduation from veterinary school, she completed a one-year internship at San Luis Rey Equine Hospital in Bonsall, CA, a large referral hospital specializing in equine medicine and surgery. During this internship, she continued to pursue her interest in equine radiology by working with Dr. Norm Rantanen.
After a year in the field, she was given the opportunity to
narrow her focus and became the supervising veterinarian at
Equest Diagnostic Imaging Center, a clinic solely devoted to
equine imaging and lameness. This has allowed her to combine
her love for equine imaging with leadership as it applies to
Her passion is to make a difference in equine veterinary medicine for both horses and the practitioners who care for them by becoming a leader in the field. To that end, she is currently pursuing a master’s degree in organization leadership from Biola University. This is her second year facilitating at the VLE.
Karen K. Cornell,
DVM, Ph.D., DACVS is an Associate Professor and Surgery
Section Chief at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. Dr.
Cornell graduated from the Purdue University, College of Veterinary
Medicine in 1988. Following graduation she practiced in a
four-veterinarian all small animal practice in Evansville, Indiana
for two years. Dr. Cornell returned to Purdue University in
1990 and completed a small animal internship and surgery residency.
She achieved board certification in the American College of
Veterinary Surgeons in 1997. In 1998, she received her Ph.D.,
in cancer biology, also at Purdue University.
Dr. Cornell joined the faculty at the University of Georgia, College of Veterinary Medicine in 1998 and since that time has continued to expand her interests in oncologic and reconstructive surgery and has developed a new interest focused on the training of communications skills for veterinary professionals.
Dr. Cornell has served on the editorial board for Veterinary Surgery
and was one of the co-editors for the January 2007 edition of
Veterinary Clinics of North America, Small Animal Edition, focused
on communication skills in veterinary medicine. She currently
teaches an elective course in communication skills in the curriculum
at the University of Georgia and is conducting a research project to
evaluate the effectiveness of such courses. She also teaches
communication skills to fourth year veterinary students during their
soft tissue surgery clinical rotation and provides a seminar series
for interns and residents throughout their training programs.
In addition, Dr. Cornell teaches several surgery courses throughout
the curriculum at UGA and works in the teaching hospital as a soft
tissue surgeon. She has been awarded college-wide teaching awards
including the Carl Norden Distinguished Teaching Award, the David
Tyler Award for Advances in Teaching, and the SCAVMA Clinical
|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 also currently serves as special assistant to the dean for leadership and professional development. Rick 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 and Regent for the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, a former chair of Clinical Sciences at Kansas State University a member of the AVMA House of Delegates, 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 27year 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 Farnsworth graduated from Washington State University in 1993. He completed an equine ambulatory internship at The Ohio State University and completed an Equine Surgery residency and Masters degree at the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center, which is part of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr Farnsworth is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons.|
Farnsworth is currently an Assistant Professor of Equine Surgery
at Washington State University, College of Veterinary Medicine.
His clinical and research efforts have been concentrated in
minimally invasive surgery, laparoscopy, and lower limb
|Suzanne M. Kurtz was Professor of Communication, joint appointed in the Faculties of Education and Medicine, University of Calgary from 1976 through 2005. Effective January, 2006, she joined the faculty of Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, where she is Clinical Professor and Director of Clinical Communication. Focusing her career on improving communication practices in health care and education and on developing curricula and methods for teaching and learning communication skills, she has worked with a variety of groups: medical and education students, residents, practicing physicians, nurses, allied health professionals, patient groups, veterinarians and students of veterinary medicine, teachers, and administrators in health and education.|
For 27 years she directed the undergraduate communication
curriculum in Calgary’s Faculty of Medicine and has
consulted nationally and internationally at all levels of
medical education regarding the specifics of setting up
effective communication programs for medical students,
residents, faculty and staff. In 1998 she began working with
colleagues in the Ontario Veterinary College to pioneer
communication programs for veterinary medicine. Currently
she is directing development of Washington State
University’s communication program for veterinarians and
veterinary students. She has served as advisor to the Bayer
Institute for Health Care Communication, Cancer Care
Ontario’s Communication Task Force, and Health Canada’s
Canadian Breast Cancer Initiative. She was appointed to the
task force that initially developed Calgary’s innovative
inquiry-based Master of Teaching program. Currently she is a
consulting member of the Royal College of Physicians and
Surgeons of Canada’s national CanMEDS Phase IV Communicator
Working Group, the Medical Council of Canada’s Executive
Committee for the National Strategy for Physician
Communication Skills Assessment and Enhancement, and Pfizer
Animal Health’s ‘Frank’ communication project. Working
across diverse cultural and disciplinary lines, she has
collaborated on communication program development, team
building, and conflict management in education, law and
business, and has served on several international
development projects related to health and education in
Nepal, Southeast Asia and South Africa.
Along with numerous articles, her publications include two companion books co-authored with JD Silverman and J Draper entitled Teaching and Learning Communication Skills in Medicine and Skills for Communicating with Patients (Radcliffe Publishing, Oxford, England and San Francisco – originally published in 1998, the revised 2nd editions of both books were published in 2005). An earlier book co-authored with VM Riccardi was entitled Communication and Counseling in Health Care (1983, Charles C. Thomas, Springfield, Illinois). Her interest in communication in medicine began in 1974 when she did her doctoral thesis research on the relationship between the nonverbal communication of physicians and patient satisfaction. Dr. Kurtz has also published in the areas of participatory education and participatory development. She collaborated with A. Chuchat, MP Carunungan, KJ Foreman, and BJ Spronk on a volume entitled Participatory Education in Cross-Cultural Settings that reflects on a five-year development project based in the Philippines, Thailand, and Canada (1997, for the Dialogues on Development Series, published by the Division of International Development, University of Calgary, Alberta).
PhD 1975, University of Denver, Denver, Colorado, USA
MA 1972, University of Denver, Denver, Colorado, USA
BA 1967, Elizabethtown College, Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, USA
Other interests: spending time with family and friends, travel, music and almost any outdoor activity, especially those that take place in the wilderness
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
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).
Sprunger received a
B.S. in Biological Science from the University of Alaska,
Fairbanks (1983), a D.V.M. from Washington State University
(1987), and entered private practice as a small animal
veterinarian. Dr. Sprunger returned to academia to earn a
Ph.D. in Physiology (1995) from the University of Minnesota
Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, where she was the
recipient of a Graduate School Fellowship, the Louise T.
Dosdall Fellowship for Women in Science, the Charles and
Dorothy Andrew Bird Award for Research, and a Howard Hughes
Medical Institute predoctoral fellowship.
An NIH Clinical Investigator Development Award funded Dr.
Sprunger’s post-doctoral training in the University of
Minnesota Medical School Department of Physiology, and the
Department of Human Genetics at the University of Michigan
Medical School. Dr. Sprunger was appointed research faculty
at University of Michigan in 1999, and joined the Department
of IPN as Assistant Professor in July 2000.
|Kathleen L. Ruby 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 seven years. In this capacity, she has counseled veterinary students and faculty, served as a faculty member teaching professional skills, and developed and conducted programs and workshops related to professionalism, communication skills, stress management, life balance, and leadership within the college.|
Dr. Ruby also 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.
Dr. Jeff Thoren is the founder of
Gifted Leaders LLC. His personal mission is to bring
joy and fulfillment to individuals and to transform
organizations into renewed workplaces by emphasizing
effective leadership and nurturing a positive and motivating
This passion for leadership and effective organizational culture has developed over a 23-year professional career including experience in both private and corporate sectors. A member of the International Coach Federation trained at the Adler School of Professional Coaching, Jeff has a strong interest in liberating personal and organizational potential, particularly through one-to-one coaching relationships with others. His passion is to help unleash the hidden “superhero” inside all of us.
|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 ½ 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!
|Carolyn Wyatt is a licensed psychologist who joined the Counseling and Wellness Deparment in the summer of 2005 after working for more than 20 years in her own private psychology practice. Having grown up in a family of veterinarians (father, uncle and brothers) she is familiar with some of the rewards and challenges of the profession.|
|Her primary role in the veterinary college is that of counseling students about the wide range of issues and problems they deal with in their school and personal lives. She also conducts workshops and presentations that address common student problems such as learning difficulties, study skills, relationship and communication problems, and job search strategies.|