Our Guest Speakers

Welcome to our Symposium Speaker Lineup! Each Sunday we will be releasing more speaker profiles for those who will be presenting at the March 2022 CPVMA.ACPMV Symposium.

MARCH 4TH 2022

Dr. Marie Holowaychuk

Keynote Speaker
Dr. Marie Holowaychuk is a board-certified small animal emergency and critical care specialist and passionate advocate for veterinary team wellbeing. She lives in Calgary and travels worldwide as a speaker, consultant, and locum. Marie has spent more than 15 years practicing emergency and critical care medicine in academic and private referral hospital settings. Outside of veterinary practice, Marie is a certified yoga and meditation teacher, and she facilitates wellness workshops and retreats for veterinary clinics or organizations and offers individual or group wellbeing training for veterinary teams. Marie has Compassion Fatigue Training from the University of Tennessee School of Social Work, as well as Mental Health First Aid Training from the Mental Health Commission of Canada and Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training from the Centre for Suicide Prevention. Marie is also a certified life coach, writes a monthly blog and e-newsletter on pertinent issues related to veterinary wellness. She has authored dozens of articles and recorded a multitude of podcast interviews related to personal and professional wellbeing and recently launched her own podcast called “Reviving Vet Med”. When Marie is not working, she enjoys spending time with her toddler, practicing yoga, hiking in the Rocky Mountains, and listening to podcasts. She also has a soft spot for reality TV and has yet to miss a season of Survivor. For more information, please visit www.marieholowaychuk.com or follow Marie on Facebook (@DrMarieHolowaychuk), Twitter (@DrMHolowaychuk), LinkedIn (@DrMarieHolowaychuk), or Instagram (@MarieHolowaychuk).

MARCH 5TH 2022

Dr. Louis Kwantes

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association President
With an educational background of high school in Japan and college in Iowa, and a residency background that did not fit the standard mould for applicants to OVC nor WCVM, Dr. Kwantes remembers well the angst of applying for veterinary school. Having hopes dashed after his first application and interview, he was granted an interview again and after his second attempt was surprised and delighted with an offer of admission to OVC, from where he graduated in 1987. His first job as a vet was in beautiful Goderich, Ontario in a mixed animal practice. Since then he completed a Masters degree in Tropical Veterinary Medicine and has had more than 30 years of awesome veterinary experiences in Canada and internationally. He is a member of the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association, and over the last 15 years served the ABVMA in a number of capacities including a term as president in 2015-16. Dr. Kwantes was the Alberta representative on the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association council board for several years and is now the CVMA President. He enjoyed teaching a reptile and amphibian class for the Animal Health Technology course at NAIT for about ten years and, with all the things he has been privileged to see, also wrote a book of short stories entitled “Catfight in the Kitchen.” All of this information probably matters much less than the fact that he loves working with pets and with people, and feels honoured to share in the bond of trust between pets and their caretakers. Dr. Kwantes has three grown children (an oboist, a dentist, and a veterinary student) and lives in Sherwood Park with his wife and and one remaining pet – a lucky rescue cat.

Dr. Heather Reid

Wildlife Medicine
Dr. Heather Reid is the head veterinarian at Toronto Wildlife Centre (TWC) and staff veterinarian at the Toronto Zoo. She is also president and co-founder of Animal Experience International, which matches people who want to make a difference, with wildlife organizations around the world. Dr. Reid graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph. Her interest in wildlife conservation led her to TWC where she has been helping sick, injured and orphaned wild animals for 20 years. At TWC Dr. Reid oversees a busy wildlife hospital that admits more than 6,000 patients each year, representing over 270 species of native wildlife. Dr. Reid is also a part-time vet at the Toronto Zoo, helping care for a wide range of animals. Fun fact: despite the hundreds of exotic species she works with, Dr. Reid’s favourite animal is still her dog Cooper, an adorable pug cross.

Dr. Ian Barker

Ian Barker is a retired University Professor Emeritus of pathology and wildlife diseases at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph and the founding Director of the Ontario/Nunavut Region of the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative. In collaboration with colleagues at the Toronto Zoo he established an ongoing graduate programme in Zoological Medicine jointly offered by OVC and the Zoo. He is an OVC DVM graduate (1968) who, as a Fellow of the Medical Research Council of Canada obtained an MSc in parasitology at OVC (1970), and a PhD at the University of Melbourne, Australia (1974) for studies on the pathogenesis of enteric parasitism. He was wildlife pathologist at Melbourne before returning to OVC in 1975. For over 35 years he taught DVM, science and graduate students Veterinary Anatomic Pathology, Comparative Pathology, Wildlife Diseases/Zoonoses, Zoological Medicine; did general veterinary and wildlife diagnostic work; and carried out research and mentored graduate students. He contributed heavily to the development and introduction (2000) of a competency based curriculum at OVC. Throughout his career he was involved in surveillance for and research on problems potentially impacting free-living and captive wildlife, domestic animals, and human beings, such as environmental contamination, Lyme Disease, avian botulism, Newcastle Disease of birds, White Nose Syndrome of bats, West Nile virus and Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, many of which are ‘emerging diseases’, or are likely to be affected by climate change. Interacting with government agencies responsible for wildlife, the environment, agriculture, and public health, he practiced ‘One Health’ for decades before the term was coined. His over 30 graduate students, from Canada, the USA, Australia, Spain, Norway and Kenya (some now retired), are academics; zoo and wildlife veterinarians; diagnostic pathologists; federal government biologists, research scientists and epidemiologists; managers in the pharmaceutical industry, government agencies and NGOs; and veterinary practitioners. 

He co-edited books on Infectious Diseases of Wild Mammals, on the history of the Canadian Army Veterinary Corps and the history of the OVC. As well he is an author/co author of a number of book chapters on veterinary gastrointestinal pathology and wildlife diseases, and over 150 scientific publications on issues involving vertebrates from fish to mammals, and on vector ecology and epidemiology of Lyme Disease. In addition, he has given numerous presentations at scientific conferences and continuing education sessions. His contributions to the fields of wildlife diseases, veterinary pathology, laboratory medicine and veterinary education have been recognized by awards at the university, national and international level.  

In retirement, his avocations include family history, nature photography, and application of the culinary arts (he cooks his hamburgers right through).  His motto is “If you don’t look, you won’t find”.  https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Ian-Barker-3

Dr. Tiago Afonso

Before joining the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM)’s faculty, Dr. Afonso was a senior lecturer in equine internal medicine at New Zealand’s Massey University and at the University of Adelaide in Australia. Prior to that, he worked in a busy private practice during a foaling season in the state of Victoria, Australia. Some of Dr. Afonso’s duties at the WCVM include teaching veterinary students, working as a veterinary specialist at the College’s Large Animal Hospital, and doing research. Dr Afonso is originally from Portugal, and he graduated from the University of Lisbon (Portugal), with his veterinary degree. After this, he completed a Large Animal Internship at Ghent University in Belgium, and another one at the Ontario Veterinary College (University of Guelph). In 2016, he completed his PhD degree (equine cardiology) and a three-year residency program at the University of Georgia. During the same year, he also became a board-certified specialist in large animal internal medicine by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM). Dr. Afonso’s main clinical interests include the cardiovascular system, respiratory tract diseases, gastrointestinal emergencies, antimicrobial therapy, and critical care medicine, particularly the critically ill neonate.
During his free time, Tiago likes to escape civilization and go hiking and canoeing in the mountains. Tiago particularly enjoys spending time improving his skills in both landscape and wildlife photography.

Dr. Jessica Law

Swine Medicine
Dr. Jessica Law graduated from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Calgary. She joined Prairie Swine Health Services after graduation to pursue production animal medicine. In practice, Jessica enjoys working to improve herd health and performance through preventative herd health programs, reproduction, biosecurity, welfare assessments, as well as disease investigations. Her passions lie in pathology, epidemiology and theriogenology. Within the first two years of practice, she was introduced to the amazing breed that is the Kune Kune and sustains veterinarian-client-patient relationships with fantastic producers across Canada and the United States. Jessica is currently serving as the President of both the Western Canadian Association of Swine Veterinarians and the Canadian Association of Swine Veterinarians. In 2018, Jessica received the Rising Star Award at the Alberta Pork Congress and in 2020 she received Young Veterinarian of the year from the ABVMA.

Dr. Ryan Appleby

Ryan Appleby is an Assistant Professor of Diagnostic Imaging.  He completed veterinary school and a rotating internship at OVC.  He then completed an imaging internship in San Diego at VICSD and a residency in diagnostic imaging at NC State university in Raleigh North Carolina.  He was boarded by the American college of veterinary radiologists in 2019 and rejoined the team at OVC at that time.  His research interests include the use of artificial intelligence in veterinary imaging, clinical applications of advanced ultrasound technologies and imaging cancer in dogs and cats.  He is passionate about teaching and started the website obivet.com in 2021 to provide global access to high quality veterinary educational content.

Dr. Linda Jacobson

Shelter Medicine
Linda received her veterinary degree in Pretoria, South Africa, in 1986 and subsequently completed a residency in small animal internal medicine and a PhD on the pathophysiology of virulent canine babesiosis. She completed the University of Florida Online Graduate Certificate in Shelter Medicine in 2015. She is part of the CVO Practice Advisory Panel and serves on the Humane Canada shelter accreditation standard committee . She joined the Toronto Humane Society in 2010, where she is currently Senior Manager: Shelter Medicine Advancement.

Dr. Claire Card

Theriogenology Specialist
Dr. Claire Card is a graduate of Cornell University where she earned 3 degrees (BSc, DVM, and PhD) and was a post – doctoral fellow. She is a full professor and clinician scientist at the WCVM, Univ. of Sask. She sees veterinary patients at the Vet Med Centre, has an active research program, and she instructs veterinary students in equine and companion animal reproduction, physiology and sustainable development. She has been working in partnership with the University of Saskatchewan, and Veterinarians without Borders (VWB) Canada since 2006. For the past 15 years has been working in a project in rural Uganda focussed on improving the livelihoods of impoverished HIV AIDS effected women and children. Yours, Dr. Card

Dr. Dave McRuer

Wildlife Health Specialist
Dave is a wildlife health specialist employed by Parks Canada and based at the Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC) in Charlottetown, PEI. In this role, Dave works on a broad range of wildlife health issues in national parks including disease surveillance and management, animal care and welfare, immobilization training and drug acquisition, and assisting individual parks with knowledge and expertise responding to wildlife health concerns. Prior to joining Parks Canada, Dave worked as a wildlife biologist with the PEI Division of Forests, Fish and Wildlife and as the Director of Veterinary Services at the Wildlife Center of Virginia. Dave earned a Master’s degree in ecology in 2001 from Carleton University, his DVM from the Atlantic Veterinary College in 2005 and is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventative Medicine. Dave lives in rural PEI with his wife, two kids, and menagerie of animals. He is an active falconer and spends much of the fall and winter working with his goshawk.

Angie Arora

Veterinary Social Worker
Angie Arora is a registered Social Worker who has worked at the cross-section of the human-animal-bond since 2004, focusing on pet loss bereavement, veterinary wellness and equity issues within the industry. As a Certified Compassion Fatigue Specialist, Angie works with animal-care providers to foster wellness and address burnout, secondary trauma and compassion fatigue. She serves as the Board Secretary for the International Association of Veterinary Social Work, is the Research Chair for the International Association for Animal Hospice & Palliative Care and volunteers her time to address equity issues within veterinary medicine. She works with VetVine as a Virtual Pet Loss Facilitator and is the Lead Coach for their VETPeers Wellness and Professional Resiliency Coaching Program. She is a Professor with Seneca College’s Social Service Worker Program, where she was the principal investigator of a research study that developed guidelines for veterinary teams to better support clients through their pets’ end of life. In addition, Angie has developed and teaches a microcredential through Seneca aimed at improving the stress response for those working within veterinary and shelter medicine.

Asadeh Behnam-Shabahang

Veterinary Student EDI Panelist, WCVM Diverse
Asadeh (Azy) Behnam-Shabahang (she/her/hers) is of Persian descent but was born and raised in Germany and immigrated to Vancouver, Canada  with her family at the age of eleven.  Knowing the preconceived notions that follow long middle-eastern sounding names Azy likes to share that the literal translation of her name is ‘Freedom Honorable Nightingale’. As a newcomer, Azy also acknowledges that, however involuntary, many of  her privileges have been afforded to her through the dispossession of the Indigenous Peoples in Canada.

Although Azy had known that she wanted to pursue a veterinary career since the age of sixteen, financial and family matters led to subpar attempts at post-secondary education after highschool. As such, in her early twenties, Azy decided to place her vet school pursuits on hold for the interim and was fortunate to find employment in the field of Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation. Throughout her nearly seven year career of predominantly creating and implementing grade-based wildlife education programs for elementary and high-school students Azy’s passion and confidence for her own education was reignited and led her to complete two associates degrees, both with distinction as well as a bachelor’s degree in Applied Animal Biology with honours, throughout her thirties. Finally at the ripe age of forty Azy finally achieved her life long (literally) goal of attending veterinary school, now of course also with a toddler in tow. Currently Azy is in her third year at WCVM. Aside from having (hopefully) gained what feels like an insurmountable amount of veterinary knowledge, Azy has also come to realize that our profession has much growing to do with respect to EDI in its curriculum and the culture of the veterinary field overall. In 2020 Azy initiated WCVM DIVERSE, the first EDI club at the WCVM, which she co-presides with her friend and classmate Charlie Wyatt-Swain.

Azy hopes to continue her involvement with the newly established Canadian Collective for Equity in Veterinary Medicine following graduation as well as extending vet services into underserved communities.

Charlie Wyatt-Swain

Veterinary Student EDI Panelist, WCVM Diverse
Charlie Wyatt-Swain is a 3rd year vet student at the WCVM. She completed her undergraduate degree in Animal Bioscience with a minor in Toxicology before applying to veterinary school. She currently lives in Saskatoon with her husband, daughter, and dog. Charlie is Inuit-Metis from the NunatuKavut community in Labrador and is particularly interested in how we can better assist remote Indigenous communities in regard to veterinary services and dog management. 

Charlie has many roles at the WCVM including being Co-President/Co-Founder of WCVM DIVERSE, WCVSA and C/O 2023 Indigenous Representative, and WCVM Committee on Indigenous Engagement Student Representative. Her work has led to receiving awards such as the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Rising Leader Award from the Multicultural Veterinary Medical Association – MCVMA , an international organization that supports diversity within the veterinary profession. 

In addition, Charlie is currently involved in a research project led by WCVM professor, clinical associate, and PhD candidate Dr. Woodsworth, focusing on dog management strategies for remote Indigenous communities within Saskatchewan.

Juan Sebastian Orjuela

Veterinary Student EDI Panelist, Latinx Veterinary Medical Association
Juan, otherwise known as “Juancho” was born in Bogota, Colombia, and raised there until 2001 when he and his family immigrated to Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA. Juancho attended the University of Milwaukee-Wisconsin from 2012-2017, where he graduated with a bachelor’s in biology and environmental sciences. Currently, Juancho is a fourth-year veterinary student at the Ontario Veterinary College in Canada. He is passionate about promoting diversity and inclusion in the veterinary profession. His veterinary interests include physical rehabilitation, ophthalmology, emergency medicine, practice ownership, and taking on other leadership roles.

“Creer es poder! – believe, and you will achieve!”

Keisha Harris

Veterinary Student EDI Panelist, Canadian VIBE Network
Keisha was born and raised in Oakville, Ontario and is currently a Phase three student at the Ontario Veterinary College (Go Opal Otters!). She spent four years on the West Coast in Kelowna completing her Bachelor’s of Science at the University of British Columbia. As a first-generation university student, pursuing a DVM degree felt out of reach for Keisha. Instead, she attended UBC for a degree in zoology with the hopes of working in wildlife conservation after graduation. That changed when she hosted a student honorary dinner for Temple Grandin. This was the first time she was introduced to the profession of veterinary medicine and with the encouragement of her peers changed her academic path.

Rejected on her first application to OVC, she took time off to explore different career paths. During this time she worked as a microplastics researcher for the Ministry of the Environment, an educator at the Toronto Zoo, a receptionist at the Toronto Humane Society and as a veterinary assistant in exotic and small animal practices. She was finally accepted to OVC on her 3rd application and is thrilled to be part of the Class of 2023. Her veterinary interests are always growing but for now include zoo animal medicine, One Health, and community medicine.

Sarah Lokaisingh

Veterinary Student EDI Panelist, OVC Diverse
Sarah is from Mississauga, Ontario. She did her BSc at the University of Guelph and is currently a second-year veterinary student at the Ontario Veterinary College. During her undergraduate degree, Sarah founded the University of Guelph Diversity and Culture club to provide a supportive platform for students from marginalized communities, and to educate students and faculty across campus. Representation in veterinary medicine has always been an important cause to Sarah Jane. She is currently the Co-President of OVC DIVERSE and alongside her team members, she hopes to ignite real change in the veterinary profession.

Sarah has worked at small animal clinics, barns, and mobile exotic zoos. Through her experience with various clubs, and volunteering with organizations like Best Buddies, she developed a passion for promoting inclusivity. Sarah hopes to combine her love for education with her passion for animals. She hopes to pursue a path in the field of veterinary communication. 

MARCH 6TH 2022

Dr. Dayle Poitras-Oster

Mixed Animal Practitioner with a Focus on Veterinary Medicine in Relation to Indigenous Communities
Dr. Dayle Poitras-Oster is a proud Métis woman from Rural Alberta. She grew up strongly connected to her Métis roots. Dr. Poitras did 3 years of a Bachelor of Science in biology at the University of Alberta Augustana campus and graduated from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in 2021. She currently works in Drayton Valley AB as a mixed animal practitioner. Dr. Poitras has a passion for ambulatory practice and public health, her goal is to give back to and provide service to Indigenous communities.

Dr. Kim Murphy

Small Animal Surgeon
Dr. Kim Murphy has been a board-certified small animal surgeon with the American College of Veterinary Surgeons since 2007. She graduated from the DVM program at the University of Guelph in 1998. Following three years in small animal emergency and mixed practice, Dr. Murphy completed a one-year rotating internship in Small Animal Medicine and Surgery followed by a three-year residency program in Small Animal Surgery. She also holds a Doctor of Veterinary Science degree from the University of Guelph. Dr. Murphy has worked as a small animal surgeon in private practice and as a staff surgeon at the Ontario Veterinary College. In 2011 she founded her first mobile surgery practice and subsequently opened a referral hospital in the Guelph Area, both of which became very successful. Canada Mobile Veterinary Surgery represents a return to Dr. Murphy’s passion – providing exceptional surgical care to patients in their regular veterinary clinics and supporting the veterinarians who care for them every day.

Dr. Fernando Salgado-Bierman

Poultry Veterinarian
Dr. Salgado-Bierman graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College in 2016. After graduating, he started as a Hatchery Veterinarian at Maple Lodge Hatcheries Ltd., and is now Manager of Veterinary and Breeder Services. Dr. Salgado-Bierman has served as past president of the Ontario Association of Poultry Veterinarians. He is also the broiler breeder representative to the poultry network of the Ontario Animal Health Network (OAHN). As well, he participates in several industry advisory groups.

Dr. Veronique Lepage

Aquatic Veterinarian
Dr. LePage identifies as Acadian, originally from the East Coast of Canada, New Brunswick. She came to Ontario in 2000 for University with her partner. They now have two lovely children, three chickens and a Sphinx cat. Dr. LePage completed part of her undergraduate degree enrolled as a Pre-Medical student at the University of Western Ontario and the other part as a Animal Biology Student at the University of Guelph. She earned her veterinary degree at the Ontario Veterinary College and MSc in Comparative Pathology at the University of Guelph/OVC Pathobiology. Dr. LePage received her Aquatic Animal Medicine certificate and training through the University of Florida along with completing externships at the Vancouver Aquarium, Georgia Sea Turtle Center, and Georgia Aquarium. This allowed her to become certified as a World Aquatic Veterinary Medical Association (WAVMA) Aquatic Veterinarian. Dr. LePage currently works as the veterinarian for Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada and owner of LePage Aquatic Veterinary Services which currently caters to aquaculture clients exclusively. Dr. LePage has previously treated pet fish but is proud to announce that she has since trained local practitioners through the OVMA to take on these clients within their districts. In her spare time Dr. LePage loves to forage for mushrooms with her kids and practice archery. She also enjoys SCUBA diving and karate.

Lesli Bisgould

Lawyer with a Focus on Animal Welfare Law
Lesli Bisgould has been a lawyer in Toronto for almost thirty years. For ten of those years, she ran Canada’s first animal rights law practice. She has lectured widely on the topic, across North America and Australia. In 2011, Lesli wrote the first Canadian law text on the topic, Animals and the Law (Irwin Law). She created and, for many years taught, Introduction to the Animals and the Law at the law school of the University of Toronto. Lesli maintains a strong interest in this burgeoning field, while her current full time work is in the field of poverty and human rights law. More importantly, she appears in a Bon Jovi video.

Dr. Eric Maguet

Dr. Eric Maguet graduated from the WCVM in 2007. After graduation he joined the Beausejour Animal Hospital where he has stayed ever since. He purchased part of the practice in 2008 and has helped grow it from only three veterinarians to the fourteen vet practice that it is today. He spends the vast majority of his time practicing dairy herd health medicine, beef production and performing embryo transfer. This past year he became President of the Western Canadian Association of Bovine Practitioners. In his spare time Dr. Maguet is a full-time hockey Dad to four children, builds furniture, and raises sheep.

Dr. Ellen Williamson

EDI Panelist
Dr. Ellen Williamson earned her DVM degree from Ontario Veterinary College, following which she stayed on an additional year as a small animal intern. She then completed a combined Master’s of Science and residency program in anaesthesia and analgesia at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine in Virginia. After spending a year as a clinical instructor at University of Wisconsin-Madison, she returned to Ontario to join the Anaesthesia team with VCA Canada in 2018. She has a special interest in anaesthetic equipment and locoregional anaesthesia. 

When not at work she enjoys fencing, cycling and spoiling her cats rotten.

Dr. Emilia Wong Gordon

EDI Panelist, Shelter Medicine
Emilia Wong Gordon, DVM, DABVP (Shelter Medicine Practice)

Dr. Gordon obtained her DVM from the University of California, Davis in 2005 and currently serves as the Senior Manager, Animal Health for the British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals where she provides animal health support, training, and oversight to 36 sheltering branches province-wide. She also teaches veterinary students, participates in community partnerships and outreach, and is co-founder of the Canadian Collective for Equity in Veterinary Medicine- Collectivité Canadienne pour l’Équité en Médecine Vétérinaire (CCEVM-CCEMV).

Dr. Gordon’s clinical interests include infectious disease, community medicine, internal medicine, and behaviour. She has co-authored publications on shelter infectious disease, animal welfare epidemiology, and shelter feline behaviour and welfare. She believes that cross-sector collaboration with a One Health emphasis is essential to the shared goals of the animal welfare, veterinary, and human health professions.

Dr. Izzy Hirji

EDI Panelist
Dr. Izzy Hirji is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine with an honours B.Sc. in Zoology (University of Guelph, Ontario Veterinary College). He has a background in both domestic and wildlife medicine, pathology and conservation, and has trained at several zoos and sanctuaries in this capacity both in North America and abroad. He currently works as a locum vet around the downtown Toronto area with a special interest/expertise in exotics and runs a mobile practice for exotic companion animals, wildlife centres and animal sanctuaries. In addition, he works with several local and international primate sanctuaries and is actively involved in wildlife conservation initiatives in Africa. He was recently featured on the 2020 Nat Geo Wild series “Jungle Animal Rescue” and on the 2017 Nat Geo Wild documentary “Chimp School”. He is extremely passionate about environmental conservation and One Health. Asides from veterinary medicine, he is also an avid photographer, cyclist and web designer, and loves to travel to tropical exotic places (beaches and forests are preferred, of course).

Dr. Jesse Benjamin

EDI Panelist, Indigenous Health and Wellness
Dr. Benjamin graduated from AVC in 2007 and worked in small animal medicine (with a special interest in exotics) for 10 years, then worked exclusively in shelter medicine for another 3 years. In 2020 she made the transition from Veterinary Medicine to the Fitness and Wellness work. She is the founder of Two Eyed Wellness and is the Active Living Community Coordinator for the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre. She is a mother of 4, a fitness enthusiast, artisan, cultural consultant, and Fancy Shawl Dancer.

Dr. Jordan Woodsworth

EDI Panel Moderator
Dr. Jordan Woodsworth is a general veterinary practitioner and PhD candidate, and part of the Wellness and Preventive Medicine team at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine’s Veterinary Medical Centre. She is a 2008 graduate of the WCVM and joined the staff of the VMC in 2012 to start the Wellness and Service Learning programs. Jordan’s diverse professional interests include community engagement and social accountability in the veterinary profession, clinical communications, interprofessional work in the area of animal welfare, and elevating the quality and perception of well care for cats and dogs. Jordan’s clinical and research work in Northern Saskatchewan is an area of true passion, and she strives to use her role as a veterinary educator to provide opportunities for veterinary learners and practitioners to develop and practice culturally safe approaches to veterinary care. Her hope is that her work contributes to improved access to care for animals everywhere, and particularly in Northern, remote and Indigenous communities in Canada. Jordan’s personal interests include lake time with her husband, 2 kids and dog, travelling and enjoying nature, and eating and cooking amazing food.

Dr. Mouhamadou Diaw

EDI Panelist, Theriogenology
Mouhamadou Diaw, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACT is currently an associate professor in theriogenology at the University of Montreal. He graduated from the École Inter-États des Sciences et Médecine Vétérinaires in Dakar (Senegal) and worked for several years in mixed private practice in Senegal and in France. After spending a breeding season at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, Lexington, KY, he completed a residency in theriogenology at the University of Florida, Gainesville, FL. After completing his residency, Dr. Diaw has been a lecturer in theriogenology at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina. Dr. Diaw is particularly interested in advanced reproductive techniques. Dr. Diaw also sits on the Board of Directors for the non-profit organization, Canadian VIBE (Veterinary professionals Instilling Black Excellence) Network.

Dr. Michelle Lem

Community Outreach
Dr. Michelle Lem graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) in 2001, and founded Community Veterinary Outreach in 2003, a registered charity that improves the health of  people and their pets experiencing homelessness and housing vulnerability through a “One Health” model of care. By offering human health services and health education alongside preventative veterinary care, Community Veterinary Outreach was the first of its kind to provide innovative access to both veterinary and human health care for at-risk populations. Community Veterinary Outreach has programs in 5 communities in Ontario, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Vancouver, Kelowna, Canada, and Kansas City, USA.

Michelle has practiced companion animal medicine in New Zealand and Ottawa. From 2003 to 2009, Michelle provided behavioural consultations for companion animals on a referral basis; consulted for police and military canine units, from 2009 till 2011; and taught in the Veterinary Assistant and Technician programs at Algonquin College from 2004 till 2014.

Michelle received her MSc in 2012, studying the effects of pet ownership on street-involved youth. Her work and research have been published in peer-reviewed journals including the Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, Anthrozoös, the Canadian Veterinary Journal, Canadian Journal of Public Health, Journal of Social Distress and the Homeless, Animals, and Preventive Veterinary Medicine. 

In 2018 Michelle received her Master of Social Work from Carleton University, focusing on the link between human and animal violence, pet ownership among marginalized populations, wellbeing in the veterinary profession, and One Health approaches to intervention and practice. Michelle and her team developed the Animal Care Guidelines for Emergency Co-Sheltering and the Risk Assessment for Companion Animals in Domestic Violence.

Dr. Christine Calder

Veterinary Behaviourist, Cattledog Publishing
A graduate of Mississippi State University but native of New Jersey, Dr. Calder has lived and practiced veterinary medicine in both New Jersey and Maine for many years. In addition to general practice, Dr. Calder has worked at the San Francisco SPCA, Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Louisiana State University’s School of Veterinary Medicine. Most recently, she was an Assistant Clinical Professor in Community Veterinary Services and Veterinary Behavior at Mississippi State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. As a general practitioner, she always had an interest in animal behavior and in 2016, she finished a residency with the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists becoming a Diplomate with the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (DACVB) in 2017. A past Director of Behavior Services at Midcoast Humane, Dr. Calder is currently the Cattle Dog Publishing Chief Behavior Officer and a Vets at Vin consultant. Dr. Calder’s has a special interest in shelter behavior, feline behavior, and shy/fearful dogs. She shares her home with 3 Rhodesian Ridgebacks, a black Lab, 2 French bulldogs, and a snake. 

Christine D. Calder DVM DACVB

Dr. John Tait

Veterinary Business and Financial Consultation
Dr. John Tait graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College in 1986, received his MBA  in 1995 from McMaster/London School of Business in Health Services Mgt. He also  received a combined Master of Finance/Certified Financial Planner in 2001. He is a  Certified Business Valuator and Certified in Mediation and Negotiation from Harvard.  He has experience as a mixed and companion animal practitioner in private practice for  ten years where he owned his own practices, in multi-unit corporate medicine as Vice  President for Veterinary Centers of America while based in the US, and academia as  Director of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital at OVC where he is still a part time faculty  member. He was Managing Partner of the Ontario Veterinary Group, a practice  consolidation group from 2002 until 2014. In 2009-2010 he was President of the  American Animal Hospital Association. He currently owns his own consulting business,  John Tait Veterinary Consulting. He is a private consultant to health care professionals in  the areas of practice mgt. and transition, operations efficiency, valuation, and various  aspects career and personal/business financial planning. He is active in the Veterinary  Management Group organization as a facilitator and Treasurer and sits on the Board of  Directors.

Dr. Mary Jane Ireland

Chief Veterinary Officer and Delegate to the World Organisation for Animal Health
The Chief Veterinary Officer for Canada and World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Delegate provides national leadership to ensure that Canada’s animal and veterinary public health infrastructure is positioned to effectively manage current and emerging disease threats in order to protect animal and human health and to maintain international trust in Canada’s inspection and certification systems in support of market access.

Dr. Mary Jane Ireland is the Executive Director of the Animal Health Directorate, Policy and Programs Branch at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). She is also the Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) for Canada and the OIE Delegate for Canada.

Dr. Ireland graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph, with a degree in Veterinary Medicine and a post-graduate degrees in Veterinary Immunology and Business Administration. She began her career in a mixed animal practice in eastern Ontario.

In 2002, Dr. Ireland joined the Veterinary Drugs Directorate at Health Canada and held various positions, including Director General. In 2020, Dr. Ireland joined the CFIA as the Executive Director of the Animal Health Directorate.

As the Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Ireland leads Canada’s efforts to effectively manage current and emerging disease threats in order to protect animal health and human health, and to maintain international trust in Canada’s inspection and certification systems in support of market access.

As the OIE Delegate, Dr. Ireland represents Canada on the international stage, and plays an integral role in Canada’s participation in the OIE standard- setting process for the development and adoption of animal health standards and guidelines. In this role Dr. Ireland works to ensure that the standards are appropriately and consistently implemented in Canada. She is also responsible for notifying the OIE of reportable animal disease occurrences in Canada.

To visit our Pheedloop Platform which will be hosting our Symposium:

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