PHILADELPHIA –- Bernard Vallat, director general of the World Organization for Animal Health, is the first recipient of the Penn Vet World Award from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. The award is to be given annually to a veterinarian who has dramatically changed the practice and image of the profession and substantially influenced the lives and careers of others. It provides $100,000 in unrestricted funding to the recipient.
I can think of no one more appropriate to receive this award,” Joan C. Hendricks, Penn Vet dean, said. “Dr. Vallat’s vision and leadership have changed the practice and image of the veterinary profession throughout the world.”
Under Vallat’s leadership, the World Organization for Animal Health has stressed the importance of sharing scientific information, as well as promoting veterinary services and a continued commitment to food safety and animal welfare. By clearly linking human and animal health, Vallat has emphasized the positive impact of animal-health policies on poverty reduction and public health.
“I am particularly honored to be the first person to receive the prestigious Penn Vet World Award, and I am thankful to the Vernon and Shirley Hill Foundation for its tremendous contribution to helping us face the exciting challenges of the veterinary profession," Vallat said. “The work of the veterinary profession and veterinary services are now recognized as a global public good. Support for them in developing and transitional countries is a priority, not only to promote development around the world but also to protect the world against the spread and the re-emergence of animal diseases and zoonoses.”
In addition to the Penn Vet World Award, the Penn School of Veterinary Medicine announced that Rachel Toaff-Rosenstein and Warren Waybright, third-year students at the School, have been selected as the first winners of the Penn Vet Student Inspiration Award. They will each receive $100,000 in unrestricted funding in recognition of their plans to significantly advance the frontiers of veterinary medicine.
Toaff-Rosenstein, of Bala Cynwyd, Pa., will use her award to pursue postgraduate studies in animal welfare. Waybright, of Gettysburg, Pa., will use his to develop a veterinary-outreach program in Bolivia and other South American countries.
Both the Penn Vet World Award and the Penn Vet Student Inspiration Awards, underwritten by the Vernon and Shirley Hill Foundation, will be presented on April 29 at Penn’s Irvine Auditorium.
“We are pleased to join with the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine to create the premier world award recognizing the outstanding individuals whose achievements have significantly advanced both the veterinary profession and humanity,” Vernon Hill said. "Our first winner, Dr. Vallat, has demonstrated remarkable leadership in advancing the veterinary profession's role in global public health. Dr. Vallat symbolizes the brilliant leadership we wish to recognize with this award. It is our pleasure to underwrite this prestigious award and recognize the efforts of veterinarians everywhere.”
Vallat has worked on livestock health and production and the training of livestock producers. This experience allowed him to acquire technical skills in the control of epizootics, expertise in the administration and management of public agencies and experience in the negotiation of technical and financial assistance with international donors.
He holds several French honorary titles, including the Chevalier of the French Légion d’Honneur and the Ordre National du Mérite. He is also an Officier du Mérite Agricole.