Penn Vet Announces $100,000 Winners of 2010 World Leadership Award and Student Inspiration Awards

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Media Contact:Jacquie Posey | jposey@upenn.edu | 215-898-6460September 22, 2010

PHILADELPHIA –- Mo Salman, professor of animal population health at Colorado State University, has been selected as the 2010 recipient of the Penn Vet World Leadership Award, given annually by the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine to a veterinarian who has dramatically changed the practice of the profession and influenced the lives of others.  The $100,000 in unrestricted funding, the largest monetary award in veterinary medicine, is underwritten by the Vernon and Shirley Hill Foundation.

Also being honored are Nikkita Patel and Brittany Gross, recipients of the annual Penn Vet Student Inspiration Awards, presented to two Penn Vet students who demonstrate the potential to significantly advance the frontiers of veterinary medicine and expand the profession’s impact on the well being of animals and society.  Each receives $100,000 in unrestricted funding from the Hill Foundation to be used toward realizing their veterinary missions and proposed projects.

“These awards are among the most prestigious and coveted in the world of veterinary medicine,” said Joan C. Hendricks, the Gilbert S. Kahn Dean of Penn Vet.  “I am always humbled and impressed by the innovative researchers, thinkers and student and professional leaders in the field that are named recipients.  Dr. Salman, Nikkita and Brittany are no exception, and I congratulate each of them for this distinct honor.”

The awards will be presented at 4 p.m., Sept. 28, at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on the Penn campus.

Salman will lecture on “Impact of Infectious Disease: Is It a Disaster or an Opportunity?”  Student winners will present slideshows of their projects.

During a 37-year career in veterinary medicine, Salman has worked internationally for the Institute of Medicine’s Committee for Achieving Sustainable Global Capacity for Surveillance and Response to Emerging Diseases of Zoonotic Origin, served as chairperson of the examination committee and continuing organization committee of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine and has held positions in the United States Animal Health Association and the Animal Health and Animal Welfare Panel of European Food Safety Authority.  He has managed more than 160 scientific projects as principal investigator.

Patel, a native of Knoxville, Tenn., is a fourth-year Penn Vet student whose award-winning proposal, “Veterinary Public Outreach 2.0,” will use Internet to inform the public and policy makers about wildlife trade and other veterinary issues.  Patel will use Google Earth to help illustrate these unreported issues and present the devastating impact they have on wildlife, humans and ecosystems.

“Veterinarians are evolving to have the responsibility of stewards of the planet,” Patel said.  “Within this role, it is our duty to educate the public on the depth and breadth of current problems that we are working to help solve, encompassing public health, conservation and environmental health.

Gross, a native of South Sterling, Pa., is a second-year Penn Vet student whose award-winning proposal involves constructing an educationally focused dairy farm in rural northeast Thailand.  The dairy would include after-school programs for hands-on involvement and instruction in herd care, raw-milk handling and dairy-product processing.  Students would learn methods and technologies that are known to optimize milk production and are feasibly implementable.  Female students will be selected for leadership positions pivotal in increasing literacy and graduation rates of an entire population.

“I knew that I would return to Thailand sometime in my veterinary career,” Gross said.  “I am drawn to the culture, and the country’s dairy industry fascinates me.  I am deeply honored and incredibly excited to have been granted the means to initiate the project I have outlined a decade sooner than would have been realistically possible.  This award is truly life-changing.”

Additional information about the Penn Vet World Awards is at www.vet.upenn.edu/PennVet/News/WorldAwards/WorldAwardsOverview/tabid/1334/Default.aspx.

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