Contact: Gail Luciani
Two Penn Vet students selected as first Student Inspiration Award recipients also receive $100,000 each
PHILADELPHIA, PA – Dr. Bernard Vallat, director general of the World Organization for Animal Health, has been selected as the first recipient of the Penn Vet World Award. The award is 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, and provides $100,000 in unrestricted funding to the recipient.
“I can think of no one more appropriate to receive this award,” said Dr. Joan C. Hendricks, the Gilbert S. Kahn Dean of Veterinary Medicine. “Dr. Vallat’s vision and leadership have changed the practice and image of the veterinary profession throughout the world.”
“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," said Dr. Vallat. “The work of the veterinary profession and veterinary services is 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.”
Under Dr. 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, Dr. Vallat has emphasized the positive impact of animal health policies on poverty reduction and public health.
In addition to the Penn Vet World Award, the School announced that Rachel Toaff-Rosenstein and Warren Waybright, both third-year students at the School of Veterinary Medicine, 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., plans to use her award to pursue post graduate studies in animal welfare. Waybright, of Gettysburg, PA., will use his award to develop a veterinary outreach program to Bolivia and other South American countries.
Both the Penn Vet World Award and the Penn Vet Student Inspiration Awards will be presented on Tuesday, April 29, in a ceremony at Irvine Auditorium on the University of Pennsylvania campus. The awards are underwritten by the Vernon and Shirley Hill Foundation.
“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,” said Vernon Hill. "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.”
The selection jury for the Penn Vet World Award was led by Alan Kelly, BVSc, MRCVS, PhD, Dean Emeritus of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Other committee members included Ed Sayres, President, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA); Hilary Koprowski, MD, President, Biotechnology Foundation Laboratories, Inc.; Head of the Center for Neurovirology at Thomas Jefferson University; former head of the Wistar Institute; Lonnie King, MScE, DVM, Director of the National Center for Zoonotic, Vector-Borne, and Enteric Diseases, Center for Disease Control; Elaine Ostrander, PhD, Chief & Senior Investigator, Cancer Genetics Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health; Greg Hammer, DVM, President, American Veterinary Medical Association, Richard Newpher, Executive Vice President, American Farm Bureau Federation; Leon Russell, DVM, President, World Veterinary Association, and George Gunn, DVSM, MRCVS, Global Head of Novartis Animal Health.
Dr. Vallat was elected director general of the World Organization for Animal Health in May 2000 by the International Committee, which brings together delegates from 172 member countries. His five-year mandate started January 1, 2001, and was renewed for an additional five years in May 2005.
He graduated from the French National Veterinary School in Toulouse (France) in 1971, qualifying as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, and then going on to a postgraduate course in tropical veterinary medicine (1972), and another in animal nutrition at the Institut National Agronomique in Paris (1973). In 1983, he furthered his scientific training with specialist studies in economics and management, obtaining a DESS (diploma in advanced specialist studies) from the University of Paris X.
He has worked on programs devoted to livestock health and production and the training of livestock producers, in addition to supervisory roles at regional and national levels. 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.
Vallat was born in 1947, is married and is the father of three children. He holds several French honorary titles: Chevalier of the French Légion d’Honneur and the Ordre National du Mérite. He is also an Officier du Mérite Agricole.
For more information about Penn Vet, please visit our Web site at www.vet.upenn.edu.