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Dr. Bernard Vallat selected as the first recipient of the Penn Vet World Leadership Award granted by the Vernon and Shirley Hill Foundation

Paris, 21 May 2008 - Dr. Bernard Vallat, Director General of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), 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 .

“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 Leadership 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.”

In addition to the Penn Vet World Award, the School announced that two students of the School of Veterinary Medicine have been selected as the first winners of the Penn Vet Student Inspiration Award.

Both the Penn Vet World and the Penn Vet Student Inspiration Awards were presented on Tuesday, April 29, in a ceremony at Irvine Auditorium on the University of Pennsylvania campus.

"Dr. Vallat deserved receiving the first 'world award' because of his visionary leadership in promoting animal health worldwide, especially in developing countries where poor animal health has been causing widespread poverty and zoonotic diseases," said Dr. Leon H. Russell, president of the World Veterinary Association and former American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) president. He served on the Penn Vet World Award selection jury.

"It should be noted that the Vernon and Shirley Hill Foundation has committed to continuing this great Penn Vet World Award, and in doing so, this award promises to become the 'Nobel Prize' of veterinary medicine by recognizing the great accomplishments of some exceptional veterinarians," Dr. Russell continued.

Under Vallat’s leadership, the OIE 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, food security and public health.

“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 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.

The University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine

Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine is one of the world’s premier veterinary schools. Founded in 1884, the School was built on the concept of Many Species, One Medicine TM. The birthplace of veterinary specialties, the School serves a distinctly diverse array of animal patients, from pets to horses to farm animals at our two campuses. In Philadelphia, on Penn’s campus, are the Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital for companion animals, as well as classrooms, laboratories and the School’s administrative offices. The large-animal facility, New Bolton Center, in Kennett Square, Pa., encompasses hospital facilities for the care of horses and food animals as well as diagnostic laboratories serving the agriculture industry. The School has successfully integrated scholarship and scientific discovery with all aspects of veterinary medical education.

May 2008