UC Davis Veterinarian Wins National Teaching Award



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AAVMC award winner Matthew Mellema

A UC Davis professor described as having a passion for teaching and a creative approach to instruction will receive the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges’ 2013 Distinguished Teacher Award, the organization reported Wednesday.
 
Matthew Mellema, DVM, Ph.D., Dipl. ACVECC, an assistant professor of emergency and critical care at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine, will be presented with the award March 14 during the AAVMC’s annual conference in Alexandria, Va.
 
The award, sponsored by drug maker Zoetis Inc., recognizes excellence in professional veterinary medical education. The honor is more than 50 years old.
 
"Dr. Mellema exemplifies the qualities we seek in an honoree,” said AAVMC President Kent Hoblet, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVPM, the dean at the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine. "Students and colleagues alike applaud his dedication and passion for education. Teaching is his priority, and his emphasis on critical thinking, problem-solving and self-directed learning maximizes students’ chances for lifelong success.”

Four of Mellema’s students added their voices to his nomination.
 
"As a mentor, Dr. Mellema has been truly invaluable in shaping the careers of veterinary students,” they wrote. "He takes the role very seriously and has not only provided meaningful research and clinical experiences to his mentees, but also encouragement and moral support throughout the difficulties of veterinary school.
 
"His depth of knowledge can only be described as impressive, and his passion for teaching means that countless students have benefitted from Dr. Mellema’s intelligence,” they added. "His humorous nature makes him easy and fun to work with and adds another dimension to a very accomplished man.”
 
Two of Mellema’s UC Davis colleagues—department chairman Erik Wisner, DVM, Dipl. ACVR, and associate dean Jan E. Ilkiw, BVSc, Ph.D.—concurred.
 
"He is regarded by peers, students and residents as an outstanding small animal emergency and critical care instructor who is highly respected for his creative and effective teaching style,” they wrote. "[He] has an extraordinary ability to simplify and clarify complex subject matter using a unique approach that combines an interactive style with an infusion of humor that engages and inspires intellectual curiosity in students, residents and colleagues.”
 
Mellema is an expert in emergency and critical care and has written book chapters on topics such as electrocardiogram evaluation, cardiac output monitoring and initial management of the poisoned patient.
 
The UC Davis graduate earned his Ph.D. in respiratory physiology from Harvard University.
 
The Washington, D.C.-based AAVMC counts as its members 48 veterinary medical colleges worldwide, nine departments of veterinary science, eight departments of comparative medicine and six affiliate colleges.

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