2016 Award Winners


The CVMA honors individuals and organizations that make significant contributions to organized veterinary medicine through participation in CVMA activities and through the human-animal bond. The latest inductee into the California Animal Hall of Fame is also recognized.

Congratulations to the 2016 CVMA award recipients! They illustrate the very best of the veterinary profession in California and the human-animal bond. Each honoree was recognized during the Gala Awards Ceremony on June 24, 2016 at the Pacific Veterinary Conference in San Francisco.



2014.06.20 Pacific Veterinary ConferenceDeborah Crippen, DVM

Dr. Deborah Crippen has contributed to her local veterinary community and to the CVMA for over 30 years. In addition to being a solo practitioner and practice owner, she is very active in organized veterinary medicine. Among the numerous positions she has held, Dr. Crippen was a CVMA House of Delegates member (1989–1991), served on the CVMA Board of Governors (1991–1998), and was CVMA president (1996–1997). She has served on many task forces and committees and has been a member of the VISC Board of Directors since 2007. She was also an AVMA Council on Education member in 2008 as well as part of the AVMA Organizational Audit Task Force (1997–1998).

Dr. Crippen is always prepared and dedicated to her responsibilities and provides the constructive input that is required by all the positions she has held. She has been described as having “a unique interpersonal style, a ferocious intellect, the courage to say what others are thinking (and what needs to be said), and is extraordinarily effective with problem solving and consensus building.” She excels in her service on committees, especially those that deal with difficult and divisive issues.

Dr. Crippen’s compassion for her profession, her patients, and her contributions to organized veterinary medicine are without question. She has been a tireless, outspoken advocate of the veterinary profession.

After graduating from Sonoma State University, Dr. Crippen joined the Peace Corps and went to Swaziland, Africa where she started the country’s cattle insemination program. After the Peace Corps, she attended the University of the Philippines where she received her degree from the College of Veterinary Medicine. Afterwards, she joined Lakeside Pet Hospital where she started as an animal health technician, then an associate, and currently its owner.



Robert Garcia, DVMAwards - Garcia

Dr. Robert Garcia has been a member and served the CVMA for 42 years. He started as a House of Delegates member (1988-1997) and was the House chair (1991–1992). Dr. Garcia also served on numerous committees and task forces including the Environmental & Public Health Committee (1992–1999), Finance Committee (1991–2008), and Feral Cat Spay/Neuter Task Force (1999–2001). After his initial involvement, Dr. Garcia became a member of the CVMA Board of Governors and eventually served on the Executive Committee as a member-at-large, president-elect, and president (2000–2001). He currently serves as chair of the California Veterinary Medical Foundation (CVMF) Board and is the CVMF board representative for the CVMF/VISC Student Scholarship Fund Subcommittee.

Dr. Garcia is an example of how a former CVMA officer can still remain involved with association leadership. His PAC membership, CVMF involvement, active legislative committee membership, and his representation of the CVMA on the California Animal Care Coalition is just a sampling of his recent involvement and dedication.

Dr. Garcia earned his DVM at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and was a practice owner for many years before his retirement.


William Grant, II, DVMB.Grant

Dr. Bill Grant has been active in organized veterinary medicine even as a student Kansas State University where he was president of SAVMA. He continued his participation with the Southern California Veterinary Medical Association and with the CVMA.

He became a member of the CVMA House of Delegates (1998–2004) and served on the Board of Governors (2004–2010) and as CVMA president (2008–2009). Dr. Grant has been a member of many committees and task forces including a long tenure as chair of the CVMA the Insurance Committee. He served on the Owner/Guardian Task Force, Licensure Task Force, Non-Economic Recovery Task Force, and continues to serve on the Finance Committee.

Dr. Grant’s service did not end upon leaving the board. He continued to work on the CVMA Insurance Program and was integral to the development of the Veterinary Insurance Services Company (VISC) where he has served as chairman since 2010.

Dr. Grant’s participation in organized medicine also includes membership on the AVMA Advisory Committee, as an alternate delegate for the AVMA House of Delegates, and as the chair of the Multidisciplinary Advisory Committee of the Veterinary Medical Board.

The dedication that Dr. Grant has displayed has added to the betterment of the veterinary profession.



YagiKenichiro Yagi, RVT

According to his co-workers, Mr. Kenichiro Yagi’s greatest attribute is his commitment to spreading knowledge through in-hospital training and lectures. As a dedicated ICU manager for Adobe Animal Hospital, he consistently strives to improve patient care by updating protocols, having excellent equipment, and ongoing staff training. He brings the team together for monthly staff meetings and blends educational topics with team building activities.

Dr. Elizabeth Ellis, co-taught an Emergency and Critical Care class at Foothill College (2012–2013) with Mr. Yagi. “His preparation was always meticulous. He was an effective teacher and greatly appreciated by the students. He also provided a remarkable example of what one could accomplish with an RVT degree and he is always willing to be a resource for students—many of whom intern at Adobe Animal Hospital,” Dr. Ellis explains.

Mr. Yagi’s contributions to the registered veterinary technician profession are numerous. Whether it be through his work at Adobe Animal Hospital and Foothill College, or delivering a lecture to veterinary groups, Mr. Yagi has shown a steady commitment to elevating skill sets while maintaining a philosophy that everyone matters and can make a difference.



EmilyEwingMSA_2016Emily Ewing

At 15, Emily Ewing, a high school sophomore in Merced, CA, has already made more of an impact on the lives of animals and humans than most people her age.

It all started when she was eight and her mom brought home a black Chihuahua mix from the shelter which got her interested in shelter animals. At 12, Miss Ewing started working with Ms. Sharon Lohman, the president of New Beginnings for Merced County Animals. Now 15, she runs their foster program which includes foster home checks, placing the right animal with each foster family, follow up communicate with the foster parents, and scheduling veterinary visits. She also organizes the transport of animals, coordinates adoptions, and maintains the New Beginnings Facebook page.

Additionally, in the past three years, Miss Ewing has raised over $30,000 for New Beginnings. Each year she has a bake sale to help animals in need. In December 2015, she raised $5,085 to help provide medical services and cover costs related to the transport of animals to different shelters and foster homes. The transport includes coordinating the volunteers and foster parents, and scheduling health checks for animals going to other states.

Miss Ewing’s passion is infectious. As Ms. Lohman says, “If you don’t want to adopt, foster, or donate, stay away from Emily!” Miss Ewing is a strong advocate for animals and her early and continued dedication to their welfare makes her worthy of the Meritorious Service Award.



The CVMA’s California Animal Hall of Fame, created in 1990, celebrates the companion and working animals of California and the veterinarians who care for them. The winning animal’s care provider is recognized at the Pacific Veterinary Conference as well.

2016 Inductee: StellaStella_AHoF_2016
Therapy Dog

Owner: Julie Voltin, DVM

Nominating Organization: Uptown Animal Hospital

Therapy dog Stella roams the halls of Uptown Animal Hospital “finding different things that need to be done,” her owner, Dr. Julie Voltin says. Stella greets people and pets as they enter the hospital, entertains owners when they’re waiting, and comforts those who receive bad news.

Stella’s unique temperament allows her to read other animals and they calm down in her presence. One example of this is described by an owner of two dachshund patients of the hospital: “Inevitably my little dogs become visibly upset and tremble with fear when we enter the lobby. Stella promptly appears, tailing wagging, full of confidence, with a warm, friendly smile on her face and greets them. Whatever goes on with dog body language communication, my dogs are calmed by her presence and by what she tells them. After whatever procedure we are there for, Stella will appear in the exam room as if to say, ‘I told you not to worry, didn’t I?’”

Stella’s service as a therapy dog exemplifies the value of the human-animal bond in the very best way. Her calming temperament and her compassionate, patient, intuitive, playful, and nurturing nature make her an excellent recipient of the Animal Hall of Fame Award.


Nominate Someone for a 2017 CVMA Award

It is the CVMA’s honor and pleasure to recognize significant contributions to the veterinary profession! The announcement of the award recipients is the highlight of the Pacific Veterinary Conference. We invite all readers to take a moment and ask, “Who has stood out in the crowd? Who has made a difference?” Then, send your nomination packet to the CVMA by the deadline of December 31, 2016. In June 2017 you can join your colleagues in Long Beach in applauding the recipients of these prestigious awards!

Awards Nomination criteria and timeline

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