At MedVet, we are proud to celebrate the beauty of individuality and the unique contributions that make our world a better place. In honor of #PRIDEMonth, we would like to share stories highlighting some history makers who have made an impact on the veterinary profession.
Matthew Baron-Chapman, DVM, Diplomate, ACVR (He/Him/His)
Dr. Baron-Chapman is a Veterinary Radiologist at MedVet Cincinnati and MedVet Dayton. He also serves as the Director of Residency Training for MedVet Cincinnati’s participation in the American College of Veterinary Radiology’s residency program.
While in his residency, he received the American College of Veterinary Radiology (ACVR) Resident Research Grant award to fund his research on “Ultrasonographic Observation of Secretin-Induced Pancreatic Duct Dilation in Healthy Cats.” This research helped develop new procedures enhancing the ability to diagnose feline pancreatitis – and earned him the Resident Manuscript Publication Award in the process!
Dr. Baron-Chapman and his husband, Bruce, have been married for five years and are the parents of an amazing 4-year-old son. They live in the greater Cincinnati area with their dog, cat, four sheep, eight chickens, two ducks, and two rabbits. The Baron-Chapmans are advocates for the LGBTQIA community, supporting PFLAG, LGBTQIA affirming churches and businesses, and LGBTQIA political movements, among others. They are hopeful to help build a more kind and accepting society where LGBTQIA kids and families throughout this country and world can feel openly welcome and can freely partake in all facets of American and international life.
Sandy Hazanow (She/Her/Hers) & Dane Whitaker (He/Him/His)
Dr. Hazanow is a former president for PrideVMC and still serves on the Executive Board. PrideVMC strives to create an empowered LGBTQ+ veterinary community that embraces wellbeing by being their authentic selves. During her time as president, she acted as liaison to national veterinary groups to advocate on behalf of its members for diversity and inclusion in the veterinary community. Dr. Hazanow is currently practicing veterinary medicine and she also serves as the San Francisco delegate to the California Veterinary Medical Association and was the former president of the San Francisco Veterinary Medical Association.
Dr. Dane Whitaker, current president of PrideVMC, is a leader in promoting inclusion and acceptance for all members of the veterinary community. According to Dr. Whitaker, “I identify first as a transgender man, and second as a transgender veterinarian. I am proud of this identity and of the unique position I am in to create change in our profession.” Dr. Whitaker frequently speaks with veterinary students, educators, and practicing doctors on important LGBTQ+ issues facing the veterinary profession. He also volunteers with several nonprofits that help people living with HIV/Aids.
Deborah Kochevar (She/Her/Hers)
Dr. Kochevar currently holds the title of Dean Emerita at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University after serving for 12 years as dean and Henry & Lois Foster professor, and later as provost ad interim at the university. She is a past president of the American College of Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology and is active in the American Veterinary Medical Association. In addition, she is a former president and chair of the board of directors of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges. Dr. Kochevar credits veterinary students with helping to drive a more equitable and inclusive veterinary profession. She is currently the Director-at-large for PrideVMC. The mission of PrideVMC is to create a better world for the LGBTQ+ veterinary community.
Melinda Merck (She/Her/Hers)
Melinda Merck, DVM is a forensic veterinarian consulting on legal cases involving animals. Dr. Merck provides training for veterinary professionals, attorneys, and law enforcement on the use of veterinary forensic science and medicine in animal cruelty cases. She developed the first veterinary forensics courses for the University of Georgia and the University of Florida and often lectures at other veterinary and technician colleges.
Dr. Merck was president of PrideVMC from October 2017 until September 2019. During her time as president, she was featured in AAVMC’s Diversity and Inclusion on Air YouTube series where she advocated for the role PrideVMC plays in advancing diversity and inclusion in the veterinary profession.
Joe Kinnarney (He/Him/His)
Elected in 2014-2015, Dr. Kinnarney was the AVMA’s first openly gay national president. Prior to his appointment, Dr. Kinnarney was active for much of his career as an AVMA delegate from North Carolina where he worked as a mixed animal practitioner after graduating from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.
With his presidency, practicing veterinarians, veterinary students, and other members of the profession saw a gay man leading their professional association. This accomplishment has made an impact on many individuals within the veterinary profession, demonstrating inclusion and recognition for the beauty of our individual differences.