MedVet is proud to celebrate Women’s History Month by highlighting key Women History Makers along with some of our own key contributions to the veterinary profession. Women have had a growing impact on the veterinary community. Early on in veterinary medicine, only around 0.8% of graduates were women. Today they are the majority with about 64% according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. That trend has impacted our team here at MedVet where 69% of our veterinarians are women and 86% of our team members are women.
- Dr. Elinor McGrath is widely considered the first woman to practice veterinary medicine after earning her DVM from the Chicago Veterinary College (1910). Dr. McGrath devoted her life and career to providing needed and compassionate care for Chicago’s pets.
- Drs. Jane Hinton and Alfreda Johnson Webb are considered the first Black women to earn DVMs (1949). Both women also became the first Black members of the Women’s Veterinary Medicine Association, leading the way for diversity and minority representation in the veterinary profession.
- Dr. Ethel Connelly was the first Native American woman to graduate with a DVM (1989). She continues to devote her career to caring for the pets of the Blackfoot community in Montana.
MedVet Women Making History
- Dr. Kathy Wright pioneered the use of cardiac ablation in pets. This unique heart procedure saves the lives of pets with certain types of rapid heart rhythm. A board-certified Cardiologist, Dr. Wright is the only veterinarian in North America currently performing this surgery. She and her team at MedVet Cincinnati have saved over 130 dogs from as far away as California, Washington, Alaska, and parts of Canada.
- Dr. Jennifer Carr is the first MedVet Veterinary Surgeon and first Veterinary Surgeon in Ohio to perform subcutaneous ureteral bypass. This minimally invasive procedure can be performed more quickly and with less risk of complications, benefiting the kidneys and the patient.
- Dr. Terah Webb is a leader in treating canine and feline glaucoma. She collaborated with Dr. Dineli Bras, a former MedVet Veterinary Ophthalmologist who now works in Puerto Rico, to perform the first endolaser cyclophotocoagulation (ECP). Together they established treatment protocols for this procedure. Additionally, the two have traveled the world to teach others how to perform the surgery. MedVet Columbus is still considered the premier location for ECP.
Women Leading the Profession
- Dr. Mary Knight Dunlap graduated from Michigan State University in 1933. With a desire to support and share experiences with other women in the field, Dr. Dunlap began outreach that resulted in her founding the Women’s Veterinary Association in August 1947. She wrote to all 37 female members of the AVMA at the time to encourage their involvement. Over the years, the group provided support, mentorship, networking, advocacy, and education for women in the profession.
- Dr. Janet Donlin is the first female CEO of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) in its 157-year history . Today, Dr. Donlin leads the AVMA’s efforts to protect, promote, and advance the veterinary profession through political advocacy, educational programs for veterinarians, public information campaigns, and so much more.
Women Educating Others
- In her 40+ year career, Dr. Lila Miller has uplifted care and medical access for America’s most vulnerable pets. As the Vice President of Shelter Medicine for the ASPCA, she pioneered the idea that an animal’s value does not depend on its ownership. Dr. Miller developed the first vet-written guidelines for shelter animal care. These guidelines are used in facilities nationwide to keep pets happy and healthy while they wait for their forever homes. She continues to educate her veterinary colleagues. Dr. Miller has designed virtual continuing education courses on shelter medicine and care, including the topic of how to recognize animal abuse.
- Shirley D. Johnston, DVM, PhD, DACT, was a trailblazer. In 1949, she became the first woman to graduate from the Veterinary College at Tuskegee Institute (now University). She was also the first woman to hold the position of dean at any veterinary college in the United States. In 1998, she became the Founding Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Western University. During her career, she was committed to pushing professionals to see themselves as animal advocates and public health resources. She also encouraged lifelong learning and leadership roles for women in the profession and in academia.