American College of Veterinary Surgeons and ACVS Foundation 2023 Award Recipients Announced

Germantown, MD, October 12, 2023 – The American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS, the College) and the ACVS Foundation announced the recipients of five prestigious awards at the recent 2023 ACVS Surgery Summit in Louisville, KY: the ACVS Merit Award, the ACVS Founders’ Award for Career Achievement, the Al and Carolyn Schiller Distinguished Service Award, the ACVS Foundation Legends Award, and the ACVS Foundation Lynn Wheaton Philanthropy Award.


ACVS Merit Award

The ACVS membership selected K. Jack Easley, DVM, MS, DABVP (Equine), DAVDC (Equine), to receive the ACVS Merit Award. The award recognizes a non-ACVS Diplomate who has made major contributions to veterinary surgery through the development of methods, techniques, devices, and educational aspects of veterinary surgery.

During his postdoctoral surgery fellowship at Colorado State University, Dr. Easley recognized that equine dentistry was often overlooked, and veterinarians lacked understanding of the anatomy and diseases of the equine mouth and sinuses. To improve his and others’ understanding of equine dentistry, Dr. Easley started his own practice to focus on dentistry and oral maxillofacial surgery.

During his career, Dr. Easley authored or co-authored 19 peer-reviewed publications, 35 book chapters, and over 50 published abstracts. He lectured at more than 150 local, state, national, and international meetings. Considered to be among the most recognizable names in equine veterinary medicine, he co-edited a textbook entitled Equine Dentistry and Maxillofacial Surgery, the most comprehensive textbook on equine dentistry and maxillofacial surgery ever published. He reviews publications for editorial review boards of Veterinary Surgery, Equine Veterinary Journal, Equine Veterinary Education, and Journal of Veterinary Dentistry.

For more than 25 years, Dr. Easley advanced knowledge in equine dentistry and dental surgery worldwide, committing yearly to hosting, training, and mentoring veterinary students and graduate veterinarians. This is particularly demonstrated through his continuing education efforts in Europe, South America, and Australia. Practitioners from these countries often visit his practice in Kentucky to learn routine and advanced equine dental procedures. Under his direction, veterinary schools have developed courses focusing on equine dentistry.

“He truly believes education is a two-way street and that knowledge is meant to not only share but pay forward. He achieved excellence as a veterinarian, maxillofacial surgeon, hospital owner, educator, and mentor as well as a husband/father—the latter being his most treasured achievement.”

–Jeremiah Easley, DVM, DACVS


ACVS Founders’ Award for Career Achievement

The ACVS membership selected Steven C. Budsberg, DVM, MS, Diplomate, ACVS, to receive the ACVS Founders’ Award for Career Achievement. The award recognizes the service of an ACVS Diplomate distinguished by contributions to the development of surgical techniques and methodology and disseminating knowledge to colleagues, residents, and students.

Dr. Budsberg dedicated his career to research and training, becoming internationally renowned for his work in canine lameness with the use of gait analysis and pain management. During his more than 30 years at the University of Georgia (UGA), he received 65 grants totaling over $11 million in research funding. His gait analysis laboratory has been used in many of his clinical trials and by pharmaceutical companies for pre-clinical product testing. He received the AVMA Career Achievement in Canine Research Award in 2021.

Since becoming an ACVS Diplomate in 1988, he has been actively involved in ACVS continuing education, participating as a Surgery Summit speaker, seminar chair, publicity chair, Proceedings chair, and program chair. He also served two terms on the Veterinary Surgery Editorial Review Board. Elected to the ACVS Board of Regents as a large animal regent, Dr. Budsberg went on to serve as president-elect, president, chair of the board, and chair of the ACVS Nominating Committee. Dr. Budsberg became an ACVS Founding Fellow, Joint Replacement Surgery in 2021 and continues to train UGA faculty on hip replacements.

Dr. Budsberg has served executive roles as a member of AO VET, the Veterinary Orthopedic Society, the American Veterinary Medical Association, and the Evidence-Based Veterinary Medicine Association. He has taught numerous AO courses to train residents and veterinarians. Dr. Budsberg mentored over 40 ACVS residents, serving as a resident advisor to 11 that are now ACVS Diplomates. He is an ACVS Foundation Honored Mentor.

“Whether you were a student, an intern, or a resident, if you opened your ears and listened, he’d be pouring gold.”

–Marko Stejskal, DVM, PhD, DACVS (Small Animal), DECVS, MRCVS


Al and Carolyn Schiller Distinguished Service Award

The ACVS Board of Regents (BOR) selected P.O. Eric Mueller, DVM, PhD, DACVS, as recipient of the Al and Carolyn Schiller Distinguished Service Award for exceptional contribution to ACVS.

Dr. Mueller has demonstrated commitment to excellence in service and teaching. His service to the College’s mission commenced within a year of becoming board-certified in 1996. He began contributing to Veterinary Surgery as a member of the Editorial Review Board and as a Surgery Summit speaker and seminar chair for many years. He served for four years as a member of the ACVS Examination Committee and chair.

Dr. Mueller was elected in 2009 to the BOR as a large animal regent. He continued to share his expertise as a BOR liaison to the examination restructuring task force. Dr. Mueller went on to serve a second term on the BOR as the College’s president-elect, president, and chair. He participated in the 2017 ACVS strategic planning session, during which the first five-year strategic plan for the College was developed. The plan served as a detailed template for achieving the College’s goals.

Steadily leading by example, Dr. Mueller was viewed as an ACVS ambassador and inspiration to become active in the College. His curriculum vitae attests to his extensive contributions to veterinary medicine, with numerous peer-reviewed publications, book chapters, proceedings, and research abstracts.

Dr. Mueller is also known for his dedication to the training of future surgeons. He trained over 100 interns and was a mentor to 18 large animal surgery residents who are now ACVS Diplomates. He is an ACVS Foundation Honored Mentor, recognized for his impact on the lives and careers of surgery residents and colleagues.

“His service to our profession is scholarly, no doubt, but his service to our profession as a role model and leader is unrivaled.”

–Jarred Williams, DVM, DACVS (Large Animal)


ACVS Foundation Legends Award

Timothy C. McCarthy, DVM, PhD, Diplomate, ACVS, is the recipient of the ACVS Foundation Legends Award. The award recognizes Diplomates who have developed a surgical or diagnostic procedure of significant value, proven by becoming the test or treatment of choice for a given condition. Dr. McCarthy’s impact on minimally invasive surgery (MIS) in its application to ectopic ureters and pericardiectomy in the treatment of chylothorax is groundbreaking.

In 2006, Dr. McCarthy was the first to report cystoscopic diagnosis and treatment of ectopic ureter in female dogs. He demonstrated the utility of cystoscopy as a diagnostic tool; he then impulsively tried to fix ectopic ureters using a cystoscope. Although others reported cases, Dr. McCarthy published the first case and should receive full credit for a procedure that is now the preferred treatment.

Dr. McCarthy’s technique for pericardiectomy in animals with chylothorax has been a vital addition to the management of these cases. The technique has resulted in an increased resolution of pleural fluid in animals affected by this frustrating disease. The procedure that Dr. McCarthy introduced is the treatment of choice for animals with chylothorax. There are numerous potential procedures for treatment, but a recent study found that in dogs with idiopathic chylothorax and constructive pericardial physiology, patients benefitted from pericardiectomy. Dr. McCarthy was an early and staunch advocate of this procedure.

Dr. McCarthy has lectured and taught MIS worldwide. He has published textbooks on MIS procedures and authored numerous periodical articles on his application of MIS. His knowledge of general and orthopedic surgery made him valuable as an instructor of both and has guaranteed that his wisdom in MIS will be passed on to generations to come.

“I found myself frequently contacting Tim for advice. Tim achieved so much as a specialist in a small practice without academic or large corporate support. His contributions as a surgeon and an endoscopy teacher are impressive.”

–Clarence A. Rawlings, DVM, PhD, DACVS


ACVS Foundation Lynn Wheaton Philanthropy Award

Dominic J. Marino, DVM, Diplomate, ACVS, is the inaugural recipient of the ACVS Foundation Lynn Wheaton Philanthropy Award. The award recognizes ACVS Diplomates who demonstrate intentional and altruistic social responsibility through their work with their community, an association, or other nonprofit organizations. Recipients give their time and talent to positively impact the quality of life of people and animals and show generosity of spirit and civic responsibility.

Dr. Marino’s volunteerism, accomplishments, and accolades are impressive. His affiliations include veterinary and human medical foundations and law enforcement foundations. He is a NY State emergency medical technician (EMT). In 2009, he was awarded Certificates of Meritorious Service for “risking life in service to fellow man” from the Police Surgeons Benevolent Foundation and for “placing himself in harm’s way” from the Fraternal Order of Police in NY for his actions following a vehicular accident.

Dr. Marino has served as a veterinary surgeon for many of the region’s law enforcement departments for decades and is responsible for developing medical protocols for multiple jurisdictions, including police and fire departments and airports. His volunteer work with the law enforcement community includes tactical emergency care K9 training for human physicians, nurses, EMTs, and paramedics. He is a volunteer tactical K9 medical training consultant for the ATF and FBI.

Dr. Marino was one of the first veterinary responders to the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. The lessons learned at the site motivated his desire to improve the health care and treatment of police dogs. He trains first responders on how to save the lives of their canine partners. His programs are mandatory training in many law enforcement agencies. In 2021, Dr. Marino accepted a commission as a major in the United States Army to expand his training to military personnel.

“Bringing honor and distinction to the veterinary profession is without question the common thread of his personal life and professional career.”

–Michael E. Bergman, Esquire, Suffolk County Sheriff’s Foundation Board Member