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Welcome to the AHVM Foundation Blog


I'm Dr. Richard Palmquist and I am co-director of the foundation. It gives me immense pleasure to be able to welcome you today. For those who don't know me, I am a clinician in Inglewood, California. Our small animal hospital is AAHA accredited and services 16,000 pets annually. As I write this, I am past president and research chair of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA) where I also serve on the editorial and grant committees. I am a peer reviewer of their journal and also the journal of the College of Integrative Veterinary Medicine. Many of you may know me from my columns at Huffington Post in the Healthy Living section.  I came to integrative medicine by an interesting path as I was a conventionally trained veterinarian living in Los Angeles who decided to investigate an alternative veterinarian living in New York. I left my practice with the purpose of having his license revoked, but on arrival and direct observation I realized that there were things in medicine that I had not been taught in veterinary school. I decided to do something about it and have been investigating and publishing in the field for many years.

For years we have known we need more and better research in integrative medicine. We now have tools to make this dream a reality. It is so exciting to see this foundation come to life. As I served on the AHVMA board of directors it became evident that we needed to expand some of our functions. Holistic and integrative veterinarians are a diverse lot. They come in all shapes and sizes and all manner of belief systems, and they work tirelessly to improve the health of their patients, clients and communities. Complementary and alternative medicine offers so many new tools that one's head can spin just considering the options.  No one person can even begin to know it all.

Since most research is funded by pharmaceutical companies in search of patentable properties, and since until recently no veterinary schools even had departments of integrative medicine, it has been difficult to gather needed funding for research into natural therapies.  The research committee of the AHVMA and this foundation are working diligently to make this dream of better research and education a reality. And within a short period of time this foundation will help provide the energy to drive that effort. The foundation board reflects this diversity, dedication and talent as you can see below:

Dr Larry Bernstein is co-director of the foundation and is a holistic veterinarian who is trained and certified in both veterinary and human homeopathy, and veterinary acupuncture. He graduated University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School in 1977 and began studying holistic medicine in 1990. He works as a clinician treating cases throughout the world. He also writes and teaches extensively. He is a past president of the AHVMA and IVH, and currently serves on the board of directors of the AHVMA.

Dr Jean Dodds is a pioneering vaccine research scientist and practicing integrative veterinarian who founded the first nonprofit national animal blood bank, Hemopet.  Dr. Dodds holds important patents in veterinary clinical pathology, and directs the Hemolife veterinary diagnostic laboratory.  She brought to light a need for vaccination reform in veterinary medicine and helped develop titer testing as a means of reducing unnecessary vaccination.  Dr Dodds is a well-known international lecturer. She cofounded the Rabies Challenge Fund Charitable Trust,  and works to improve our ability to apply science to veterinary care.  She is on the AHVMA board of directors and serves as its Grant committee chair.  Her book with co-author, Diana Laverdure, The Canine Thyroid Epidemic, was published in April 2011 by Dog Wise. Dr Dodds is currently conducting novel research and diagnostics in the field of nutrigenomics, and is discovering interesting and important ways we can improve the feeding and care of our animal friends.


Dr. Barbara Royal, founder and owner of Royal Treatment Veterinary Center in Chicago, is an internationally-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine, nutrition and physical rehabilitation. She has a thriving practice for pets, consults at wildlife rehab centers and several zoos. She is the first known veterinarian to perform acupuncture on a zebra.  Dr. Royal graduated with high honors from the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois, is certified in veterinary acupuncture (IVAS), and has completed advanced training in Western and Chinese herbal medicine, rehabilitation and nutrition. She is a board member at the AHVMA.  Dr. Royal is also the go-to veterinarian for Oprah Winfrey.   She has a blog on The Huffington Post and her new book, The Royal Treatment; How a Veterinarian’s Understanding of Wild Animals Will Make your Pet Wildly Healthy (Simon and Schuster) is due out in 2012.

Dr. Marjorie Lewter, a graduate of University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, offers integrative health services to both large and small animals through Holistic Veterinary Consultants in Blacksburg, VA. She completed the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS) certification in 1992 and the IVAS Chinese Herbal Medicine Certification in 1995. Dr. Lewter has served as a mentor for veterinary students at the VA/ MD Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, and has hosted students through the International  Veterinary Student Association. She shares her experience as a guest lecturer on holistic medicine at many venues, and is an active volunteer in veterinary medicine and in her rural Virginia community. She served on the AHVMA Board of Directors 2004-2006, and has served as scholarship chair since 2006.

Dr. Nancy Scanlan graduated from the University of California, Davis in 1970. She practiced in a conventional practice for 10 years (2 years mixed, 8 years small animal exclusively), and used nutritional therapy with conventional medicine during that time. In 1979 she was hired as an instructor for an Animal Health Technician program in Southern California, and ended up as head of the Medical Science division at National College in South Dakota. She was certified in acupuncture in 1988, and returned to small animal practice. Other holistic modalities were added, and she has just retired from full-time 100% holistic practice after 16 years. She is on the editorial board for the Journal of the AHVMA, and has served as editor for Bow Tie Press, AAHA, and Veterinary Medicine Publishing Company. She is currently acting executive director of the AHVMA and founding member of the California Holistic Veterinary Medical Association. Dr. Scanlan has been a featured speaker at meetings sponsored by AHVMA, IVAS, Oregon Veterinary Medical Association, South Dakota Veterinary Medical Association, Southern California Veterinary Medical Association, and Veterinarians for Israel. She is a contributor to lay magazines such as Cat Fancy and is a featured writer in Veterinary Practice News and Nutrition Science News. She is a past president and past member of the executive board of the AHVMA, and currently is acting Executive Director of the AHVMA, as well as Executive Director of the AHVMA Foundation. She is also a member of AVMA, CVMA, CHVMA, AAVA, ASVMAE, and a member of IVAS.

Check out our newly growing Web site and feel free to email or write us with comments. I am most excited right now about the new "Stories" section. Take a few moments and reads some of these real-life stories that so clearly illustrate why we are here. Integrative medicine works. It helps human and veterinary patients every day. It's time to make these tools better understood and more available for people and animals everywhere.

Integrative medicine is about loving Life enough to help others translate and understand its messages and from those translations to bring about better living for us all.  Thanks for joining us!

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