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From left: Drs. Rick Mitchell, J. Scot Estep and Burke Healey were named 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients.

Vet Med announces 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients

Monday, August 22, 2022

Media Contact: Kaylie Wehr | Coordinator, Marketing and Public Relations | 405-744-6740 |

Oklahoma State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine recently named Drs. J. Scot Estep, Burke L. Healey and Richard D. Mitchell its 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients.

The Distinguished Alumni Award is selected and presented by the OSU CVM Alumni Society in recognition of outstanding professional and personal achievements as well as contributions to the enhancement of the veterinary profession.

Estep, of Spring Branch, Texas, is the founder and co-owner of Texas Veterinary Pathology and Texas Veterinary Passages. He is still a practicing veterinarian, an adjunct faculty member at Texas A&M University and participates in relief work.

During his 20-year Army career, Estep spent five years managing small animal practices, three years in a veterinary pathology residency and 12 years researching neurology, ocular injury, wound healing, shock and hemorrhage control. Specifically, he supported development of the one-handed tourniquet and topical hemostatic dressings.

Estep has lectured in the United States and Europe on many topics, including cytology, diagnostic necropsy, Chagas Disease and feline enteritis. He has 35 scientific and clinical publications, including two book chapters.

Estep’s colleague and friend, Dr. Jerry Cowart, nominated him for this award.

“Scot has provided a lifetime of service to his church, community, professional organizations and country, serving 20 years in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps,” Cowart said. “He is a youth leader at his church, has mentored more than 100 students and provided professional mentoring to more than 40 medical professionals ranging from veterinarians to medical doctors to research professionals. I am honored to have him as a business partner, mentor and friend.”

Estep earned his DVM degree from the OSU CVM in 1992.

Healey, of Livermore, Colorado, is currently serving as the U.S. Department of Agriculture Veterinary Services’ Senior Leader for Policy and Operations.

In 1996, Healey was selected as the State Veterinarian of Oklahoma. His career with the USDA began in 2004 when he became the Oklahoma Area Veterinarian in Charge.

Healey held many leadership positions within the USDA’s veterinary services, including the deputy administrator and U.S. chief veterinary officer. Prior to that, he served as the executive director for the Surveillance, Preparedness and Response unit; in this role, he was the National Incident Commander for the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) outbreak of 2014-2015. He successfully led the largest animal disease incident response in U.S. history, with more than 200 cases of HPAI found in commercial and backyard poultry, as well as wild birds across the country.

“Dr. Healey is respected internationally for his knowledge, approach to implementing change and leadership,” said Dr. Rosslyn Biggs, who nominated Healey for this award. “His ability to build international partnerships has positively impacted worldwide public health and enhanced American livestock producers’ viability.”

Healey earned his DVM degree from the OSU CVM in 1984.

Mitchell, of Newtown, Connecticut, currently serves as chair of the Foundation for the Horse Development Council, chairman of the Board of Trustees for the American Horse Council and is on the Board of Directors for the International Society of Equine Locomotor Pathology, of which he is a founding member. He recently received the 2022 AAEP Distinguished Life Member Award.

Mitchell served as an official veterinarian for the United States Equestrian Team at six Olympic Games, as well as multiple Pan American and World Games. Internationally certified in veterinary acupuncture and equine locomotor pathology, he is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Authoring many nationally and internationally published articles and textbook chapters on equine health care and welfare, he served on multiple Boards of Directors including United States Equestrian Foundation, Connecticut Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Equine Practitioners and the EQUUS Foundation.

Mitchell was nominated by his colleague, Dr. Mike Johnston.

“Rick has demonstrated all the qualities of a distinguished alumnus as evidenced by his involvement in national and international equine competitions as both an equestrian and veterinarian,” Johnston said. “To me, his most selfless contribution to the well-being of the horse has been his role at the helm of the AAEP Foundation for the Horse. In addition, he also likes to declare ‘Go Pokes!’ whenever he gets the chance.”

Mitchell earned his DVM degree from the OSU CVM in 1974.

The recipients will be honored at the veterinary college’s Distinguished Alumni Award Luncheon on Friday, Nov. 4.

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