Virginia Fajt, a clinical professor in the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences’ (CVM) Department of Veterinary Physiology & Pharmacology (VTPP), has been honored for her sustained excellence in education, research, and service to the field of bovine medicine with the 2018 American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) Award of Excellence.
Fajt was presented the award, which includes a commemorative plaque and a ring, during the 51st annual AABP conference, Sept. 14-16 in Phoenix.
“It’s nice to have someone acknowledge my work and how much I put into it,” Fajt said. “The really nice part was that the people who presented the award to me, Sarah Wagner and Terry Lehenbauer, are good friends of mine.
“Also sitting next to me was the president, now past president, Mike Apley, who was my major adviser in my Ph.D. program. He received the same award when I was in grad school, and his major adviser (Dan Upson) received the award previous to that,” she said.
The AABP Award of Excellence is given annually to a member whose professional activities have a consistent and direct influence on daily activities of bovine veterinarians through contributing to continuing education; actively participating in organized veterinary medicine; maintaining relationships with and contributing to the industry; publishing research in the past two years that has had a significant industry impact; and enhancing the practice through participation in regulatory or legislative activities.
Fajt, a clinical pharmacologist, has a record of achievement in all of those areas.
A “disciplinary expert” on a number of projects, including several at the CVM, Fajt has authored or co-authored more than 50 publications in academic journals, industry or extension publications, and books.
Her collaborations have included research on antibiotic use, resistance, and stewardship, which has the potential to directly affect cattle practice and industries; a project to determine drug elimination times following the treatment of livestock with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which will be critical information for show livestock competitions; and a publication about the effect of heat on truck “boxes” used to store drugs and equipment, which had drug potency implications for practitioners who store drugs in warm weather.
As an educator, Fajt teaches pharmacology in the CVM and has been involved in the Food Animal Production Tour in West Texas; has published research findings on instructional topics that include the best methods for teaching evidence-based approaches and the development of cultural competency in veterinary students; has worked with 4-H and FFA youth and animal science undergraduate and graduate students; and her leadership of the Antimicrobial Resistance Core Competencies Working Group also has had a direct impact on how antimicrobial drug resistance topics are taught in U.S. veterinary colleges.
Additionally, as an active participant in organized veterinary medicine, Fajt has been an AABP member since she was in graduate school and has participated in several committees and tasks forces within the organization related to drug use and animals, including chairing the Committee on Pharmaceutical and Biological Issues and the AABP Foundation Board.
Currently, she also is the president of the American Academy of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, serves on the board of directors of the Veterinary Pharmacology Research Foundation; and is involved in the American College of Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology, for which she has led several committees since becoming a diplomate.
She works with the Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute to develop guidelines to assist practitioners in interpreting the results of susceptibility testing; she serves as the president of the Evidence-Based Veterinary Medicine Association and chairs key committees of the American Veterinary Medical Association, including the Committee on Antimicrobials, which developed and implemented a strategy to allow veterinary professionals to effectively share policy recommendations with legislators, regulators, the marketplace, and other stakeholders.
Earlier this year, Fajt attended the AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference and House of Delegates meeting to gain support and approval of the profession’s first “Definition of Antimicrobial Stewardship and Core Principles of Antimicrobial Stewardship in Veterinary Medicine.”
“I am grateful to the support I receive from Dean (Eleanor) Green and the department heads here who really understand the different ways that everybody contributes to veterinary medicine. Some people in the college do the basic research; some do the clinical service, like our colleagues in the teaching hospital; and some people do things like I do,” she said. “We all have our part to play and it’s all acknowledged and rewarded.”
Contact Information: Megan Palsa, Executive Director of Communications, Media & Public Relations, Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Science; email@example.com; 979-862-4216; 979-421-3121 (cell)