As the Director of the Program for Pet Health Equity, College of Social Work, at the University of Tennessee, Dr. Blackwell’s self-professed mission is to improve access to veterinary care, especially for families with limited means. He also chairs the Access to Veterinary Care Coalition.
In this discussion with Maddie's Fund Executive Leadership Team member Mary Ippoliti-Smith, Dr. Blackwell reflects on growing up in the segregated south and his eye-opening moment when the critical connection between humans and animals became his life calling.
Dr. Blackwell made history as the first veterinarian to be appointed chief of staff for the Office of the Surgeon General. His professional accomplishments, which span private practice, public health, and education, exemplify the vital roles of veterinarians in society.
His numerous awards and recognitions - among them the U.S. Public Health Service Distinguished Service Medal (which is the highest personal honor award) - include Maddie's Fund's' 2020 Avanzino Leadership Award for his outstanding dedication to the human-animal bond.
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