Today’s Veterinary Nurse Editor-in-Chief Kara M. Burns, MS, MEd, LVT, CVT, VTS (Nutrition), VTS Hon (Internal Medicine, Dentistry), has been recognized by The Bridge Club as its 2024 Industry ICON Award recipient.
The annual honor recognizes a veterinary professional who “consistently demonstrates leadership, innovation, and a commitment to elevating and advancing veterinary care,” according to the organization’s website.
Burns, the current president of the Pet Nutrition Alliance and director of veterinary nurse development at WellHaven Pet Health, is the first veterinary nurse/technician and the 9th person overall to receive this award.
“Honored, shocked, humbled,” Burns said of receiving the award. “There are so many vet techs that have done so much for the profession for so long. For me to have been nominated would have been a great honor; to be named the winner is just incredibly humbling.”
This year, Burns was unanimously selected from a pool of nearly 50 candidates.
“Kara is so deserving of this honor,” said Dr. Alex Miller, manager of veterinary services at Blue Buffalo, in a press release of the announcement. “She has been instrumental in advancing the role of veterinary technicians and increasing the knowledge of all practitioners in the area of nutrition.”
Burns began her career in human medicine where she worked as an emergency psychologist before attaining her veterinary technician license and working in small animal and avian veterinary practices. In addition to her current work, Burns has served as the past president of NAVTA, founded the Academy for Veterinary Nutrition Technicians, published more than 100 articles, and authored several textbooks and textbook chapters.
An internationally invited speaker, Burns has become known for delivering popular continuing education presentations on topics ranging from nutrition to veterinary nurse/technician utilization.
Burns said her motivation for her work begins with her passion for veterinary medicine.
“I always wanted to be in veterinary medicine because I wanted the best for all creatures,” Burns said. “I stayed in veterinary medicine because I saw what good medicine and great nursing care could do for patients and their owners.”
Burns saw through her own experience that working as a veterinary team provided the best medicine and patient outcomes while elevating the role of the veterinary nurse/technician.
“Seeing that made me want to continue to advance the notion that veterinary medicine is a team sport,” Burns said. “Every member has a pivotal role in providing the best care, strengthening the human-animal bond, and following their passion.”
The Industry ICON Award is bestowed by The Bridge Club, an organization dedicated to facilitating meaningful conversations in veterinary medicine to help elevate the field. To date, the organization has held more than 300 discussions.
Burns will be presented with the award at The Bridge Club ICON event in Orlando, Florida, on January 13, where she will participate in a moderated discussion with her wife, Dr. Ellen I. Lowery.