Meet the Keynote Speaker

Amma Johnson
Living the Inspired Life

Amma Jo is a Harrisburg local who has dreamed up a life where she can be fueled by her passions. She is a singer, designer, author and speaker. She brings her high energy and positive outlook to the stage for her keynote talks. Her mission is simple… to inspire people to live their dreams, push past their fears and discover their life’s missions.

Amma Jo web

Besseches Jessica 

Dr. Jessica Basseches


Track: Ultrasound | Speaking on Sunday, August 18

Dr. Basseches started out in the humanities but then realized that her heart belonged to animals and medicine. She changed paths in order to obtain her veterinary degree from NC State in 2003. Subsequently, she performed a private practice internship in Florida, followed by a residency in radiology at the University of Georgia, finishing up in 2007. She worked as a staff radiologist at Angell Animal Medical Center (MSPCA) in Boston for five years before traveling to the southern hemisphere as a locum radiologist, having the opportunity to work with a diverse range of species in varied and fabulous environments. When she came back to the United States, she moved to the Philadelphia area and has been at CARES for over 6 years. She finds exotic radiology beautiful and stimulating, as well as grooving on the many facets of diagnostic imaging, getting to participate in almost all of the cases in the hospital and feeling like a critical part of the team helping our patients. Dr. Basseches loves being out of doors as much as possible and in almost any capacity (an antidote to days spent in the dark), enjoys both teaching and learning, frolicking with her dogs, running and hiking, critical thinking, science fiction and creative vegetarian cooking of the bounty from her garden.



Biascoechea Jose 

Dr. Jose Biascoechea

Track: Exotic Medicine | Speaking on Friday, August 16

Dr. Biascoechea is originally from San Juan Puerto Rico. He earned his BS and DVM from Kansas State University. He has the distinction of belonging to an elite group of specialists worldwide who has successfully completed the rigorous training and testing to become a Diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP) in Avian Practice, the highest diploma in his field. He founded Exotic Vet Care in 2000 and has been practicing exclusively exotic animal medicine and surgery since. He is the staff veterinarian for The Center for Birds of Prey and provides consulting and relief services for the South Carolina Aquarium and The Turtle Survival Center. His professional interests include Rabbit and rodent dentistry, endoscopy and soft tissue and orthopedic surgery.



Carlson Ed 

Mr. Ed Carlson

Track: Small Animal Nutrition | Speaking on Sunday, August 18

Ed Carlson is the Director of Technician Learning and Development for Ethos Veterinary Health. He lectures frequently at local, regional, and national veterinary conferences on a variety of nutrition topics. Ed is the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America District 1 Representative, and serves on multiple NAVTA committees including the Veterinary Nurse Initiative workgroup. He is also the Vice President of the Massachusetts Veterinary Technician Association, the Treasurer of the New Hampshire Veterinary Technician Association and a member Association of Veterinary Technician Educators. Ed is also the recipient of the NAVTA 2019 Technician of the Year award.



Demars Paul 

Dr. Paul DeMars

Track: Small Animal General Practice | Speaking on Friday, August 16

Dr. DeMars was born and raised in Stafford Springs CT. He graduated from the University of Connecticut with a BS in Pathobiology before moving to Stillwater OK for veterinary school. He graduated from Oklahoma State in 1994. After working in private practice for five years, he returned to Oklahoma State University as a faculty member in the Clinical Sciences department. He has been the lead veterinarian on the Small Animal Primary Care service since 1999. In 2001 he certified with the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners in Canine and Feline Medicine. Dr DeMars’ special interests are wellness medicine, behavioral medicine, dermatology and otology. He has given continuing lectures on these topics and helps students develop an understanding of these conditions on the clinic floor.



Dufort Robert 

Dr. Robert DuFort


Track: Small Animal Pathology | Speaking on Thursday, August 15

Dr. DuFort received his DVM from the University of California, Davis, in 1980. He completed internships in small-animal medicine and surgery at Sacramento Animal Medical, followed by a small-animal internal medicine residency at Cornell University and residencies in clinical pathology, microbiology, and pathology at University of California, Davis. He is currently a senior internal medicine consultant with IDEXX.




Farone Tracy 

Dr. Tracy Farone

Track: Production Animal | Speaking on Saturday, August 17

Dr. Tracy Farone, DVM, is a Professor of Biology at Grove City College. Dr. Farone graduated from St. Vincent College with a B.S. in Biology and received her DVM from The Ohio State University in 1999. She worked in various areas of private practice for 12 years. She served as medical director for a veterinary technician program and an adjunct professor for Geneva College and Penn State University (Beaver). In 2010, she joined the Grove City’s faculty. She currently teaches a wide variety of courses, and she is active in pre-health advising and student research.

Before bees buzzed into her life, Dr. Farone focused her research on public health, infectious diseases, and ticks. This research lead to the collection of nearly 3000 ticks across Pennsylvania. Her recent publications include three papers on ticks and tick-borne disease. One of these publications, in which Dr. Farone collaborated with the CDC and the PADH, documented the first evidence of Powassan virus found in Ixodes scapularis in Pennsylvania.

Over the past three years, Dr. Farone has been researching and re-educating herself in beekeeping and bee medicine. In 2018, she was granted a sabbatical to allow additional time to pursue apicultural studies, and develop a small teaching and research apiary at the College. She recently returned from France, where she worked with multiple experts in bee medicine and research at ONIRIS College in Nantes and the OIE in Paris. Additionally, she visited The University of Edinburgh and the Roslin Institute in Scotland, meeting with additional bee experts. These experiences provided Dr. Farone with a unique perspective in the development of relationships between veterinarians and beekeepers.

In the last 8 months, Dr. Farone has worked intensely in the field with multiple, regional, backyard, sideline, and commercial beekeepers, as well as shadowing a master beekeeper, working toward her goal of becoming an EAS Master Beekeeper. In June, she traveled to Montana/Crow Reservation to work with large scale, migratory, commercial beekeeping operations.

Dr. Farone has discovered that bee vet interest in Pennsylvania is buzzing and she has been working with The PDA, The PA State Beekeepers, and veterinary continuing education providers to create continuing education content for PA vets. She recently gave a bee lecture at Penn State University and developed an educational website

Dr. Farone enjoys spending time with her family, running, horse-back riding, SCUBA diving, and of course, just “beeing” with her backyard hives!



Ferguson Carol 

Dr. Carol Ferguson


Track: Small Animal Dermatology | Speaking on Thursday, August 15

Carol A. Ferguson completed studies for a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1988 at Tuskegee University located in Tuskegee, AL. She started her veterinary practice career in California. Her practice days were spent primarily providing surgical and medical care for small companion animals in the states of CA, WA, and GA. She has had the opportunity to work in a variety of practice settings - animal shelters, several cat-exclusive hospitals, and even as the ‘new associate’ in an equine practice. For 15 years prior to joining Ceva, she performed a variety of roles - veterinary consultant, sales manager, and Scientific Communications Manager – for Mars Pet Care. In 2010, she joined Ceva Animal Health as a member of the veterinary technical services department; while supporting the Marketing & Sales team, she served as the technical advisor for “Dear Tabby” for several years. As a Veterinary Services Manager and Regulatory Advocate, she is a cross-functional team member providing support to the Research and Development, Marketing, Sales, and Sales Training departments. She is also a Fear FreeSM Certified Professional and Speaker.

She promotes, enjoys, and values the relationship that comes with pet ownership – “Life just wouldn’t be the same.” Her topics of special interest for dogs and cats are parasite control, using topical therapy in dermatology, and recognizing and managing their common behavior problems.



Garg Tom 

Dr. Tom Garg

Track: Regulatory | Speaking on Thursday, August 15

Tom Garg, VMD, is a 1998 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine. He is an emergency veterinarian and has been with Hope Veterinary Specialists in Malvern, PA since the practice opened in 2004. He is currently a member of the State Board of Veterinary Medicine. Prior to his appointment to the board, Dr. Garg served on PVMA’s Board of Trustees. He was also very active in PVMA as Chair of the Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Committee.





Hartnack Amanda 

Dr. Amanda Hartnack

Track: Production Animal | Speaking on Friday, August 16

Dr. Amanda Hartnack is originally from Bakersfield, CA. She received her BA in English from Barnard College in New York City, and received her DVM from Colorado State University in 2010. Dr. Hartnack joined the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences at Texas A&M University as an Assistant Professor in 2014 following a residency in Food Animal Surgery at The Ohio State University. Dr. Hartnack has been board certified in Large Animal Surgery through the American College of Veterinary Surgeons since 2017. Dr. Hartnack divides her time between clinical service as a Food Animal Surgeon, didactic teaching in the Professional Veterinary Medicine Program, and research. Dr. Hartnack's research interests include pain management and regenerative medicine



Hoffman Sharon 

Dr. Sharon Hoffman

Track: Small Animal Dentistry | Speaking on Saturday, August 17

Dr. Sharon Hoffman never considered becoming a Veterinary Dentist when she graduated from Louisiana State University, because there weren't any! Dr. Hoffman was in primary care practice in the Carolinas and became one of twelve owners of a referral practice in Akron, Ohio. After many years looking into so many painful mouths, she followed the way of those AVDC Diplomates that went before her, and became a Board Certified Dentist. Amazing things have occurred beyond her wildest dreams since then. Some of her patients have included areas, dolphins, otters, and a sea lion. Even, Goofy (of Walt Disney fame) presented for an oral exam. She has taught locally, nationally, and internationally, whenever she can present dentistry and oral surgery to those who are looking into the mouths of their patients.

Dr. Hoffman has served on the Public Relations Committee for the American Veterinary Dental College, the College Advisory Committee of the FVMA to the University of Florida, and owned North Florida Veterinary Dentistry for 14 years. She is currently an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida. She has been awarded the FVMA Gold Star Award for outstanding contributions to veterinary medicine in Florida.



Jacob Kristin 

Dr. Kristin Jacob

SPONSORED BY  cvca logo web

Track: Small Animal Cardiology | Speaking on Sunday, August 18

Dr. Jacob joined CVCA in 2005. She received her bachelor’s degree and her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University. She completed both her small animal internship and her cardiology residency at the Animal Medical Center in New York. She then became part of the faculty of the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Minnesota as an assistant clinical professor. While at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Jacob developed a busy clinical cardiology service and stressed the importance of client education and addressing all of the patient’s needs to her students. Dr. Jacob has lectured on a variety of topics to students, veterinary technicians and colleagues.

She has been a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine since 1998. Her involvement in numerous research projects has led to the publication of several articles in scientific journals. Her interests include pacemaker therapy, medical therapy of congestive heart failure and feline cardiomyopathies. Dr. Jacob understands the importance of communication and emphasizes education and deciding with the clients what the best treatment options are for their pet and their family. Dr. Jacob loves spending her spare time at home with her husband and two school age sons. She also enjoys exercising, mainly triathlons. Occasionally, they find time to travel as well!

Dr. Jacob sees patients primarily in our offices located inside Chesapeake Veterinary Referral Center in Columbia, MD and BluePearl Veterinary Partners pet hospital in Rockville, MD.


Kornreich Michael 

Dr. Michael Kornreich


Track: Regulatory | Speaking on Thursday, August 15

Dr. Michael A. Kornreich is the Assistant Director for USDA, APHIS-VS, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Dr. Kornreich has worked for USDA, APHIS-VS since 2005. Prior to working with APHIS, Dr. Kornreich worked as a mixed animal practitioner for 4 years in the State of Georgia. He received his DVM degree from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine and, prior to that, a Bachelors Degree in Microbiology from the University of Georgia. Dr. Kornreich currently lives in Hershey, with his wife and daughter, and love living in loves living in “The Sweetest Place on Earth”.



Landis-Hanna Amanda 

Dr. Amanda Landis-Hanna

SPONSORED BY   Petsmart Charities

Track: Wellness | Speaking on Sunday, August 18

Amanda Landis-Hanna, DVM is Senior Manager of Veterinary Outreach for PetSmart Charities. She has practiced small animal and exotic medicine, shelter medicine, relief medicine, and worked in both private practice and corporate practice over the last 17 years. She has worked in research and industry, helping develop and test biometric monitoring devices in telemedicine. She has presented at ACVIM, AVMA Convention and ACVC, and has completed the Human-Animal Bond Certification and Fear Free Level 2 Certification. She was a member of AVMA Future Leaders, and enjoys working with others to implement positive change. Amanda is a frequent contributor to veterinary publications, in addition to sitting on several editorial boards. Her passions include access to veterinary care, working with veterinary students, the Human-Animal Bond, and mental health in the veterinary industry. She is also an equestrienne and Zumba instructor, and lives in Phoenix Arizona with her husband, 2 daughters, and Irish Setter Lucy. Her 2 guinea pigs, Laila and Fluffy, share her office.


Levitin Boaz 

Dr. Boaz Levitin

SPONSORED BY   PetCure Oncology

Track: Oncology | Speaking on Sunday, August 18

Dr. Boaz Levitin, DVM, DACVIM who specializes in Veterinary Neurology and Neurosurgery. He received his DVM from Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2000 and continued with a three-year internship before moving to the United States. Following his move, for the next several years Dr. Levitin completed an internship and his residency Tufts University in the field of Neurology/Neurosurgery.





Litster Annette 

Dr. Annette Litster


Track: Small Animal Medicine | Speaking on Friday, August 16

Dr. Litster graduated from the School of Veterinary Science at The University of Queensland in Australia in 1982. In 2001, Dr. Litster completed rigorous specialty veterinary medicine training and became a Fellow of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists by examination (FANZCVSc - Feline Medicine). This accreditation is equivalent to obtaining board certification through the ACVIM. She received a PhD from The University of Queensland in Australia in 2001 (her focus of study was the pathogenesis of acute death syndrome in Feline Heartworm Disease). In 2006 she obtained a Masters of Medical Science (MMedSci) in Clinical Epidemiology from The University of Newcastle, Australia.

Prior to obtaining her specialization, Dr. Litster had extensive experience working in small animal general practice and specialist feline practice in Australia. Post specialization, she held a faculty position at The University of Queensland (2004-2007) before moving to the United States in 2007, to take a position as an Assistant Professor and then a tenured Associate Professor of Small Animal Internal Medicine at Purdue University. While at Purdue University, Dr. Litster was Director of The Purdue Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program, an integrated program of education and training, research, and the dissemination of information on shelter medicine and animal welfare (2008 - present). The research focused on feline and canine infectious diseases and preventative medicine.

As a veterinary small animal internal medicine specialist and faculty member, Dr. Litster has authored over 50 papers in national and international peer-reviewed veterinary journals. She is the Scientific Editor of the Veterinary Journal (2011 – present) and has edited over 400 papers. She is a well respected national and international speaker, and is a member of ISCAID (International Society for Companion Animal Infectious Diseases), the Association of Shelter Veterinarians, and the European Society of Feline Medicine. She is also an adjunct faculty member at Purdue University and The University of Nottingham, UK.

Dr. Litster resides in Chicago, IL with her husband Dr. Jim Litster, a Professor of Chemical Engineering.



Dr. Elizabeth Lutz

Track: Small Animal Ophthalmology | Speaking on Sunday, August 18

Dr. Elizabeth Lutz received board certification in ophthalmology from the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists in 2017. Her clinical interests are diverse, and include the medical and surgical management of glaucoma, lens surgery, corneal surgery, retinal surgery, novel treatment of tear film diseases, infectious disease ophthalmology, and exotic animal and equine ophthalmology. Dr. Lutz obtained her DVM from Cornell University in 2007 after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 2003 with a BA in English. At Long Island Veterinary Specialists, she completed a rotating internship in small animal medicine and surgery (2008), followed by a specialty internship in ophthalmology (2009). In 2010, Dr. Lutz completed a research fellowship in comparative ophthalmology at The Ohio State University, where she also completed her residency in comparative ophthalmology and received an MS in comparative veterinary medicine with an emphasis in comparative ophthalmology in 2013.

Since her residency, Dr. Lutz has worked exclusively in private referral practice as the Chief of Ophthalmology. Dr. Lutz enjoys all aspects of clinical practice, as well as providing continuing education and state-of-the-art medical and surgical care.

Dr. Lutz is published in both veterinary and human ophthalmic journals and is a peer editor for the Veterinary Ophthalmology journal. She is also a member of the ACVO Public Relations Committee. She received the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmology (ACVO) clinical award at Cornell University and was awarded a highly coveted ACVO Vision for Animals Foundation Resident Research Award Grant while at The Ohio State University. Dr. Lutz was awarded the Best Clinical Research Award on two occasions at The Ohio State University Advances in Veterinary Medicine College Research Day, as well as The Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center Service Award. Her graduate work has been recognized by the Association for Research and Vision in Ophthalmology, and she was honored with the Best Research Paper Award by the ACVO, which is the most prestigious award given to any resident by the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmology.


Mattox Erica 

Ms. Erica Mattox

Track: Veterinary Nursing Anesthesia | Speaking on Thursday, August 15

Erica is a Clinical Manager at WestVet Animal Emergency and Specialty Hospital in Boise Idaho. Erica passed her VTS exam in 2009 to become one of the first VTS (ECC) in Idaho. She served as the president of the Idaho Society of Veterinary Technicians and Assistants for ten years. She is very passionate about anesthesia, emergency medicine, feline medicine, and the profession of Veterinary Technology in general. When not working, teaching, or arranging continuing education she enjoys anything outdoors and her two children Sean and Alexandra.





Mauldin Neil 

Dr. Neal Mauldin

SPONSORED BY   PetCure Oncology

Track: Oncology | Speaking on Sunday, August 18

Dr. Neal Mauldin is a pioneer in the field of veterinary radiation therapy, Dr. Mauldin has treated more than 2,000 pets with stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) since 2010. As Chief Medical Officer at PetCure Oncology, he provides clinical oversight, remote treatment planning and review, and oversees research for facilities across the PetCure Oncology network. Dr. Mauldin is a triple-board certified veterinarian in the fields of internal medicine, medical oncology and radiation oncology. He is a pioneer having attained board certification in veterinary radiation oncology the first year it was offered in 1994. Has practiced as a veterinary radiation oncologist for over 30 years, including clinical leadership positions at VCA Canada Western in Calgary, Canada, the Animal Medical Center in New York City, and Louisiana State University (associate professor, section head therapeutic radiology). Dr. Mauldin has authored over 20 peer-reviewed publications, written numerous textbook chapters, and presented invited scientific abstracts at over 40 national and international meetings pertaining to the specialty of veterinary oncology. He is also past president of the Veterinary Cancer Society. Dr. Mauldin training includes; Texas A&M University, Animal Medical Center (NYC), Memorial Sloan Kettering fellowship in radiation oncology.




McDonnell Jay 

Dr. Jay McDonnell

Track: Small Animal Neurology | Speaking on Saturday, August 17

After earning his veterinary (DVM) and master’s (MS) degree from the University of Missouri, Dr. McDonnell spent four years in general practice in Missouri and Oregon. Knowing he wanted to do more, he undertook a three-year neurology-neurosurgery residency at Tufts University in Massachusetts, and in 1998 was board-certified in neurology by the American College of Veterinary Medicine. Since then, Dr. McDonnell has been on a dual path of academia and private practice, first joining the faculty of the University of Georgia where he taught in the hospital and classroom. From 2000 to 2004, he was chief of neurology-neurosurgery at Tufts University. There, he helped established the in-house magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) suite, a brain surgery unit, and minimally-invasive CT-guided biopsy program.

Since moving to Maryland, Dr. McDonnell has become well-known for his work in the definitive treatment of brain tumors and spinal cord tumors, foramen magnum decompression/dorsal laminectomies, Wobbler’s disease, and the use of pituitary surgery to treat canine Cushing’s disease. In 2009, he founded Veterinary Neurology of the Chesapeake. Four years later, seeing the need for veterinary MRIs, he opened Veterinary Imaging of the Chesapeake. Today, both units are joined as one organization, VNIoC, to bring forth the most advanced neurology, advanced imaging and neurosurgical treatment in the region.

Teaching continues to be important to Dr. McDonnell. Believing that a balance of the academia and private practice enables him to keep at the forefront of veterinary neurology, he is an assistant clinical professor at Tufts University and a consultant in neurology at the University of Pennsylvania College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. McDonnell has lectured nationally, internationally, and regionally, and has published more than 20 journal articles, reviews, and book chapters. He is a founding member of the Veterinary Neurosurgery Society, and the exhibit coordinator for its biennial symposium.

Dr. McDonnell and his wife, Leigh, who is Vice President of Animal Health and Welfare at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, have a very precocious Hound/Labrador Cross named Drake.


Nappier Michael 

Dr. Michael Nappier

Track: Small Animal General Practice | Speaking on Thursday, August 15

Michael Nappier is Diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners and an Assistant Professor of Community Practice at the Virginia Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech. Prior to coming to Virginia Tech he spent 10 years in private practice in Cleveland, OH. His areas of interest include cat friendly practice, low stress visits, the science of teaching and learning, and torturing his students with 80’s pop culture references. When he’s not teaching he enjoys glass blowing, scuba diving, and being a "crazy cat dude."



Newman Rebeccal 

Dr. Rebecca Newman

SPONSORED BY   PetCure Oncology

Track: Oncology | Speaking on Sunday, August 18

Dr. Rebecca Newman worked as a researcher at the National Institute of Child Health and Development in Bethesda, Maryland before vet school. She chose the veterinary medical oncology field because it allowed her to combine her love of research and molecular biology with medicine. Extensively published, she has been invited to make presentations at numerous conferences and continuing education events. Dr. Newman is Chief of Oncology at Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center – PVSEC.




Olds Sanchez Ashleigh 

Dr. Ashleigh Olds-Sanchez

Track: Equine | Speaking on Friday, August 16

Ashleigh Olds-Sanchez is the owner of Galisteo Basin Veterinary Services, an equine practice focusing on Equine Sports Medicine, Lameness, Dentistry and Surgery based out of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Previously, Dr. Sanchez founded Aspen Creek Veterinary Hospital in Conifer, Colorado, which she grew over 12 years to a very successful 6-veterinarian, progressive mixed-animal practice before selling it to allow her to better pursue her passions of teaching and focusing on equine sports medicine.

Dr. Sanchez completed her undergraduate studies in Equine Science at Colorado State University before achieving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from U.C. Davis. She then completed an internship in Equine Medicine and Surgery at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana before beginning her career in private practice. Dr. Sanchez completed the rigorous process of board certification in Equine Practice through the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners in 2013 and has been serving on various committees of the ABVP since then.

Dr. Sanchez has been published in JAVMA several times and has presented at ACVS and numerous VMA and other RACE approved conferences. She very much enjoys speaking and teaching as one of her passions for veterinary medicine.

While horses are her ultimate obsession, Dr. Sanchez does enjoy working with and can be found wrangling many species including pot bellied pigs, goats, llamas, alpacas, as well as dogs and cats. She loves surgery, dentistry, and critical care, so if something needs cut, poked, sewed up, or is trying to die, Dr. Sanchez doesn’t care what species it is – she will jump right in!

Pardo Anthony 

Dr. Anthony Pardo

SPONSORED BY   PetCure Oncology

Track: Oncology | Speaking on Sunday, August 18

Dr. Anthony Pardo is especially interested in respiratory surgical conditions - tracheal collapse, laryngeal paralysis and in orthopedics - knee surgery, fractures and hip replacement. He spent five years as an associate professor of surgery at the University of Tennessee and is currently an adjunct assistant professor with the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. His current research interests include tracheal collapse in the toy breed dog; management of cranial cruciate ligament deficiency in the dog; canine hip replacement; and oncologic surgery. Dr. Pardo is the founder and Chief Medical Officer of the Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center – PVSEC.




Polks Amy 

Dr. Amy Polkes


Track: Equine | Speaking on Saturday, August 17

Dr. Amy Polkes is a board-certified Equine Internal Medicine specialist that has been consulting with Antech Diagnostics for over 15 years. Dr. Polkes received her Bachelor in Science from Cornell University and her degree in Veterinary Medicine from Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine. She then continued her training at the University of Florida to become board certified in Large Animal Internal Medicine. In 2002 she established an Equine internal medicine mobile consulting practice- HV Equine Internal Medicine- in Maryland and Virginia which has now grown to include Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut as well. She is also the Equine Medical Director at Antech Diagnostics.

Dr. Polkes resides in Maryland with her husband (who specializes in small animal internal medicine), her 2 teenage children and her 3 dogs. She enjoys hiking, biking and skiing and spending time with her family at all of her kids' various sports activities!

Poulin Rachel 

Ms. Rachel Poulin

Track: Veterinary Nursing Internal Medicine | Speaking on Saturday, August 17

Rachel has been working in veterinary medicine for 12 years and earned her VTS in Small Animal Internal Medicine in 2013. She served as the 2016 President of the Academy of Internal Medicine Veterinary Technicians. Rachel is currently the Clinical Supervisor of Internal Medicine and Dermatology at Wheat Ridge Animal Hospital in Colorado. She speaks and consults all over the country and loves it! When she’s not working, she enjoys exploring the Colorado Rockies and spending time with her family, including 2 furry pups, Emmy and Joey.



Repasky Stepen 

Mr. Stephen Repasky

Track: Production Animal | Speaking on Saturday, August 17

Stephen Repasky is a second-generation beekeeper living in Pittsburgh, PA he is a certified master beekeeper through the eastern apicultural society and also the current president of burgh bees (an urban beekeeping association representing Pittsburgh and Allegheny county), 1st vice-president of the Pennsylvania state beekeepers association and sits on the board of directors for the American beekeeping federation. He is also an active member of the Pennsylvania state apiary advisory board and the Penn State center for pollinator research advisory board.

As Stephen began getting more involved with honey bees in the Pittsburgh area and beyond, the number of colonies also grew and the need for a formal name arose. Meadowsweet apiaries was then established as the popularity of his honey, removal services and educational presentations grew.

Stephen has been involved with bees since the age of four when he would help his father tend to the honey bee colonies on their small farm in southwestern Pennsylvania. After a brief hiatus, and graduating from the Pennsylvania state university with a bachelor of science in wildlife and fisheries science, Stephen began keeping bees again this time on his own. His first year was a rough start. The first few colonies were swarms caught in July - unfortunately, those bees did not survive the winter. The next year, with an earlier start, and several more swarms, Stephen's beekeeping took off. Those 3 colonies have since turned into nearly 100 colonies of honey-producing hives, a queen rearing operation and also the selling of nucleus colonies each summer to those looking to start or expand their own beekeeping adventures! He has published his first book in January of 2014 entitled “swarm essentials” through wicwas press and can be found presenting lectures on a variety of beekeeping topics around the united states.



Robertson Sheilah 

Dr. Sheilah Robertson

Track: Small Animal Hospice Care | Speaking on Friday, August 16

Dr. Sheilah Robertson graduated from the University of Glasgow in Scotland. Following time in private practice and an internship she undertook specialized training in anesthesia and completed her PhD at the University of Bristol. She is board certified in anesthesia and in animal welfare by the respective American and European Colleges and holds a certificate in small animal acupuncture. In 2019 she received her certification as a Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine Palliative and End-of-Life practitioner by the Chi Institute of Chinese Medicine. Currently, she is the senior medical director of Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice, a large network of veterinarians dedicated to end-of-life care and in-home euthanasia throughout the USA. Dr. Robertson is also a courtesy Professor in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.


Romano Heather  

Ms. Heather Romano

Track: Inter-Hospital Communications | Speaking on Thursday, August 15

Heather Romano has been in the veterinary field for 25 years, having held nearly every position found at a veterinary practice. Just before she joined iVET360, she served as a regional multi-unit manager and private hospital management consultant. Throughout her career, Heather has found that a practice’s culture, leadership, and training are cornerstones to retaining outstanding team members and creating a client experience that cultivates unparalleled loyalty. As a result, her driving passion is helping practices create work environments that foster positive, patient-focused and service-oriented cultures, making practices the premier employer in their area.

Her goal is to help the veterinary field elevate its employee relations to draw the best long-term talent possible. At iVET360, Heather and her HR and Training Teamwork with practices to assess their cultures and help leaders provide compassionate management techniques. She is an international conference speaker known for her unique perspective on leading, managing, and training the many generations that are currently working at today’s veterinary practices.



Rose Rebecca 

Ms. Rebecca Rose

Track: Client Communications | Speaking on Saturday, August 17

Rebecca’s career in the veterinary community is quite diverse. She has worked as a veterinary technician at a mixed animal practice, offered veterinary technician relief services throughout the state of Colorado, and was the first paid administrator to the Colorado Association of Certified Veterinary Technicians (CACVT). In addition, she managed two AAHA-accredited veterinary practices.

Rebecca has co-authored books related to career choices for veterinary technicians. Her writings can be found in several training books and veterinary related magazines. She facilitates customized workshops at local, state, national and international venues. She hosts online programs with her CATALYST VetPC Team geared towards practice prosperity, team development, and wellbeing. Finally, through Rebecca’s coaching and insight, veterinary managers and other team members can increase their understanding in areas specifically affecting them.

Rebecca’s background includes industry council experience and extensive association participation including president of both the CACVT and the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA). She has won two awards from the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA): Technician of the Year & Industry Partner of the Year.

You will see Rebecca finds great joy in assisting veterinary teams in reaching their highest potential in order to THRIVE!


Rosenthal Steven 

Dr. Steven Rosenthal

SPONSORED BY  cvca logo web

Track: Small Animal Cardiology | Speaking on Sunday, August 18

Steven Rosenthal, DVM joined CVCA in 1994. A graduate of the University of Maryland, Dr. Rosenthal went on to receive his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine. He completed both his small animal internship and cardiology residency at the Animal Medical Center in New York, after which he was a staff cardiologist for one year. Dr. Rosenthal is the cardiology consultant for the Smithsonian Institute National Zoo in Washington DC, the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, and the National Aquarium and has been part of a number of cardiac publications in reference to zoo animal cardiac disease.

He has lectured on numerous occasions to students and colleagues alike. Dr. Rosenthal has been involved in the training of numerous veterinary students, interns and cardiology residents. He is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in Cardiology and has been recognized professionally for various research projects. His interests include the use of biomarker testing in the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease, clinical use of new cardiac medications, comparative cardiology within animal species and catheterization techniques for treatment of congenital heart disease. Dr. Rosenthal has been active in the ACVIM College of Cardiology and has served as chairman of the examination, forum, and residency training committees. He is an avid University of Maryland sports fan and enjoys golfing and skiing. Dr. Rosenthal sees patients primarily in our office located inside of the Pet E.R. in Towson, MD.

Rossi Michael 

Dr. Michael Rossi


Track: Small Animal Dermatology | Speaking on Thursday, August 15

Dr. Michael Rossi was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. He obtained his bachelor’s of science degree from the Southeastern Louisiana University before performing research with the Tulane National Primate Research Center in Covington, Louisiana. This further increased his interest in animal welfare and scientific research. He then went on to complete his Master’s degree and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. After veterinary school, he finished a one-year rotating internship at the Regional Veterinary Referral Center in the Washington, D.C. area. Thereafter, he completed a specialized veterinary dermatology internship at the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine (NCSU-CVM) in Raleigh, NC. Upon completion of this internship, he participated in a two-year veterinary dermatology residency with NCSU-CVM and clinical work with the Veterinary Referral Center of Colorado (VRCC) in Englewood, CO. He remained on staff at VRCC following his residency before moving back to the Gulf Coast region to head the beginning of Coastal Veterinary Dermatology. Dr. Rossi has been board certified by the American College of Veterinary Dermatology (ACVD) and is one of approximately 250 board certified veterinary dermatologists in North America.

Dr. Rossi is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association. He has expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of all skin, coat, ear and nail diseases in animals, including bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitic infections, allergies, immune-mediated skin diseases, endocrine (hormonal) disorders, inherited skin diseases, and certain skin cancers, to name a few. He has a special interest in allergic skin diseases, fungal diseases, ectoparasites, dermatopathology, and autoimmune diseases. In addition to small animals, Dr. Rossi also enjoys working with horses and zoo animals.

Dr. Rossi currently is “dad” to four chihuahuas named Keona, Kilee, Yoshi, and Piccola and a Caviler King Charles Spaniel named Martin. He is an avid traveler and has been to Europe on several occasions. Dr. Rossi is fluent in the Italian language. His other interests include the culinary arts, fine arts, camping, fishing, and military history.

Shih Julia 

Dr. Julia Shih

SPONSORED BY  cvca logo web

Track: Small Animal Cardiology | Speaking on Sunday, August 18

Dr. Shih received her Bachelor of Science in Biopsychology from Tufts University in 2006 and went on to graduate from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 2010. She then completed a small animal rotating medical and surgical internship at Oradell Animal Hospital. After practicing emergency medicine for one year, she returned to Oradell Animal Hospital to pursue a residency in cardiology, and she achieved Diplomate status with the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Cardiology) in July 2015. She spent two years as a veterinary cardiologist in Philadelphia before moving to Maryland to join CVCA.

Julia’s interests include the pathophysiology and medical management of acute and chronic congestive heart failure, management of thromboembolic complications, identification and management of congenital heart disease, and management of pulmonary arterial hypertension. She strongly believes in the importance of educating her clients so that together, they can devise the best treatment plan for their pet and their family.

Dr. Shih lives with her husband, their dachshund mix (“Wiley,” a.k.a “Longbody”) and their cat/pseudo-dog (“Miles”). She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, loves trying new restaurants and enjoys traveling. She is an avid Red Sox fan and looks forward to rooting for the Sox when they face the Orioles at Camden Field.


Syring Rebecca 

Dr. Rebecca Syring

Track: Small Animal Medicine | Speaking on Friday, August 16

Rebecca Syring, DVM, DACCECC (Diplomate of the American College Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care) graduated Michigan State University (1996) and completed a one-year rotating internship (1997) and one-year emergency fellowship (1998) at the University of Pennsylvania. She then completed a three-year residency in emergency and critical at the University of Pennsylvania (2001) and passed the ACVECC credentialing exam for board-certification in emergency and critical care (2001). Dr. Syring has been employed as an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania (2001-2011) and is currently a critical care specialist at VSEC (2011-present). She currently serves as a medical director at VSEC while continuing to see patients through the emergency service and ICU. She has published multiple scientific papers, book chapters and lectured both locally, nationally and internationally on topics pertinent to emergency and critical care practice.


Waxman Courtney 

Ms. Courtney Waxman

Track: Veterinary Emergency & Critical Care | Speaking on Friday, August 16

Courtney Waxman, CVT, RVT, VTS (ECC) is originally from Arizona and found her passion for emergency and critical care medicine after completing an internship during her technician schooling. She has spent over 12 years working in private emergency/specialty practice, and her areas of special interest include CPR, mechanical ventilation, one-on-one case management, critical care nursing, critical thinking, and technician training. Courtney currently works as an Instructional Technologist for Purdue University’s Veterinary Nursing Distance-Learning Program and in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital’s emergency and ICU departments.

In addition to Purdue, she is the NAVTA District-6-Representative, the President-Elect for the Indiana Veterinary Technician Association, on the Veterinary Nurse Initiative advisory-team, a speaker on ECC topics at the national/international level and has been published in several veterinary technician/nursing journals.

Off duty, she enjoys world travel with her husband, reading, yoga, and spoiling her two dogs, Biggs and Ollie.

Nicole Weinstein 

Dr. Nicole Weinstein

Track: Small Animal Pathology | Speaking on Saturday, August 17

Service Head, Clinical Pathology, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine

Associate Professor, Clinical Pathology, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine

Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Pathologists (Clinical Pathology)




Download the 2019 KVC Conference App!

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The first step is to download the "Yapp" app on your phone and create an account. After you created an account, click the button below and enter your phone number. It will send your phone a notification to open the KVC app.



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Get up to 28 hours of approved CE credit at 1 conference. 


Hershey Lodge

Hotel Accommodations

To make reservations at the Hershey Lodge: Call 855.729.3108 and ask for the room block for the PA VETERINARY MEDICAL KEYSTONE CONFERENCE


2019 Keystone Veterinary Conference Sponsors

Sponsorship Level: The Lightning Racer

2019 antech diagnostics 2019 boehringer ingelheim 2019 ceva
2019 community vet partners 2019 idexx 2019 pvma assure

Sponsorship Level: Great Bear

2019 cvca 2019 petsmart charities 2019 zoetis

Sponsorship Level: Wildcat

2019 tsys

Sponsorship Level: Sooperdooperlooper

2019 Petcure Oncology

Sponsorship Level: Fahrenheit

2019 kindredbio
2019 mandt bank

Sponsorship Level: Carousel

Allied Veterinary Cremation

Sponsorship Level: Storm Runner

Centric Bank


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About the Keystone Veterinary Conference

Keystone Veterinary Conference (KVC) is a regional veterinary conference that offers high-quality continuing educational topics with nationally recognized speakers in a state-of-the-art setting. Keystone Veterinary Conference will host the following tracks: companion animal, production animal, equine, veterinary technology, practice management, integrative medicine, wet labs, exotics and more!.

Save the Dates For Future KVC Conferences:


August 13-16, 2020
Hershey Lodge – Hershey, PA


August 12-15, 2021
Hershey Lodge – Hershey, PA


August 11-14, 2022
Hershey Lodge – Hershey, PA