The following are the 2022 NYSVMS award recipients:

  • Rising Leader award: Roxanne Suarez, WRVMA
  • Outstanding Service to Veterinary Medicine award: Elizabeth Berliner, Southern Tier
  • Veterinarian of the Year award: Katherine Quesenberry, VMA-NYC
  • Distinguished Life Service award: Roger Ellis, Capital District.

The Award ceremony is during our Holiday party on December 1st at the Albany Marriott.


Distinguished Life Service Award

Roger G. Ellis, DVM

Roger Ellis, DVM lives in Granville, N.Y., with his wife of 50 years, Claudia. They have 2 adult children, Lisa and Tim. Dr. Ellis received his DVM in 1977 from Cornell University CVM and practiced veterinary medicine in Vermont, Michigan and New York. He spent 3 years obtaining a Master’s degree and teaching at Michigan State University. He retired in 2022 as a Field Veterinarian for the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets in the Division of Animal Industry, and he is also a Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostician. Dr. Ellis is past president of the Alumni Committee of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University, and the Board of Directors of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Washington County.

Starting in 1986, he traveled extensively as a volunteer for Heifer International, Farmer-to-Farmer, ACDI/VOCA, and other assignments in order to participate, observe and evaluate projects in Africa, Asia, Central America, India, Russia, China, the Middle East and the United States.

He served as an ACDI/VOCA volunteer in partnership with Veterinarians Without Borders U.S. and the United States Navy. Dr. Ellis has traveled to many country including Honduras, Lebanon, Liberia and Russia to conduct disease assessments and work with farmers, animal health care professionals and communities teaching about animal health issues. Better livestock care means farmers and communities benefit from better production to improve their nutrition with less animals and decreasing their contribution to climate change. This in turn improves the well-being of the animals and communities boosting incomes and increasing the amounts and quality of food for families. Dr. Ellis helped train livestock officers from the Liberian Ministry of Agriculture in disease detection and prevention using a booklet designed to guide investigators to the correct diagnosis of common animal diseases, their symptoms, prevention and treatment to be used by the Ministry of Agriculture Livestock Program. Dr. Ellis served on the Heifer International and Veterinarians without Borders US Board of Directors as well as being a life-long member of Lions Club International. He has been a member of organized veterinary medicine (he would call it veterinarians working and playing together) for 50 years including SCVMA, AVMA, AABP, VVMA, NYSVMS, and the Capital District VMS. Being part of the veterinary profession has been the best experience of his life!

The Distinguished Life Service Award is the highest honor to be conferred upon a member of NYSVMS. The award honors an individual of the highest caliber in the profession; one who has been a good and faithful NYSVMS member for a period of 35 years and has actively and fully partaken in society activities.

Outstanding Service to Veterinary Medicine Award

Elizabeth A. Berliner, DVM, DABVP

Elizabeth Berliner, DVM, DABVP is currently the Senior Director for Shelter Medicine Services at ASPCA. She previously served as an Associate Clinical Professor and Director of Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Program at Cornell University and serves on the Board of Directors for the Association of Shelter Veterinarians and the credentials committee for the Shelter Medicine Practice board specialty. For over a decade she also served as a field service veterinarian, surgeon and trip leader for HSVMA, Rural Area Veterinary Services, and recently was surgical team lead for the Cornell Spayathon for the Puerto Rico team.

She has a Bachelor of Arts of English Literature from Union College; Master of Arts of English Literature from Binghamton University; completed pre-veterinary coursework at University of Maryland at College Park and earned a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. She is a Diplomate, American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (Canine and Feline Practice) and Diplomate, American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (Shelter Medicine Practice).

She is currently a member of the NYSVMS Board representing Southern Tier. She is a member of the NYSVMS Animal Welfare committee and she previously was a member of CLA and a graduate of the Power of Ten program. Her interests include diagnosis, management, and prevention of infectious diseases; animal welfare, veterinary ethics, and decision-making; and innovative outreach programs promoting accessible veterinary care and humane behaviors.


The Outstanding Service to Veterinary Medicine Award which honors an individual who through her efforts in education, research, practice, or some veterinary-related occupation significantly contributed to the advancement and improvement of veterinary medicine in New York State.

Veterinarian of the Year Award

Katherine E. Quesenberry, DVM, MPH, DABVP (Avian)

Katherine E. Quesenberry, DVM, MPH, DABVP (Avian) is Chief Medical Officer of the Schwarzman Animal Medical Center (AMC). Dr Quesenberry has practiced avian and exotic pet medicine exclusively for over 35 years as Service Head of the AMC Exotic Pet Service and is recognized both nationally and internationally as a leader in this field of veterinary medicine.

She is a Diplomate, Avian Practice, of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners. She is the winner of the 2017 Mammal Health Award presented by the Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians and Oxbow Animal Health. She received a BS from Virginia Polytechnic Institute, a DVM from University of Georgia, and an MPH from Yale School of Public Health. She completed an internship in small animal medicine at the AMC and a residency in wildlife and zoological medicine at the University of Florida. Dr. Quesenberry has trained more than 25 residents and specialty interns in avian and exotic pet medicine, many of whom are now board certified and leaders in the field throughout the country.

Dr. Quesenberry has co-edited several books, including Ferrets, Rabbits and Rodents: Clinical Medicine and Surgery, which is a best-selling veterinary textbook now in its 4th edition, and Avian Medicine and Surgery, and she has authored many papers in peer-reviewed veterinary journals. Dr. Quesenberry is a board member and currently serves as President-Elect of the Veterinary Medical Association of New York City. Dr. Quesenberry served as the Scientific Editor for the Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery, from 1995-2019. She has lectured extensively throughout the North America and Europe about veterinary care of birds, small mammals and other exotic pets.


The Veterinarian of the Year Award is given to a NYSVMS member who, over the course of many years, served the regional, state society, and veterinary profession in an exemplary and distinguished manner and who is judged by her peers to be the most deserving of the award.

Rising Leader Award

Roxanne J. Suarez, DVM

Roxanne J. Suarez, DVM is currently the Area Chief of Staff (ACOS) at Banfield Pet Hospital. She has a BS in Biology from Hartwick College and DVM from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine and did a clinical rotation year at Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine. She is a member of NYSVMS Committee of Leadership Advancement (CLA), Chair of the NYSVMS Wellbeing committee, a member of the Diversity Inclusion & Equity committee and is a graduate of the Power of Ten program. She has 13 years of experience in the small animal internal medicine and surgery where she started as a veterinary associate at Banfield Pet Hospital and then became a Chief of Staff. She have coached numerous new graduates as well as senior veterinarians in small animal internal medicine, community practice, soft tissue surgeries, client communication and conflict management. She has traveled amongst sister hospitals that have opportunities with their quality of medicine and financials to help develop a culture of quality within their teams. Her starting hospital was a two doctor practice and it is now a highly performing 4 doctor practice. She is now in a practice that was originally a two doctor practice and is now a 5 doctor practice. She is also a volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club in the NYC area and talks about careers in veterinary medicine as well as the liaison between Banfield Pet Hospital and Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine. She is currently developing a partnership with BBC (Bronx Community College) future Veterinary Technician program.

The Rising Leader Award recognizes a current NYSVMS member who has graduated from veterinary school within the last 15 years. This outstanding member has made significant professional accomplishments early in her career including public service and volunteer activities that serve to positively reflect upon the veterinary profession, as well as an active role on the regional and/or state level of NYSVMS.