Recognizing those who have made extraordinary contributions to our community

Every year we Award and recognize several NY veterinarians, from rising leaders to outstanding lifetime contributions.

2022 Award Winners

Join us in celebrating our 2022 award winners

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.

Outstanding Service to Veterinary Medicine

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.

Veterinarian of the Year

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. 

Rising Leader

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.


Award Program FAQs

Learn more about how we recognize those who have made an extraordinary contribution

What are the various awards?

Distinguished Life Service Award

The highest honor to be conferred upon a member of the 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.

Veterinarian of the Year Award 

This award is given to a NYSVMS member who, over the course of many years, served his/her regional, state society, and veterinary profession in an exemplary and distinguished manner and who is judged by his/her peers to be the most deserving of the Veterinarian of the Year award.  The first award was presented in 1961 to Dr. William Hagan. 

Outstanding Service to Veterinary Medicine in New York State Award

Honors an individual who through his/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.  This individual need not have been active in organized veterinary medicine and need not be a veterinarian

Rising Leader Award

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 his/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.

NYSVMS Merit Award

Honors a society member for significant contributions to the regional and state society and the advancement of the veterinary profession.

Dr. Steve Kritsick Memorial Award

The Kritsick award was established in 1994 to remember and recognize the contributions to animal welfare of Dr. Steve Kritsick.  Dr. Kritsick was a well-known and popular animal advocate who appeared on several television programs, including “Good Morning America.”

This award recognizes an individual or organization that effectively promotes responsible pet ownership; educates the public about an issue related to animal welfare; or who positively increases the visibility of veterinary medicine as a science whose contributions have helped create a healthier future for animals and people.

What is the nomination process?

Nominations for awards are provided by each of the 12 regional groups. If you wish to nominate someone from an award, click here for the nomination form 2023. Nominations are due by July 31, 2023. For questions contact Stephanie Quirini at

The final selection is made by the NYSVMS Awards Committee prior to the September Board meeting.

The Award ceremony is held at the NYSVMS Holiday party this year on November 30th in Tarrytown.