Award Winners

Clare B. Reagan Graduate Award

Melissa Roberts, DVM
Kennesaw Mountain Animal Hospital

Dr. Roberts was selected as one of ten veterinarians in the state by the Georgia Veterinary Medical Association to serve on the inaugural “Power of Ten” Leadership program designed to help recent graduates develop foundational skills in leadership, communication, and business. Since serving as a member in 2015, she has continued to provide guidance and mentorship to the subsequent classes. Dr. Roberts received her DVM from Mississippi State while at the same time completing a Master’s in Veterinary Science with an emphasis on Beef Cattle and Toxicology. She currently practices small animal medicine and lives in Kennesaw with her husband and two daughters.

Extra Mile Award

Headen Embry
Miller Veterinary Southeast

Headen Embry was awarded for his years of service to the veterinary profession in Georgia and especially for his coordination of the ECVC golf tournament through the years. He has spent the past 15 years in veterinary distribution as a territory manager. Headen began his career with Patterson Veterinary and recently left to start the southeastern version of Miller Veterinary Supply. His territory has included Atlanta, North Georgia, and Chattanooga Tennessee. Headen is a graduate of the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia. He’s been married to his wonderful wife, Emily, for 18 years and they have three children.

President’s Recognition Award

Vince Obsitnik, DVM
Animal Medical Clinic / Peachtree City

This year’s award goes to Dr. Vince Obsitnik for his tireless contributions toward our advocacy efforts and especially for getting the revised Practice Act bill through in 2018. “Dr. Vince” has been chair of the Advocacy Committee for the past five years and has led GVMA’s advocacy efforts, representing GVMA at all levels of Georgia’s government. He became involved with advocacy as an Assistant Director. Dr. Vince earned his veterinary degree from Tufts University in Massachusetts and completed a medicine and surgery internship in New York City. He moved to Peachtree City in 1996 with his wife, “Dr. Suzy” and children. Today the two veterinarians have five kids and are very active in many aspects of Peachtree City life. They have been in practice for over 20 years.

Dobbins-Mahaffey Advocacy Award

Gary Bullard, DVM
Retired / Powder Springs

Anyone who has spent time in veterinary leadership in Georgia is sure to know Dr. Bullard. He has served as President of the following organizations:  Greater Atlanta VMA, GVMA, and the State Board of Examiners, as well as serving as President of the Westside Emergency Clinic.  As for his AMVA activities, Dr. Bullard represented GVMA in the House of Delegates for 16 years, served on the AVMA Legislative Advisory Committee for 6 years, as well as the State Advocacy Committee.  He served on the AVMA House Advisory Committee, serving as its chair in 2009.  He served on the AVMA PAC Board for 8 years and also made visits annually to Washington to represent the AVMA.  Dr. Bullard also helped to establish the GVMA PAC as well. Dr. Bullard retired in 2016.  He is married to Brenda Landers Bullard, who has served as President of both the GVMA and AVMA Auxiliaries.

GVMA Veterinarian of the Year

Laura Smallwood, DVM, DACVIM (SAIM)
Saint Francis Veterinary Specialists / Decatur

Dr. Smallwood’s first leadership position with the GVMA was as District 4 Director in 2012. Since that time she has served in a variety of leadership positions including President in 2016. Dr. Smallwood began her study of mindfulness early in 2016 as part of a collaboration to develop a 6 week mindfulness-based stress resilience program for Saint Francis Veterinary Specialists, where she currently serves as Medical Director. Since that time, exploration of Mindfulness as a methodology for cultivating emotional intelligence, stress resilience and leadership skills has become her passion. She is particularly focused on the development of workplace programs specific to the veterinary profession. Dr. Smallwood has taught mindfulness workshops and classes for the GVMA, ECVC, Alabama VMA, and in veterinary workplaces. She is currently studying to become a Certified Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Teacher through the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness. She is a 200 hour registered yoga teacher (RYT-200) and leads yoga practices for workers at Saint Francis Veterinary Specialists and Emergency where she is the Medical Director. Dr. Smallwood is the current chair of the GVMA Wellness Committee.

Dr. Laura Smallwood’s professional experience includes over 30 years in the practice of veterinary medicine, the majority of that as a small animal internal medicine specialist and practice owner. Dr. Smallwood got her veterinary degree at Kansas State University and did her residency at the University of Georgia. She is a Diplomate in the American College of Internal Medicine-Small Animal and has participated in numerous presentations and workshops as well as publishing several papers.

Mercer Lifetime Achievement Award

Dr. Edsel Davis, DVM
Retired / Macon

After receiving his Associate Degree in Biology from South Georgia College, Dr. Edsel Davis transferred to the University of Georgia and earned his DVM in 1970.  He then returned home to Miller County and founded Southwest Georgia Animal Hospital in 1971 as a mixed animal practice primarily treating cattle and hogs.  After practicing there for seven years, he sold the hospital and moved to Macon where he founded Northside Animal Hospital and also purchased Wesleyan Animal Hospital in 1991.  In 2003, he relocated both hospitals into one facility, Northside-Wesleyan Animal Hospital, which is still going strong today.  He is very proud of being in Macon for over forty-one years. Dr. Davis has been an AVMA and GVMA member since 1966 and served on the GVMA Board of Directors from 1988-2003.  He has been a member of the Presidents Club at the UGA CVM since 1988, as well as a member of Mercer University’s Executive Forum since 1990.  He has served on the State Board of Veterinary Medicine since 2010, including serving as President from 2012-2013. He is married to Shannon and they have 3 children and 5 grandchildren.  He loves golfing, gardening, drawing animals and is a great sports enthusiast (especially UGA).