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ISU College of Veterinary Medicine Honors 2010 Stange Award Recipients

October 27, 2010

 Ms. Tracy Ann Raef, Veterinary Communications, (515) 294-4602

Three Iowa State University veterinarians are the recipients of the 2010 Stange Award for Meritorious Service in Veterinary Medicine. The award is presented annually and recognizes distinguished alumni for outstanding professional achievements. It is the highest honor given to alumni of Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. The award was presented during special ceremonies held by the university and the college on Oct. 29.

Dr. Gary Gackstetter
Dr. Gackstetter is a principal scientist and fellow for Analytic Services (ANSER), Inc., a non-profit, public service institute that provides analyses to decision-makers in the U.S. national security and public safety communities. Dr. Gackstetter is a bioterror and agroterror defense expert. He specializes in biosurveillance and readiness, as well as chemical and biological defense research administration.

As an ANSER contractor, Dr. Gackstetter supports the basic sciences division of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and is responsible for managing an extensive basic sciences portfolio of more than 200 projects, funded at approximately $80 million. Dr. Gackstetter’s work is across the spectrum of chemical and biological defense—including research and technology to respond to future threats such as engineered viral and bacterial pathogens, new chemical agents, and other emerging threats.

A 26-year military veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Dr. Gackstetter retired at the rank of Colonel. During his career he was a public health officer, teacher, and director of graduate programs, receiving several awards for teaching excellence. He also served as a senior policy analyst in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Health Affairs, at the Pentagon.

In addition to his veterinary degree, Dr. Gackstetter also earned a Ph.D. in epidemiology (1992) from the University of Minnesota and a master of public health degree from Boston University (1985). He continues to conduct an active research program, co-authoring more than 35 scientific papers. His research focuses on acute epidemiologic topics ranging from infectious disease to military deployment health issues. He is currently the National Association of Federal Veterinarians’ member of the National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, responsible for constructing the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination.

Dr. William Liska
Dr. William Liska is the founder and president of Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists, one of the largest and oldest multi-disciplinary veterinary specialty practices in the United States. He is an internationally recognized expert in joint replacement surgery—specifically, total hip replacement in dogs, hip replacement in small dogs and cats, and total knee replacement in dogs. Dr. Liska has published numerous findings relevant to hip replacement and maintains the largest ongoing registry of dogs and cats that have received hip replacements.

Dr. Liska was instrumental in development of the BioMedtrix Canine Total Knee Replacement System. He supervised development of the first commercial multiple-size knee implant, as well as associated surgical instrumentation, surgical technique, and surgeon training. He also performed and reported on the first custom total knee replacement in a dog.

He is a frequent speaker at international and national veterinary meetings and the author of numerous scientific papers. His most notable patients have included: President George H.W. Bush’s dog, Ranger, and the pets of U. S. senators and congressmen who represent the state of Texas.
In addition to maintaining a busy specialty practice, Dr. Liska serves as a member of the veterinary team for the annual Iditarod Sled Dog Race in Alaska.

Dr. Liska is the recipient of several awards, including the 2009 Practitioner Research Award by the American Veterinary Medical Association, the 2009 Veterinary Specialist of the Year, and 1999 Companion Animal Practitioner of the Year by the Texas Veterinary Medical Association.

He is a 1973 graduate of Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. In 1980 he was board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons.

Dr. Mahlon Vorhies
For nearly 40 years, Dr. Mahlon Vorhies has distinguished himself as an international leader in the advancement of diagnostic veterinary medicine. His common sense and pragmatism, as well as his skills as an excellent diagnostician and communicator, have earned him a place as one of the visionary leaders in the veterinary diagnostic community.

During his career, Dr. Vorhies had a significant impact on the diagnostic laboratories at several institutions, most notably Iowa State University, South Dakota State University, and Kansas State University. At each institution he successfully built, supported, and led teams with an incomparable focus on high-quality diagnostic service to the public.

Dr. Vorhies is one of the early officers of the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians, an organization that provides leadership for diagnosticians and diagnostic laboratories across the United States. He was instrumental in developing and implementing laboratory audit requirements and benchmarks. His persistence to set high standards in all aspects of performance, organization, and fiscal responsibility is the model for today’s diagnostic laboratory infrastructure.

Now retired, Dr. Vorhies continues his support of diagnostic veterinary medicine as a consultant to laboratories across the country. He also serves on the advisory board to the Department of Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine Department at Iowa State. In the words of a colleague: “He is one of the few that so well understands the mission of a land-grant university that is practiced daily in veterinary diagnostic medicine.”

Dr. Vorhies earned his D.V.M. from Iowa State University in 1962 and his M.S. in 1967 from Michigan State University.

The Stange Award was established in 1970 and is named for Dr. Charles H. Stange, who was dean of the college from 1906 to 1936.