OVMA Recognizes the Contribution of Women to Veterinary Medicine

March is Women’s History Month – a time to highlight the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society.

In honor of this celebration, we want to share inspiring facts about (a few the many) notable women in Oregon’s veterinary profession:

Dr. Linda Blythe

Dr. Helen “Betsy” Rider (Kalkwarf): In 1949, upon graduating from the veterinary program at Washington State University, Dr. Kalkwarf became the first known licensed female veterinarian in Oregon. She was an active committee member with the OVMA and also served as an officer with the national Women’s Veterinary Medical Association.


Dr. Linda Blythe: The Oregon Legislature approved the College of Veterinary Medicine at Oregon State University in 1975, and four years later the first class entered Magruder Hall. Dr. Blythe was a founding faculty member, where she served for 37 years and was a leading neurologist in equine medicine. She was OVMA President in 2007.

Nan Dewey: Although she wasn’t a veterinarian, Nan served an important and distinguished role as the Association’s first legislative advocate until the late 1980s. This included helping to get the veterinary program at Oregon State approved by the legislature. Other stalwart women lobbyists for the OVMA have included Marcia Keith, Lara Smith and Betsy Jones.


Dr. Susan Loomis: Active on several OVMA committees throughout her career, Dr. Loomis was elected the Association’s first female president in 1992. She also served as a member of the Oregon Veterinary Medical Examining Board for eight years – the first woman veterinarian to break that glass ceiling.

Dr. Susan Loomis

Dr. Merry Crimi: As the owner of Gladstone Veterinary Clinic in Milwaukie, Dr. Crimi participated on the OVMA’s Animal Welfare Committee and Issues Advisory Task Force. In 1996, she stepped onto the national stage when she was inaugurated as president of the American Animal Hospital Association.

Dr. Marty DeWees: Dedicated to organized veterinary medicine, Dr. DeWees served as the OVMA’s initial female Delegate to the American Veterinary Medical Association. But her service to the profession has extended far beyond this role by serving on the Continuing Education Committee, as Oregon’s representative to the Wild West Veterinary Conference, and with eight years with the Oregon Veterinary Medical Examining Board.

Dr. Lisa Metcalf: A Sherwood practitioner who specializes in equine theriogenology, Dr. Metcalf is the current treasurer of the American Association of Equine Practitioners. She previously has served as the organization’s Northwest region director, as well as serving as president of the Northwest Equine Practitioners Association.

Dr. Kris Otteman

Dr. Susan Tornquist: A member of Oregon State’s veterinary faculty since 1996, Dr. Tornquist has served as a Professor of Clinical Pathology as well as Associate Dean of Student and Academic Affairs. After 17 months as Interim Dean, she was appointed to the position of Dean in 2015.


Dr. Kris Otteman: As Vice President of Shelter Medicine and Operations with the Oregon Humane Society, Dr. Otteman brings more than 30 years of experience and leadership to this role. She leads the OHS Animal Medical Learning Center, is a charter member of the International Veterinary Forensic Sciences Association, and has served on the OVMA board as a regional representative.

Updated: 2018-03-29 07:00:00

Author: Oregon Veterinary Medical Association