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[HILLSBOROUGH, NJ – November 5, 2019] To mark 20 years of publishing the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) presented a special anniversary award to Sally Lester, DVM, MVS, DACVP, for her exceptional contributions to the Journal in advancement of veterinary healthcare for cats around the world during the last two decades. The award was presented to Dr. Lester on November 1, 2019 during the AAFP 5th World Feline Veterinary Conference in San Francisco, CA.

The JFMS 20thAnniversary Award commemorates Dr. Lester’s many years of service as an editorial board member for the JFMS.Since the early years of the JFMS, Dr. Lester has been a prodigious reviewer andhas reviewed more articles than any other reviewer since the AAFP began tracking the articles in 2012 (the year JFMS moved to its current publisher, SAGE).Between August 2006 and December of 2012, when this category was discontinued, she was distinguished as one of five Associate Editors. Since the end of 2011, she has reviewed 63 originally submitted articlesin addition to all of their numerous subsequent revisions.

“Dr. Lester’s generosity with her time and expertise has made a tremendous difference to the practice of feline medicine, and we could not be more thrilled to recognize her contribution during the special AAFP conference,” said Heather O’Steen, CEO of the AAFP. “We extend our gratitude for all she has done to improve the lives of cats and the people who love and care for them.”

Dr. Lester has always been a trail blazer with a passion for cats, particularly Abyssinians. She graduated from Washington State University in 1967 and went back to school to obtain her Masters in Veterinary Science from the University of Saskatchewan Western College of Veterinary Medicine in 19­­­79. She opened Central Laboratory for Veterinarians in Langley, BC, Canada in 1982, which under her guidance, grew into an extremely successful, veterinarian owned lab providing services to all of British Columbia and Alberta. While in her care, the lab was ISO 17025 certified, the first full-service veterinary diagnostic facility to achieve the highest level of laboratory accreditation in North America. She was certified by the American College of Veterinary Pathologists (ACVP) as a clinical pathologist in 1980 and as an anatomic pathologist in 1988, one of the few dual certified veterinary pathologists in the world (fewer than 30 in 1988 and currently 53 worldwide). 

In addition to her extensive reviewing contributions, Dr. Lester educates practitioners on the pitfalls of sample collection and handling and laboratory equipment, and what should be taken into consideration when interpreting laboratory results that may impact management and outcome for patients. She has developed diagnostic tests to help veterinarians care for their patients. Dr. Lester has contributed as a consultant on Veterinary Information Network (VIN) for many years and reviews for several journals.

“As an analytical thinker who is extremely well read, her reviews are very helpful as they offer insight into basic science. Additionally, as a pathologist who interacts directly with practitioners, she has an extraordinary grasp of practical, clinically relevant needs. She represents everything the AAFP stands for by improving the health and welfare of cats through high standards of practice, continuing education, and evidence-based medicine and, because she has served the JFMS consistently since its inception, we are honored to present her with the 20thAnniversary JFMS award,” said Margie Scherk, DMV, DABVP (feline practice), co-editor of the JFMS for the AAFP.

Dr. Lester also cares about the health and welfare of all animals and creatures in need. She volunteers at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary every year and is involved in the TNR program on Kauaii.

The 2019 AAFP Conference and 5thWorld Feline Veterinary Conference took place October 31 to November 3, 2019, in San Francisco, CA where over 1,700 attendees were expected. The special conference was a first-of-its-kind conference on Complex Disease Management, which concentrated on exploring feline comorbidities. The interaction and processes between two or more distinct diseases can be challenging and yet, practices experience this occurrence almost daily. Veterinary professionals acquired knowledge about complex disease management and what to do if treatments appear to conflict.

 

 

Top: Rachel Serafin, The Florida Aquarium coral biologist, presents the Aquarium's coral reproduction success at the World Aquaculture Society Conference. Left: Staghorn coral from the August 2017 spawning. Right: Elkhorn coral from the August 2017 spawning. Credit all: The Florida Aquarium.
 
Rachel Serafin, a coral biologist at The Florida Aquarium, was a featured speaker at the World Aquaculture Society Conference held in Las Vegas from Feb. 19-22, 2018. The World Aquaculture Society is an organization recognized for its professional credibility in aquaculture science, technology and education.
 
Serafin spoke about The Florida Aquarium’s unprecedented success in coral reproduction. This year has been the Aquarium’s most successful year to date in coral reproduction. The Aquarium currently has 120 coral juveniles that have survived and flourished from last August’s spawning event (when corals release eggs and sperm in the water at the same time to reproduce).
 
“Speaking at this conference, on a global stage, is a necessary step forward for coral restoration. Corals are not your typical cute, cuddly animal. They are often forgotten, but they are vital to the health of our oceans. Speaking at such a prestigious conference allows us to bring attention to this critical issue before it is too late and all our reefs are beyond repair,” said Serafin.
 
Corals are the building blocks of marine habitats and oxygen-giving marine organisms, and though they cover only about one percent of the ocean floor, they have a huge effect on the health of the rest of the ocean and the planet. That is why The Florida Aquarium is working hard to protect and restore our oceans and raise awareness about the many threats coral reefs face today, such as increasing water temperature, pollution and overfishing.
 
“Aquaculture is the rearing of aquatic animals such red drum or snook, and coral is no different,” said Serafin. “While some rear fish to replenish wild populations, we rear corals to help replenish those wild populations that are in dire need of our help.”
 
There are different types of coral aquaculture practices that The Florida Aquarium uses to aid in coral restoration, but genetic creation through sexual reproduction was the focus of Serafin’s presentation.
 
The Florida Aquarium is a leading partner during the annual staghorn coral spawn in the Florida Keys. The annual coral spawn gives corals their only chance to sexually reproduce on their own and build future coral reefs, and this process is vital for scientists to witness for coral research and conservation.
 
Every year, The Florida Aquarium and other partners dive 30 feet below the ocean’s surface in Tavernier Key, expertly collecting the spawn from the Coral Restoration Foundation’s coral nursery, and deliver them to teams aboard research boats. Those teams immediately begin the fertilization process using the bundles of eggs and sperm (gametes) and rush them to on-shore labs to maximize the development of embryos and ultimately free-swimming larvae. Some of the larvae were released to the wild, while others were brought back to grow at The Florida Aquarium’s Center for Conservation in Apollo Beach, FL and at other partner institutions.
 
“This year compared to previous years, we have seen an incredible increase in our success rates. We now have 120 coral juveniles in our land-based coral nursery, and they are all doing spectacularly,” said Serafin. “Our goal with these juveniles is to create genetic diversity among Florida coral reefs and their ability to survive changing conditions. We are giving these corals their best chance to survive and flourish.”