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Kim Heath, LVT quiets a patient.

Vet College celebrates veterinary technicians and staff

Tesla Rich, LVT examines a patient, with Savanna Stroman, animal attendant, assisting.

The College of Veterinary Medicine celebrated Licensed Veterinary Technician (LVT) Appreciation Week, Oct. 14-20. The nationwide event was created by the American Veterinary Medical Association to recognize the vital role of LVTs, but the college expanded its recognition to include hospital staff.

“The licensed veterinary technicians and staff at our hospitals are dedicated members of our team,” said Dr. Meg Thompson, director of the Cornell University Hospital for Animals (CUHA).

This expanded recognition acknowledges how both LVTs and staff contribute to patient care, client experience and student training, and support the research mission of the college.

Larry Parlett, team leader for materials management, researches purchases

LVTs specialize in everything from imaging to wildlife. They run MRIs, monitor patients during anesthesia and treat animals of all shapes and sizes.

Tina Hlywa has been an LVT with the Janet L. Swanson Wildlife Health Center for the last 11 years, and first came to Cornell in 2000 to work in the center’s intermediate nursing care unit. “To help an animal and, ultimately, to know that my skills have helped that animal return to a life in the wild is the most amazing feeling,” said Hlywa.

Laura Barlow, LVT in the oncology section, joined CUHA in 1992 as a surgery technician. Before that, she trained at Cornell in ophthalmology, pharmacy and internal medicine. Barlow has worked in the sections of internal medicine and oncology and has assisted with the blood donor program for many years in addition to shifts in the intensive care unit. “You can say I’ve been around the block,” said Barlow.

Pam Moore, medical records manager, looks up a medical history

Staff members at CUHA have equally diverse and demanding roles. Handling everything from hospital operations and billing to managing supplies and the intake of hundreds of patients a week, hospital staff keep everything running smoothly.

“Every day is different,” said Marcy Benda, assistant to the hospital director. Benda began her career at Cornell as a temp in 1999, answering calls and admitting clients for six months. “The hospital has changed considerably,” she said. “There is never a dull moment.”

This summer has been an especially busy one for everyone at CUHA. Not only did the college open Cornell’s new Small Animal Community Practice, but it is rolling out new cloud-based commercial practice management software, ezyVet. This software will replace UVIS, an older records system used by the hospital since 2007.

Kim Snyder, animal attendant, holds a patient while Laura Barlow, LVT preps with clippers.

“Spearheading the transition between UVIS and ezyVet has been challenging but rewarding,” said Daniela Mancuso, clinical and business workflow project manager. Mancuso led the ezyVet project team toward its Oct. 23 launch. “Our team has been able to come together and move complicated data, understand new workflow needs and train the CUHA community,” she said.

Extending appreciation week across LVTs and staff members underscores their key roles at the hospital and the college as a whole, said Benda. “All of us working well together keeps Cornell a great place to take your pets and a great place to work,” she said.

Melanie Greaver Cordova is a staff writer with the College of Veterinary Medicine.

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Lindsey Hadlock