Dr. Mary Smith Elected as Chairman of the AKC Canine Health Foundation Board of Directors


Sharon M. Albright, DVM, CCRT
Manager of Communications & Veterinary Outreach
AKC Canine Health Foundation
Phone: 919-334-4019
E-mail: sharon.albright@akcchf.org

For Immediate Release

RALEIGH, NC (March 14, 2024) – The AKC Canine Health Foundation (CHF), a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the health of all dogs, announces Dr. Mary Smith’s election as the new Chairman of its Board of Directors. She was unanimously elected at the Foundation’s recent board meeting.

Dr. Mary O. Smith and Kenley

Mary O. Smith, BVM&S, PhD, DACVIM (Neurology) is a veterinary neurologist educated in Scotland, England, and the United States. She served as Chief of the Neurology Service at Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences before practicing at a private specialty hospital in Florida for almost 20 years. Dr. Smith has owned, bred, trained, and handled Flat-Coated Retrievers for decades, titling dogs in conformation, hunting tests, tracking, agility, and obedience. In addition to years of service as a CHF Board member, she most recently served as Vice Chairman and has previously held the role of Chairman and Vice Chairman of its Scientific Review Committee (SRC).

Longtime Board Chairman J. Charles Garvin, MD, FACS has stepped down from his role after eight years of service. Dr. Garvin joined CHF’s Board of Directors in 2007 and served as its chairman from 2016 to 2024. He has also contributed as a member of the Foundation’s SRC for more than 16 years. His leadership has been instrumental in guiding CHF as it launched funding for several research initiatives and two residency programs. Dr. Garvin will remain on CHF’s Board of Directors in addition to his other duties for the Dalmatian Club of America and the newly created AKC Purebred Preservation Bank.

“Dr. Garvin has been a guiding force for years, and we are immensely grateful for his dedication,” says Dr. Stephanie Montgomery, CHF Chief Executive Officer. “As we look to the next chapter, we embrace Dr. Smith’s expertise and vision as we work to build a healthier future for all dogs.”

As Dr. Smith moves into her new role as Board Chairman, Dr. April Paulman will become the new Scientific Review Committee Vice Chair. Her career as a veterinary pathologist and seven years of SRC experience position her well to take a leadership role in evaluating research proposals submitted to the Foundation. Dr. Wayne Jensen, a veterinarian with more than 30 years of experience in the animal health industry, will continue his service to the CHF Board of Directors as its new Vice Chair.

Learn more about CHF’s mission and the dedicated scientists and dog lovers that comprise its staff, Board of Directors, and SRC at www.akcchf.org/about-us.


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About CHF
Since 1995, the AKC Canine Health Foundation has leveraged the power of science to address the health needs of all dogs. With more than $68 million in funding to date, the Foundation provides grants for the highest quality canine health research and shares information on the discoveries that help prevent, treat and cure canine diseases. The Foundation meets and exceeds industry standards for fiscal responsibility, as demonstrated by its highest four-star Charity Navigator rating and Candid Platinum Seal of Transparency. Learn more at www.akcchf.org.

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