One of OCSA’s great supporters, Dr. Natalie Marks, has been nominated for the 2015 American Veterinary Medical Foundation’s “American’s Favorite Veterinarian.” She’s made it to the top 20 finalists and we couldn’t be more proud. To show our support, we sat down with her to discuss the Veterinary Outreach Program, One Health Initiative and a few things she is currently involved with. Dr. Marks is great friends with fellow OCSA supporters Dr. Sheldon Rubin and Steve Dale, local pet advocate, broadcaster and journalist. She’s deeply involved with the community and fully devoted to her patients.
OCSA: Congratulations on being selected as one of the 20 finalists for the 2015 American Veterinary Medical Foundation’s “America’s Favorite Veterinarian” contest. Can you tell us a about your involvement with that organization?
Dr. Natalie Marks: The AVMF is the charitable arm of the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association). It works to empower and engage the public and the veterinary community to advance the well-being and medical care of animals. Through this organization, clients were able to nominate a veterinarian who exemplifies the above characteristics. I try to support this incredible group of people both through monetary contributions and volunteering time at different functions. This contest allows the public to support the veterinary profession through honoring their veterinarian with a vote and hopefully support of the foundation.
OCSA: You have also been very active in the Chicago Veterinary Medical Association, what is their mission?
NM: The CVMA’s mission is to provide its members opportunities for professional enrichment, communication, quality continuing education and dissemination of information to the public promoting the health and well-being of animals. I have served previously in many capacities on this board from organizing/volunteering at Animal Expos and dog shows to speaking at public school events to legislative work and lobbying at the state level to large amounts of media relations/public speaking. Organized veterinary medicine is incredibly important not only to the members and active veterinarians, but also to educate and provide resources for the public.
OCSA: You are a firm believer in the One Health Initiative and joined OCSA’s Veterinary Outreach Program in June of 2013. How has “Fighting Ovarian Cancer with Animal Passion” impacted your relationship with your clients?
NM: Most clients are not aware that we are public health officials and are responsible for the health of animals AND humans to a certain extent. I like to say we truly are the “family” doctor now. Additionally, most veterinarians have a wonderful talent of bonding with owners and exploring the human-animal bond. This combination of public health knowledge and family relationship building creates a unique level of trust and allows us the opportunity to help keep all creatures in the household healthy and happy. The Veterinary Outreach Program is a very forward thinking implementation of the One Health Initiative and I am very proud to be part of it.
OCSA: From your perspective, do you think there are any similarities between human and animal chemotherapy protocols?
NM: While I am not a human oncologist, I can only assume the struggles are similar. There is the initial shock of diagnosis, the battles of supporting the body while trying to starve or kill the cancer and then the recovery process in between treatments. One of the most rewarding parts of veterinary medicine to me is watching a brave cat or dog survive and thrive through chemotherapy, often with grace, and change an owner’s viewpoint of cancer therapy for the positive.
OCSA: Can you tell us a little more about the Yorkshire terrier named Fred and the human animal bond?
NM: Fred is a Yorkie who helped his owner, a doctor at Lurie Children’s Hospital, overcome a life-changing diagnosis of HIV. Not only has Fred been the rock and strength for his dad, he is the name sake of a phenomenal program helping teens and others cope with a diagnosis of HIV and use the beauty of the human-animal bond to move forward through therapy and life.
Vote for Dr. Natalie Marks as “America’s Favorite Veterinarian” today! We’d love your support as well.