Dr. Kris Otteman (Class of 1986) is the director of Shelter Medicine and Humane Investigations at the Oregon Humane Society.
Last week Dr. Kris Otteman, director of Shelter Medicine and Humane Investigations at the Oregon Humane Society (OHS), was one of six OSU graduates to receive this year’s Alumni Fellow Award from the OSU Alumni Association.
Dr. Otteman (Class of 1986) was instrumental in developing a partnership with OSU that provides experiential learning for fourth-year veterinary students at the OHS Animal Medical Learning Center in Portland. She also developed one of the first shelter‐based medicine residency and internship program in the United States.
Dr. Otteman is a big beaver fan; she and her husband, Dr. Jeff Brant (CVM Class of 1985) ‘bleed orange’. “I really love this college,” she says. “It built the foundation for my career and allowed me to do what I always wanted from the time I was a small child.”
After earning their DVMs, Drs. Otteman and Brant opened a mixed-animal practice in Klamath Falls. Then in 1993, Pet Smart offered them (and fellow OSU alums Scott and Sandy Campbell) an opportunity to provide in-store veterinary clinics and they went for it. Those clinics evolved into a chain of full-service hospitals called Vet Smart. “It was really grass roots when it started,” says Otteman. “The four of us got together and started building a team of people. Within the first year, we opened 36 hospitals in Oregon, Washington, California and Illinois.”
Otteman’s primary role at Vet Smart was recruiting and training. She also worked on procedures and policies for the operation. “We were really focused on high quality,” she says, “We wanted to get it right, both for the pets and the profession. ” Those hospitals eventually evolved into the Banfield Pet Hospitals chain. Otteman says it was a great opportunity to learn about business and gain skills she still uses today.
In 2001, Otteman volunteered for the Cat Adoption Team who ran a shelter in Tigard and were in the process of building a veterinary hospital. “At that time there were no veterinary hospitals inside shelters anywhere in the whole country,” she says. “I got really excited about the idea of providing veterinary care for a large population of animals to get them through the shelter healthy so they could go to new homes quickly.”
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