Pulse - April 2021 - 5

JIM BELL

SCVMA PROFILE

Cortese-Lippincott Award
Goes to Dr. Michael J. Smith

A

doctor, who hailed from rural America
and described himself as " a certified hillbilly, " is the 2021 recipient of the Animal
Health Foundation's prestigious Cortese-Lippincott Award.
Dr. Michael J. Smith worked in Southern California
more than three decades, though he arrived expecting to
be here only a couple of years before returning to Arkansas where he grew up.
He expressed his gratitude to the foundation " for this
great honor. " Veterinary medicine, he said " has always
been a vocation which I cherished, always a vocation,
not a job. "
The Cortese-Lippincott Award is presented annually
to someone who has gone " above and beyond " to make
the world a better place for humans and animals, someone who excels in community service and education in
the veterinary community and someone who supports
the human-animal bond.
Dr. Smith developed a love for the mountains while
living in the West and left Southern California in 2012
for Westcliffe, Colo., and his home, Crooked Spruce
Ranch, at the base of the Sangre de Cristo mountain
range in the southern part of the state. " It's truly paradise
on earth, " he said.
" When I moved to Colorado, the single practitioner
who had the small animal practice in Westcliffe was referring all her orthopedics and more difficult surgeries to
Colorado Springs, which is 75 miles away, " he said. For
six years, Dr. Smith lent his skills to the practice, doing
surgeries part time.
He also flew back regularly to Southern California
to do surgeries at his old practice he said. " The first few
years, it was every six weeks. The practice would schedule a week's worth of surgeries. But it started spreading
out a little further to three or four times a year. Last year,
with everything that was going on, I only went twice. "
Winning the Cortese-Lippincott Award was " extra
special because I knew Joe [Cortese] real well and
Larry Lippincott, too. Both of them I considered
friends and Larry more of a mentor. One surgery that
I specialized in is called Caudal Equina Syndrome.
I once referred a police canine to Larry and then
assisted him in the lumbosacral decompression surgery
[that repairs the condition].
" A few years later, I met Larry at one of the SCVMA
meetings and I thanked him for teaching me that surgery because at that point I had done 300 to 400 of
them. He was totally surprised because that was more
than he had done. " A primary reason Dr. Lippincott did
fewer surgeries for Caudal Equina is that the condition is

PULSE

APRIL 2021

not aggressively diagnosed by general practitioners and
referred for surgery, Dr. Smith said.  
He and Dr. Cortese served together on the SCVMA
Board of Trustees. " Joe was president in 1991, the year
before I was, " Dr. Smith said. " He changed his installation banquet from a formal dress affair to a themed banquet. Because of his rural west background the theme
was western attire.
" Not to be outdone, and having gone to Louisiana
State, my installation theme the next year was Mardi
Gras, costumes optional. It was the only time I have
worn green tights in public. (I was Robin Hood.) "
Young Mike Smith " grew up on a 400-acre farm near
the small town of Sidney, Ark. His father raised beef cattle and planted 12 to 15 acres of watermelons every year.
Mike earned a bachelor's degree in agriculture and
did graduate work at the University of Arkansas before
being admitted to LSU's School of Veterinary Medicine. After earning his DVM degree in 1980, he took a
job in Hermosa Beach.
" I never thought I would ever live in a city, yet I
ended up living in one of the largest metropolitan areas
in the U.S. The advantage this provided was being able to
practice the highest quality veterinary medicine.  In the
South Bay we had group radiology rounds each week.
We would meet at Coast Pet Clinic with three or four
other clinics and Bill Zontine, a board-certified radiologist. We shared our challenging or interesting cases.  I
learned more radiology in the first few years in these rad
rounds than I did in school. " continued g

5



Pulse - April 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pulse - April 2021

Pulse - April 2021
Chapter Meetings & Calendar
President’s Perspective
SCVMA Profile
Pulsepoints
Practical Pathology
Optimizing Veterinary Practice Staff Increases Efficiency and Retains Clients
Medical Leeway
UC Davis Update
Tools for Success
Angel Fund
Dear Tabby
The RVT
Industry Insights
Quick Reference
Digital Photography for Veterinarians
AVMA Diplomates
Resources
Disease Table
From the SCVMA Office
Pulse - April 2021 - Pulse - April 2021
Pulse - April 2021 - Cover2
Pulse - April 2021 - 1
Pulse - April 2021 - 2
Pulse - April 2021 - Chapter Meetings & Calendar
Pulse - April 2021 - President’s Perspective
Pulse - April 2021 - SCVMA Profile
Pulse - April 2021 - 6
Pulse - April 2021 - Pulsepoints
Pulse - April 2021 - 8
Pulse - April 2021 - 9
Pulse - April 2021 - 10
Pulse - April 2021 - Practical Pathology
Pulse - April 2021 - Optimizing Veterinary Practice Staff Increases Efficiency and Retains Clients
Pulse - April 2021 - 13
Pulse - April 2021 - 14
Pulse - April 2021 - 15
Pulse - April 2021 - Medical Leeway
Pulse - April 2021 - 17
Pulse - April 2021 - UC Davis Update
Pulse - April 2021 - Tools for Success
Pulse - April 2021 - Angel Fund
Pulse - April 2021 - Dear Tabby
Pulse - April 2021 - The RVT
Pulse - April 2021 - Industry Insights
Pulse - April 2021 - Quick Reference
Pulse - April 2021 - Digital Photography for Veterinarians
Pulse - April 2021 - 26
Pulse - April 2021 - 27
Pulse - April 2021 - 28
Pulse - April 2021 - AVMA Diplomates
Pulse - April 2021 - Resources
Pulse - April 2021 - Disease Table
Pulse - April 2021 - 32
Pulse - April 2021 - 33
Pulse - April 2021 - 34
Pulse - April 2021 - 35
Pulse - April 2021 - 36
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Pulse - April 2021 - From the SCVMA Office
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Pulse - April 2021 - Cover4
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