Dr. Jessica Bunch recognized for excellence in veterinary rehabilitation

Washington State University veterinarian and assistant professor Dr. Jessica Bunch was recently awarded one of the highest national honors for veterinarians specializing in rehabilitation — the 2023 John J. Sherman III Award for Excellence in Veterinary Rehabilitation.

The award, named in honor of late veterinarian Dr. John J. Sherman, a pioneer in the field of physical rehabilitation and sports medicine in veterinary medicine, is awarded by the American Association of Rehabilitation Veterinarians and is sponsored by Royal Canin. The annual achievement recognizes a veterinarian who’s excelled in and contributed to the advancement of veterinary rehabilitation.

“I look at the past recipients and they’re all very respected,” Bunch said. “It really is an honor to receive this award and be included in that same class of veterinarians who have contributed so much to, not only veterinary rehabilitation, but the field of veterinary medicine.”

Bunch’s expertise is in veterinary acupuncture, laser therapy, underwater treadmill and other physical rehabilitation. She is currently in the latter stages of her board certification in veterinary sports medicine and rehabilitation. Once certified, she hopes to grow WSU’s Integrative Medicine and Rehabilitation service, as well as provide educational opportunities for veterinarians looking to specialize in the area.

“I want to continue to grow the service so I can someday mentor my own interns and residents pursuing their advanced training,” Bunch said. “The other benefit of being board certified is just everything I can learn that I can use to better my patients and improve their outcomes.”

In addition to national recognition, the award includes a $2,500 prize.

Bunch plans to use that money to pay for advanced training with working dogs. She will be enrolling in the Working Dog Practitioner Program through the University of Pennsylvania’s Working Dog Center. The center uses research to optimize the performance of scent detection dogs.

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