GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A third-year resident at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine has earned a coveted honor that is awarded annually to only two veterinary residents in North America.
Alex Fox-Alvarez, a third-year small animal surgery resident, was recognized by the American Association of Veterinary Clinicians for his achievements in the clinical, educational and scholarly arenas. The organization of veterinary clinicians engaged in teaching and research at the professional, graduate or postgraduate level presented Fox-Alvarez with its Resident Award in April.
Fox-Alvarez completed his veterinary degree from UF in 2012 after which he completed an internship in small, exotic, and zoo animal medicine at Valley Animal Hospital in Tucson, Arizona. There he realized a passion for surgery and returned to UF for a surgical internship in 2013. Following his surgical internship, he began a combined surgical residency and master’s degree in veterinary medical science, which he completed in 2017. Fox-Alvarez will complete his residency in July.
His thesis research focused on the development of a new technique for continuous gastric decompression in dogs with gastric dilatation and volvulus syndrome, a condition known commonly as bloat. In addition to his graduate work, Fox-Alvarez has published four other first-author papers, and contributed to three other large multi-institutional studies.
Fox-Alvarez has earned several prestigious honors during his time at UF. Last spring, he received the Excellence in Clinical Science Research Graduate Student Award, along with first place in the Phil Zeta Veterinary Honor Society Research Poster competition and second place in the campuswide graduate student research competition.
In 2016, he received first place in the American College of Veterinary Surgeons’ public outreach video competition. That same year, he received second place in the Small Animal Clinical Sciences’ “Best in Show” research competition. He was also elected to serve as chief resident of the UF Veterinary Hospitals by his resident peers.
During his residency, Fox-Alvarez has worked to create additional surgical training opportunities for his fellow residents as well as for UF veterinary medical students. He filmed procedures and created surgical training videos for student teaching labs, resident training and online publication. He regularly assisted at student surgery club events and held a laboratory using a teaching aid to train students in the use of laparoscopic surgery while teaching them to build the device themselves.
In his second year of residency, he developed a surgical training cooperative with a large shelter medicine organization in Thailand in which UF’s senior-year resident would spend two weeks there working with and improving the surgical training of staff veterinarians who have a heavy trauma surgery caseload and are lacking specialized training.
“This program provided an excellent environment for our resident to grow and mature in their final year, and additionally provided surgical training to a community with little access to educational opportunities,” Fox-Alvarez said.