Dr. Betty Althouse (centre) was among the recipients of a 2017 Saskatchewan Premier’s Award for Excellence in Public Service. Photo: Government of Saskatchewan.

Public service award “good fit” for Althouse

Last November, Saskatchewan’s chief veterinary officer Dr. Betty Althouse was recognized for her outstanding contributions with the Saskatchewan Premier’s Award for Excellence in Public Service.

By Kathy Fitzpatrick

Not one to seek the limelight, Althouse is modest in her response to words of congratulations about the award. But what she’s extremely appreciative of is the fact that she was nominated by the group she works with: “That means a lot to me.”

“The first thing I thought about was what a good fit this [award] is,” says Dr. LeeAnn Forsythe, who led the effort to nominate Althouse. Forsythe is a disease surveillance veterinarian working in the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture’s Animal Health Unit under Althouse’s direction.

Forsythe finds Althouse’s leadership and accomplishments inspiring. Self-motivated, energetic, dedicated, knowledgeable and intelligent “are all the words that just come very easily for me to describe her,” says Forsythe.

In addition to work in the province’s Animal Health Unit, Forsythe points to the numerous national and provincial bodies that Althouse takes part in. The list includes the Canadian Council of Chief Veterinary Officers, the Saskatchewan Veterinary Medical Association, Animal Protection Services of Saskatchewan, Canadian Swine Health Intelligence Network, and the National Farmed Animal Health and Welfare Council along with its Canadian Animal Health Surveillance System.

Althouse was also the lead for Saskatchewan on the OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) evaluation of Canadian veterinary services.

Whether it’s for building public trust in agriculture or providing leadership in a range of animal health and welfare issues, Forsythe heaps praise on her boss.

“She is well respected and trusted amongst industry stakeholders for not only what she does, but how she does it,” Forsythe says. She adds that Althouse understands the agriculture industry, thanks to her extensive experience and participation in industry-related activities. She’s also committed to understanding and addressing consumer concerns.

Althouse is also noted for valuing diverse opinions and backgrounds while finding all the details and the most accurate information. She commits to promises and accepts responsibility and is “always willing to answer the hard questions.”

Althouse’s lifelong pursuit of continuous improvement is evident in her work at the Ministry of Agriculture, too. With her staff, she provides constructive feedback and encourages personal growth through learning opportunities.

Looking back over Althouse’s 36-year career, it may seem as though she has done it all. But Forsythe says Althouse would reject that notion, believing she still has more to learn.

"Her work is a constant demonstration of the values of our Ministry."

Read more about Dr. Althouse's career in her profile, "Saskatchewan's Veterinarian."