The international organization named Leighton a “Distinguished Member,” a title bestowed on ACVP diplomates who have given exceptionally distinguished service to the association or who have made outstanding contributions to the veterinary pathology discipline.
Distinguished members are nominated by a group of ACVP members and selected through a majority vote by its board of directors.
Leighton, who is internationally known for his expertise in wildlife disease, is the former executive director and co-founder of the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative (previously known as the Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre). Since its creation in 1992, the CWHC has influenced social decision making and best practices for Canadian society by providing wildlife disease surveillance along with other vital wildlife health services.
After earning a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the WCVM in 1979, Leighton went on to complete his PhD degree in experimental pathology from Cornell University. Soon after, he returned to Saskatoon and became a faculty member at his alma mater in the WCVM’s Department of Veterinary Pathology.
His many honours include being named a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences in 2013 — one of the highest honours within Canada’s academic community. In 2014, Leighton also received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Guelph in honour of his many contributions to the understanding of wildlife disease.
“Working on wildlife health at a time of unprecedented rates of habitat loss, climate change, species extinction, and emerging diseases is not for the faint of heart,” stated Leighton’s nominee in a letter of support. “Dr. Leighton has embraced these challenges and committed his career to doing his part to mitigate and solve these wicked problems.”
Leighton was one of two Canadian veterinary pathologists who were recognized at this year’s ACVP meeting. Dr. Ian Barker, a professor emeritus of the Ontario Veterinary College and a former CWHC director (Ontario/Nunavut region), was also named an “Honorary Member” of the ACVP.
The ACVP is a professional association of more than 2,000 members around the globe. Incorporated in 1949, ACVP is the oldest veterinary specialty organization recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).
Click here to read the ACVP news release.