A permanent director for the MU Veterinary Health Center started in her new role last week. Gerelyn Henry, DVM, MBA, DACVP, took over the reins on Thursday, Nov. 17. She replaced Joan Coates, DVM, MS, DACVIM, professor of veterinary neurology and neurosurgery, who served as the interim hospital director for more than a year. Coates became the interim director upon the retirement of David Wilson, DVM, MS, DACVS, who had held the post since 2008.
Henry, a veterinary pathologist, joins the MU College of Veterinary Medicine from Charlottsville, Virginia, where she founded and served as the CEO and president of YW August Companies, a healthcare consulting, education, information, research and clinical services firm. She brings more than 30 years’ experience in veterinary, comparative, translational, toxicologic and forensic pathology and more than 15 years’ experience teaching veterinary and human pathology to doctoral students.
“The Veterinary Health Center director is the champion for our faculty, staff and students to foster achievement of their greater goals in veterinary medicine and to help create, maintain, and sustain the type of organization that allows them to perform, conduct, and carry out their lifesaving work,” Henry said of her new position.
“The VHC is the place where we integrate our scholarly work with patient care. As health care professionals, we are concerned with educating not only the students and house officers in our charge, but also alumni and clients who entrust the care of their family members to us. Our goal is to create and maintain an environment and ecosystem where our faculty, staff and students can continue to thrive, and I am excited to become a member of such a prestigious and elite organization,” she said,
Henry earned both her bachelor’s degree and doctor of veterinary medicine degree at Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama. She went on to complete an internship in anatomic pathology at Tuskegee. She then completed a residency in anatomic pathology at Michigan State University in East Lansing. She was an NIH postdoctoral fellow involved in cancer research at Michigan State. Henry also has a strong educational background in business having earned a global executive MBA at the University of Virginia, Darden School of Business.
“The Veterinary Health Center director serves to facilitate the business and educational functions of the hospital,” she noted. “While I am a visionary leader, loving to focus on organizational design and development, there must be a balanced approach because we have a fiduciary responsibility to maintain a sound business enterprise which will provide the necessary resources to further grow the business side of our practice.”
Henry said cultivating veterinary students’ leadership skills will be another priority.
“In addition to clinical services and research, veterinary teaching hospitals and veterinary specialty hospitals are special places where leadership skills of the next generation of veterinarians are forged, and where innovations in veterinary medicine are created or perfected for the advancement of medicine,” she said.