Dr. Schwarcz New Leader of MVMA
First female president in the century-old organization

Marlboro Enterprise / Hudson Daily Sun
February 24, 1987
By Mary Wenzel

MARLBORO - Dr. Laura Schwarcz [LeVan] of the Marlboro Animal Hospital on Lakeside Avenue has been elected president of the Massachusetts Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA). She is the first female to be chosen for the spot in the organization's 100-year history.

The installation banquet placing her in the office of president of the MVMA during its centennial year took place Jan. 31 at the Westboro Marriott Hotel. From an initial founding group of 11 veterinarians back in 1887, the MVMA represents more than 500 veterinarians throughout the state.

A native of Oregon, Dr. Schwarcz earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Raymond College, University of the Pacific, in Stockton, Calif. She received her DVM degree with honors from the Ontario Veterinary College in Guelph, Canada. Her parents were journalists - both employed by the Oregon Journal.

Dr. Schwarcz practices small animal medicine and surgery at the local hospital. She is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Animal Hospital Association a, and the Worcester County Veterinary Medical Association in addition to the state organization where her membership dates back to 1976. She has served the MVMA as vice president, president-elect and as public relations chairman.

It took not only an interest in medicine and science but also a concern for animals and people in order that Dr. Schwarcz could become the veterinarian that she is today. "This is a people business," she explained, "not an animal business. It's important to find out the roles pets play in people's lives. Communication with the owners of the pet is important in order to be effective," she explained.

In the office she has cared for nearly every kind of small animal. Memorable clientele highlighting her career have included a boa constrictor with pneumonia, a parrot suffering from a bullet wound, and a duck shot through the skin of its neck with an arrow.

"Preventative care" tops the lists of tips for pet owners suggested by Dr. Schwarcz. "Be alert and aware of changes in the pet, especially as it gets older," she explained. "Seek the regular advice of a veterinarian, and remember that metabolically, as an animal gets older, it goes through seven or eight years of aging to our year."

In one year, therefore a pet could change as much as a human would between the ages of 35-43 or 70-77 or any similar time span. "It's important for the pet to receive regular checkups so that preventative medicine works, she stated.

Dr. Laura Schwarcz has been at the Marlboro Animal Hospital as an associate of Dr. C. Peter Nelson for nearly 10 years. In her spare time she enjoys a variety of outdoor activities, including gardening, hiking, fishing, and bicycling.

As president of the MVMA, Schwarcz will preside over the scientific quarterly meetings of the association that provided such service as the offering information to the public, providing continuing education for the members and scheduling slid show programs for Bay State grade schoolers.

During the part 100 years, the veterinary profession has witnessed many changes. Horses and farm animals were the patients of veterinarians at the turn of the century and many people thought the veterinarians would disappear on e the automobile replaced the horse. No one could foresee the rise in popularity of the pet ownership and small animal care that would follow the end of World War 2.

Veterinary education today is competitive, rigorous and sophisticated compared to a century ago. Three veterinary schools in Massachusetts preceded the opening of Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine in 1979. Those early forerunners were: the Boston Veterinary Institute (1854- 60), Harvard University (1882-1902) and Middlesex University (1938 -47).

One hundred years ago there were no women veterinarians. Even as recently 15 to 20 years ago the number of women accepted into veterinary schools was strictly limited. However, since the early 1970's, women have entered this formerly class of 1987 at the Tufts University class of 1987 at the Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine.

Joining Dr. Schwarcz in celebrating the MVMA's centennial year in 1987 are other newly elected officers. They include president-elect, Dr. William Johansen, Sommerville; vice president, Dr Harold Gill, Bolton; secretary, Dr. Susan Rabaut, Framingham; and treasurer, Dr. Richard Heller, Milford.