American Association of Equine Practitioners

American Association of Equine Practitioners

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Renowned Equine Ophthalmologist Named AAEP’s Distinguished Educator


Dennis Brooks, DVM, PhD, DACVO, a practitioner known for his outstanding contributions to equine ophthalmology, received the American Association of Equine Practitioners’ 2016 Distinguished Educator – Academic Award.

The Distinguished Educator – Academic Award honors an individual who by his or her actions and commitment has demonstrated a significant impact on the development and training of equine practitioners. Dr. Brooks was honored Dec. 6 during the President’s Luncheon at the AAEP’s 62nd Annual Convention in Orlando, Fla.

Throughout his career, Dr. Brooks trained 31 equine ophthalmology residents, educated more than 3,400 veterinary students, and mentored 76 visiting veterinarians at the University of Florida. His research is published in 74 refereed publications and 82 non-refereed publications and book chapters. He continues to lecture around the country in his quest to improve the level of ophthalmic care administered by veterinarians.

“I believe most equine veterinarians may feel a lack of ophthalmology in their education. This is where Dr. Brooks has filled in our gaps,” said Carol K. Clark, DVM, DACVIM (LAIM), a partner with Peterson and Smith Equine Hospital in Ocala, Fla. “I cannot think of any other ophthalmologist who has had such a global impact for the field.”

Dr. Brooks earned his DVM from the University of Illinois in 1980. He completed his ophthalmology residency in 1984 at the University of Florida, where he also earned his PhD in 1987. In 1990, he joined the university as an associate professor and ophthalmology service chief, achieving tenure in 1994 and full professor status in 1998. Dr. Brooks retired from the University of Florida in July 2015 and still serves the institution as a professor emeritus. He established BrooksEyes LLC, his equine ophthalmology consulting firm, in 2016. 

Among his numerous honors and awards are the 2007 and 2015 Western Veterinary Conference Continuing Educator of the Year-Equine; the 2007 British Veterinary Association Sir Frederick Smith Memorial Lecture and Medal Recipient; and the 2010 AAEP Frank J. Milne State-of-the-Art Lecture. Additionally, Dr. Brooks is a founding member of the International Equine Ophthalmology Consortium and served as its president from 2011-2012.

The American Association of Equine Practitioners, headquartered in Lexington, Ky., was founded in 1954 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the health and welfare of the horse. Currently, AAEP reaches more than 5 million horse owners through its over 9,000 members worldwide and is actively involved in ethics issues, practice management, research and continuing education in the equine veterinary profession and horse industry.

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