President: Debbie Decker, DVM – Cleveland, OH
Dr. Debbie Decker received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the Ohio State University in 2003. She then pursued an additional year of Internship training at Georgia Veterinary Specialists in Atlanta/Sandy Springs, Georgia. Prior to becoming a veterinarian, Dr. Decker obtained her Master’s Degree in Medical Social Work and was a member of the Pediatric Trauma Team at University Hospitals in Cleveland, Ohio for over 6 years.
Throughout her veterinary career, Dr. Decker has always integrated nutrition and complementary medicine into the medical care plans for her patients. This interest has guided her to developing an EPA/DHA nutritional supplement, OmegaQD, with no additives or flavorings, the highest quality ingredients, and transparent, detailed labeling to promote the health and well being of pets.
Dr. Decker is actively practicing holistic small animal medicine and offers her patients an integrative health care approach, including whole foods nutritional counseling and acupuncture, in the greater Cleveland, Ohio area.
President-Elect: Gary J. Stuer, DVM – Bethel, ME
Dr. Gary Stuer graduated from Tufts Veterinary School in 1987, but feels that was just the beginning of his veterinary education. He has studied and integrated into his practice several complementary methods of treating patients. In 2004, he was certified in Veterinary Acupuncture by the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS) and completed Reiki Master Training. In 2014, he also completed IVAS certification in Chinese Herbal Medicine. He is also on the staff of Portland Veterinary Specialists, where he practices Integrative Medicine with a team of Board Certified Specialists.
Dr. Stuer knew from a very early age—around 9 years old—that he wanted to become a veterinarian. He was influenced early on in his life by a family cat that was hit by a car who completely recovered with extensive medical care. He also spent a lot of time around horses when he was growing up.
Dr. Stuer is originally from Lowell, MA and moved to Maine in 1994. He and his wife enjoy being part of their community, and they also enjoy hiking and showshoeing with their Labrador Retriever. In warmer weather, they enjoy kayaking and paddle boarding. He also has two cats, neither of whom has expressed an interest in hiking or snowshoeing.
Dr. Stuer is inspired to offer patients and their people integrative care, combining Western medicine with Eastern influences, where each animal is treated as an individual. His medicine constantly evolves as he learns more from his patients every day. He loves what he does and he is honored to be a caregiver for his clients’ treasured animals.
Vice-President: Neal Sivula, DVM – Richfield, OH
Dr. Sivula received his DVM from the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. He completed an internship, clinical residency, and PhD from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. He is certified in Animal Chiropractic from the College of Animal Chiropractors (COAC) and the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association (AVCA), in Veterinary Acupuncture from the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS), and in Veterinary Chinese Herbalism and Food Therapy from the Chi Institute of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine. He also holds an advanced acupuncture certification from the American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture (Fellow of the AAVA). Dr. Sivula is also a Usui Reiki Master.
Dr. Sivula is a past board member of the AVCA, COAC, and the AAVA. He is also a past President of the AAVA. He is currently an Executive Editor of the American Journal of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, Chair of the Integrative Medicine Committee for the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association, and Chair of the Advanced Certification Committee of the AAVA. He also serves as the AAVA’s Alternate Delegate to the AVMA House of Delegates.
Dr. Sivula is the founder of Dancing Paws Animal Wellness Center, an Integrative Veterinary Practice in Richfield, Ohio. Dancing Paws offers patients personalized care using both traditional and holistic methods. The holistic therapies include acupuncture, chiropractic, nutrition, rehabilitation (including underwater treadmill therapy), and Chinese and Western herbal medicines.
Immediate Past President: Tricia Stimac, DVM – Downers Grove, IL
Dr. Tricia Stimac graduated from Marquette University with a degree in Business Administration in 1992. After working in the realm of business for some time, she changed her career path to follow her life’s passion of caring for animals. She then attended Elmhurst College to complete her biology and chemistry pre-requisites and soon after graduated from the University of Illinois with her DVM degree. While earning her degrees she did an internship, which lead into a zoo keeper position, at Brookfield Zoo.
Dr. Stimac is an integrative veterinarian with a focus on cats and dogs but she also has experience caring for exotic and wildlife animals. Along with her DVM degree she is a certified animal chiropractor and acupuncturist. She offers an integrative approach to animal health care by incorporating traditional Western medicine, surgery, chiropractic care, acupuncture, dietary supplementation, nutritional counseling, homeopathy, and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
She and her husband live in Chicago with their animal children, Zoey (an energetic Jack Russell Terrier) and Izzy (a frisky calico). In her free time she loves being active outdoors (hiking, running, surfing, etc), continues to build her knowledge base of veterinary medicine through continuing education, and spends time with her friends and family. She also volunteers by spaying and neutering for PACT (a non-profit organization) and has written articles for Tails Magazine. Dr. Stimac practices at The Royal Treatment Veterinary Center in Chicago.
Secretary: Ann Swartz, DVM – Creswell, OR
Dr. Ann Swartz grew up on the East Coast and is a US Army veteran. Migrating to Oregon in 1979, she earned degrees in Animal Science and Microbiology from Oregon State University in 1984 and a DVM from OSU in 1988. Throughout her training as a veterinary student, Dr. Swartz worked in clinics in Oregon and Alaska, including the Oregon State University Sheep Barn and other private lambing operations. Adding to her varied experience, Dr. Swartz had the exciting opportunity to volunteer on the Iditarod. Additionally, she has experience vetting and participating in Endurance Rides and in Ride and Ties. Following a year dedicated to primarily equine practice in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Dr. Swartz settled in Oregon. Dr Swartz has practiced in a mixed animal, mobile capacity since 1988.
Dr. Swartz keeps current in her field through membership in professional organizations, often holding leadership positions. She is a current member of the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy (board member and past president), American Veterinary Medical Association (serving on the Council on Veterinary Services 2014-2017), Oregon Veterinary Medical Association, American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AVH liaison and Secretary), Veterinary Botanical Medical Association, American Endurance Ride Conference (certified judge), Rogue Valley Veterinary Medical Association (President 2014) and the American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners.
In her free time, Dr Swartz enjoys bothering her adult children, hiking and camping, vetting endurance rides, reading and learning more about homeopathy. She also volunteers locally, with 4H and FFA groups, and as part of a high school mentor program. She actively volunteers at the Jackson County Animal Shelter and at Sanctuary One in Oregon.
Treasurer: Madeline Yamate, DVM – Davis, CA
Dr. Yamate received her BA in Biology from Amherst College in 1982, MBA in Marketing and Organizational Behavior from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University in 1991, and DVM from the University of California, Davis, in 2005. Dr. Yamate is certified in veterinary acupuncture, veterinary Chinese herbology, Chinese food therapy and veterinary Tui-na by the Chi Institute of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine and the China National Society of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine.
As a veterinary medical student, Dr. Yamate created and conducted three seminar courses on Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine (CAVM) at UC Davis. Following graduation, she was in private practice in Northern California before completing an internship in large and small animal acupuncture at the University of Florida under the supervision of Dr. Huisheng Xie. Dr. Yamate has been a faculty member of the Chi Institute of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine since 2006 and the Chi Institute of Europe since 2008, teaching veterinary acupuncture, Chinese herbology, Tui-na and Chinese food therapy. She lectures internationally on CAVM and Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine for veterinary medical schools, conferences and clubs as well as for general public events.
Currently, Dr. Yamate practices and teaches veterinary medicine at the Center for Integrative Animal Medicine in Davis, CA and is a contributing author to the upcoming text “Practical Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine”. She is a founding advisory board member of the American Journal of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine and was a board member of the Natura Nutritional Advisory Board.