By Jenee Odani
Raised on Kauaʻi with an early passion for horses (she was a former Miss Rodeo Kauaʻi), the 2021 Outstanding Alumnus Award recipient is Bonnie J Buntain, MSc, DVM,D(E)ABVP, DACVPM. Bonnie is Professor Emerita of Public Health and Food Safety at the University of Calgary’s Veterinary Medical School in Alberta, Canada, and is an appointed professor for the new College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Arizona in Tucson.
After receiving her high school diploma from Punahou School, BS and MS in Animal Sciences from the University of Hawaiʻi, and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Colorado State University, she owned Oʻahu Equine Veterinary Clinic, a popular internship sponsor for CTAHR students. She was the first female equine practitioner and the first Hawaiʻi veterinarian to become board-certified by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners in Equine Practice. Most importantly, she focused her equine ambulatory practice on client education to improve horse health and welfare.
Within a few years after leaving private practice, Bonnie was guiding national regulations on food safety and humane animal treatment in Washington, D.C., first in the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine, then as founding Director of Animal Production Food Safety in the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, where she became the agency’s first Chief Public Health Veterinarian. In 2007, she was recruited to start the veterinary faculty at the University of Calgary as a Tenured Professor, founding Assistant Dean of Government and International Relations, and founding Department Head of Ecosystem and Public Health at the new veterinary school. After retiring to Tucson, Arizona, she was hired by the University of Arizona as Program Coordinator for accreditation of the new and innovative College of Veterinary Medicine.
She is a Diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners in Equine Practice and Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine. She is passionate about the One Health approach, which strives to understand disease linkages between humans, animals, and the environment.
Bonnie’s career is a great model for today's animal sciences students or any student in Ag sciences. It starts with an enduring passion for animals, desire to improve animal and human health, followed by hard work, and after that, the sky’s the limit. Her career has ascended to great heights, but more importantly, she has applied her analytical skills to real-world problems in animal and human health sciences, and their larger role in the world.