UW Veterinary Professor Ruthanne Chun Receives 2021 LaMarr Billups University Community Engagement Award

A veterinarian student weighs Shenanigans the dog at a WisCARE clinic in Madison in 2015. The WisCARES program co-founded by Ruthanne Chun aims to provide holistic health care and housing assistance to underprivileged residents of Dane County and their pets from company. Photo: Bryce Richter

Ruthanne Chun, Clinical Professor of Oncology at the UW School of Veterinary Medicine, was named this year’s LaMarr Billups Community-University Engagement Award recipient.

The award recognizes a member of the Greater Madison community who has made outstanding contributions to campus-community partnership initiatives.

Ruthanne Chun

In 2014, Chun co-founded Wisconsin Companion Animal Resources, Education and Social Services (WisCARES), a community veterinary clinic for low-income and homeless families.

“One of the pillars of our mission at UW-Madison is to go beyond campus boundaries to share knowledge that improves people’s lives. Ruthanne Chun is a worthy recipient of this prestigious award. As co-founder and director of WisCARES, she created a national model for community outreach and collaboration, ”said Chancellor Rebecca Blank.

Since its inception, Chun has helped WisCARES move from a street medicine project run by a single veterinarian to a fully functioning clinic. It is now open five days a week with a dedicated full-time social worker who extends the scope of care beyond the animal to its owner.

“I am very proud of the work we are doing to provide veterinary medical care, boarding and hospitality for the animals that are such important companions,” Chun said at the virtual awards ceremony on June 22. “There are wonderful things happening on this campus and in this community and I am so proud to be a part of it.

Chun has forged partnerships to expand the program within and beyond campus, working with UW Schools of Pharmacy, Social Work, and Medicine and Public Health, as well as the Madison Area. Technical College and the Dane County Homeless Services Consortium, The Beacon, Community Action Coalition. , Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin, Reach Dane, the VA and other local organizations.

“Chun has dedicated much of his career to improving the Madison community through his service and activism on behalf of those living in unstable housing and their pets. There could not be a more deserving award recipient, ”said Mark Markel, Dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine.

The LaMarr Billups Community-University Engagement Award recognizes contributions in the following areas:

  • Dedication to the betterment of the Madison community through service, activism and / or professional pursuits;
  • Build strong bonds between the great community and UW-Madison through true collaboration and mutually beneficial partnerships; and
  • Commitment to the highest level of integrity, leadership and the pursuit of excellence.

The award was named in honor of the late LaMarr Billups, a respected campus and community leader. Known as a qualified ambassador between university and city, he was deeply involved in major civic institutions and social causes. At UW-Madison, he served as Director of the Community Relations Office and Senior Special Assistant to Chancellors David Ward and John Wiley.

Watch the full 2021 LaMarr Billups University Community Engagement Awards Ceremony online and find out more about the award, including past winners, here.


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