The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) applauds Dr. David Turoff, the February honoree of the Good Works for Horses Campaign, for his two decades of volunteer service improving the lives of working horses, donkeys and mules in underdeveloped regions of the world.
Good Works for Horses honors AAEP-member practitioners who perform volunteer service to benefit horses and the equine community. Horse owners and veterinary professionals are encouraged to nominate AAEP members for this monthly recognition.
Dr. Turoff has provided volunteer veterinary care to working equids in Central and South America since 2001, when he discovered a program in Guatemala at the urging of a friend in the Peace Corps. His interest and participation in working equid care quickly grew and, in 2010, he became a founding director of the Equitarian Initiative, a nonprofit that prepares volunteer veterinarians to deliver health care to working equids and education to their caretakers to create sustainable change.
Dr. Turoff has contributed significantly to the growth and direction of the Equitarian Initiative. He has mentored other veterinarians who have gone on to lead their own projects, and he has wholeheartedly embraced a core value of the initiative: to teach best practices to Central American veterinary students so that eventually they’ll be able to do much of this work on their own.
He invites students from Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala to join him on Equitarian trips, often at his own expense. Dr. Turoff also initiates frequent case consultations with Central American veterinarians after they graduate and hosts veterinary students from the region as externs at his three-doctor ambulatory practice in Placerville, Calif.
At the peak of his involvement, Dr. Turoff led three Equitarian trips each year—to Peru, Guatemala and Nicaragua—and participated in three others, encompassing 19 weeks each year. Now approaching 70, he has scaled back to 15 weeks annually while organizing only the Guatemala trip.
In seeking other ways to continue contributing to the welfare of working equids, Dr. Turoff earned accreditation to teach English as a second language, and he has taught English to Central American veterinary students who have visited his practice.
Throughout 2019, the AAEP’s Good Works for Horses Campaign will spotlight AAEP-member practitioners whose volunteer efforts are improving the health and welfare of horses. To discover the Good Works of AAEP veterinarians or nominate a Good Works candidate, visit the AAEP website. For more information on nominating a veterinarian for this program, contact Michelle Behm, AAEP communications coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.