The online graduate Shelter Medicine Program congratulates Dr. Katherine Polak, DVM, MPH, MS, DACVPM, on being named the Hero Veterinarian for 2020 at the at the American Humane Hero Dog Awards® 10th Anniversary Celebration on October 19, 2020. The award recognizes who dedicate their lives to making a difference in animals’ lives through delivery of outstanding veterinary care, which Dr. Polak exemplifies on an international level.
Dr. Polak is a veterinarian dedicated to improving animal welfare in Southeast Asia, and in limited-resourced communities around the world. She currently serves as the Head of Stray Animal Care – Southeast Asia for FOUR PAWS International, a global animal welfare organization based in Vienna, Austria working to end the suffering of wild, stray, and farm animals. Dr. Polak currently manages a variety of companion animal programs in Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam, with a special focus on combating the cruel dog and cat meat trade in the region. As part of FOUR PAWS international campaign to end the cruel dog and cat meat trade in Southeast Asia, she manages undercover investigations, rescue missions, and lobbying efforts with local and national stakeholders. Prior to working at FOUR PAWS, Dr. Polak was the International Director of Animal Welfare at Soi Dog Foundation in Phuket, Thailand where she launched and managed a large-scale sterilization program for stray dogs in the capital city of Bangkok.
Additionally, she was the founding medical director of Spayathon in Puerto Rico, which will neuter over 85,000 cats and dogs over a three year period. She currently sits on the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) Animal Wellness and Welfare Committee, and is on the Board of Directors for Compassion Sans Borders, an organization dedicated to helping small animal welfare charities around the world. She has also co-authored and edited the textbook, ‘Field Manual for Small Animal Medicine’ published by Wiley Publishing, a resource for veterinarians working in under-resourced communities.
Dr. Polak teaches our Topics in International Shelter Medicine course.