Due to considerations during the pandemic, the in-person presentations 2020 Hero Veterinarian Awards were postponed. On November 12, 2021, the 2020 award recipients will be recognized at the 2021 American Humane Hero Dog Awards.
Dr. Katherine Polak is dedicated to animal welfare both in the US and around the world. Her work spans borders helping animals in need, improving veterinary training, and campaigning against the most severe issues facing companion animals today. A specialist in Shelter Medicine and Iowa State grad, Dr. Polak works for FOUR PAWS, an international charity active in 15 countries. She manages a variety of stray animal care programs throughout Southeast Asia, most notably against the cruel dog and cat meat trade. She has established a unique partnership program in the region which provides capacity building support to local charities in Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand. One such program in Vietnam is the ‘Cats Matter Too’ program, which provides medical care for thousands of cats in addition to education programs for children. Prior, she was the Medical Director at Soi Dog Foundation in Thailand, where she trained local vets and launched a program in Bangkok to neuter upwards of 80,000 dogs per year. Stateside, she is the founding Medical Director of the Spayathon for Puerto Rico with HSUS. This groundbreaking initiative will neuter > 85,000 dogs and cats over the next 3 years.
Dr. Polak is also dedicated to imparting best practices for shelters and rescues working in limited-resource environments. For the Online Shelter Medicine graduate program, she teaches VME 6939: Topics in International Shelter Medicine.