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Spotlight

by Sara Carney

A Family of Veterinarians: The Ruoffs and the CVM

Dr. Cathy Ruoff rides alongside her father, Dr. Dub Ruoff Not often have a mother, father, and daughter worked in the same profession and at the same institution, but that has been the case for the Ruoffs. It all began in 1981, when Walter “Dub” Ruoff accepted a position as a professor and equine clinician at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM), where he worked until his passing in 1996. Dub’s wife, Lynn, joined the CVM in 1982 and began teaching anatomy to both veterinary students and undergraduates. Lynn and Dub’s daughter, Cathy, spent much time at the CVM while growing up and as a student, and recently joined the CVM faculty. Currently, Lynn is a clinical associate professor in the Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences (VIBS), and Cathy is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences (VLCS), the same department her dad was in. As well as having similar titles, Cathy and Lynn share a passion for veterinary medicine and love for the CVM.

Lynn’s Journey to Aggieland After receiving her doctorate in veterinary medicine (DVM) from Colorado State University, Lynn spent a year in Fort Collins. “I taught anatomy for a year waiting for Dub to graduate, and actually, at the end of that year I said, ‘I will never do that again,’” she said. She and Dub moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she practiced at a small animal hospital, and Dub worked in a mixed animal practice. Her career path changed when Dub decided to do an internal medicine residency at The Ohio State University. In 1981, Dub accepted a position with the CVM, and in 1982, Lynn started teaching anatomy. It was supposed to be a temporary position until the children got a little older. But, fate had another plan for Lynn. When she began teaching anatomy at the CVM, she realized her passion for teaching. “I started teaching anatomy at Texas A&M, and I liked doing it,” she said. “It was not a planned evolution—it just happened.” 52 •

• Summer 2016

For many years, Lynn’s focus was teaching anatomy to the biomedical sciences (BIMS) undergraduate students, something she said can be both rewarding and challenging. Often the classes are quite large, but Lynn said she can get to know her students better in the labs, where students are broken up into smaller groups. In 2008, she started teaching in the anatomy courses for the professional students as well, which she is still doing. Additionally, Lynn is actively involved in ensuring that students at the CVM receive the best anatomy training possible. She is a member of the undergraduate curriculum committee and is serving as chair of the DVM curriculum committee. The DVM curriculum committee is currently working on a major curriculum revision that will align the curriculum to the new graduate outcomes, which was developed by the CVM faculty and is a specific list of skills that DVM graduates from Texas A&M should possess. To ensure that CVM graduates possess all of these skills, data is being collected from current students, former students, and employers.

Growing Up Veterinary

Many of Cathy’s childhood memories involve veterinary medicine and exploring the CVM. “I grew up running around here,” she recalled. “And, there are a lot of people here that I don’t remember meeting.” Having known some CVM faculty members for so long, Cathy said many are like family to her. Cathy was influenced and supported by her parents in her decision to pursue veterinary medicine. In addition to Lynn’s work in anatomy, Dub served as a professor, clinician, administrator, and adviser at the CVM. From 1981 to 1996, Dub worked as a clinician in equine medicine. He also was interim head of VLCS from 1991 to 1993. Between the late 1980s and 1996, he mentored students as an adviser for the Student Chapter of the American Veterinary Medical Association (SCAVMA). Dub frequently showed support for Cathy’s interest in caring for animals, often lending a helping hand. “He got stuck helping me braid horses’ manes the night before horse shows,” she said. “I ran out of patience with it long before he did. He would bring us up here if he was working on the weekends and Lynn was gone to ride, or gone to do whatever. I ran around while he worked.” Similarly, Lynn encouraged Cathy growing up and throughout veterinary school. Although Cathy said having a mother who is a veterinarian did not offer a significant advantage over her classmates in veterinary school, it made dinnertime conversations more interesting. “I could talk about things we were learning, and she understood a lot more about it than most peoples’ parents did and certainly wasn’t ever grossed out about it,” Cathy said.

CVM Today - Summer 2016  
CVM Today - Summer 2016  

A semi-annual publication for the faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends of the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical...