KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Dr. Mitsie Vargas

PLENARY SPEAKERS: Dr. Cecil Brownie • Dr. Susan Koenig • Dr. Craig Stephen • Dr. David Wilkie

DR. MITSIE VARGAS | Keynote Speaker

Dr. Mitsie Vargas received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Tuskegee University in 1994 and established her AAHA accredited Orchid Springs Animal Hospital in Winter Haven, Florida two years later. In 2009 she started her studies at Chi Institute, eventually garnering certifications in Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, Food Therapy and Tui Na. Most recently, she was FAAVA certified (Fellow of the American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture) and is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) at Chi Institute, where she works as a Teaching Assistant and Lecturer for Chi Latin America. She has also worked as a TCVM consultant for Disney Animal Kingdom.  

In addition to work in academia, Dr. Vargas is a certified veterinary journalist and a prolific author of both scientific and motivational articles. She has lectured at the World TCVM Congress (20015, 2016 & 2017), AAVA Conference (2017) and AVMA (2011). She is a guest blogger for www.allthingshealings.com and a writer for Woman to Woman magazine. She also wrote a chapter in Jack Canfield’s Amazon bestselling book, “The Soul of Success”. She served as an AVMA spokesperson for the Hispanic market and has recorded many PSA’s and radio interviews promoting responsible pet ownership. Her love for traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine coupled with her desire to educate the public is manifested in her book “Alt-Vet: The Revolutionary Pet Care and Longevity Solution”. 

Her passion for helping animals and her volunteerism has awarded her state and national recognition including the Purina National Pet Care Award, Bay News 9 Medical Hero Award and the FVMA Gold Award. She was honoured by the American Veterinary Foundation as “America's Favorite Veterinarian" in 2015. 

Dr. Vargas lives in Winter Haven, Florida with her husband, two daughters and a menagerie of pets. 


DR. CRAIG STEPHEN |  Plenary Speaker

Dr. Stephen is the CEO of the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative and a Professor of Population Health. His work focuses on emerging health threats at the interface of people, animals and our shared environment. His current work aims to develop health intelligence systems that strive to identify vulnerable populations and locations to support efforts to bolster resilience and preparedness in advance of harms rather than the historic approach of detection and response to harms after they emerged. Dr. Stephen advocates for a holistic approach to health that supports reciprocal care of public health and the health of the environment. 


DR. DAVID WILKIE |  Plenary Speaker

Dr. Wilkie obtained his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1984 from the University of Guelph, Canada.  He spent one year at the University of Pennsylvania as an intern and in 1985 went to Ohio State University to begin a 3-year residency and Masters degree in Comparative Ophthalmology.  He received both his Masters degree (MS) and Ophthalmology Specialty Boards (ACVO) in 1988.  He was subsequently hired as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences at Ohio State University and then promoted to Associate Professor of Veterinary Ophthalmology.  He is currently Professor of Ophthalmology and Department Chair of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, as well as a Professor in the College of Medicine at Ohio State University.

Dr. Wilkie has trained 21 residents who are board certified in the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists or the European College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists, and three Diplomates in Japanese Comparative Ophthalmology.  In addition, Dr. Wilkie has provided advanced training in ophthalmology to 20 graduate students and over 34 veterinary ophthalmologists from 12 countries.

Dr. Wilkie is author of 102 articles, 104 abstracts and 46 textbook chapters, and serves as a research consultant to numerous national and international research facilities.  He has served as an editor of several textbooks and serves on the editorial board of nine veterinary and human ophthalmology and research journals.  He is the past chairperson of the Examination Committee of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists and Past-President for the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists.  He is currently the editor for the Journal of Veterinary Ophthalmology.  He is an international speaker having presented seminars in many countries around the world and has received multiple nominations and awards including the Merck/AgVet Award for Creativity in Teaching, the National Gamma Award for Distinguished Service at Ohio State University and the North American Veterinary Conference Equine Speaker of the Year Award in 2013.  Most recently, he has been nominated for the AAVC Faculty Achievement Award in 2016 and 2017.

Dr. Wilkie is married to Dr. Susan Johnson, a Professor in Small Animal Internal Medicine, and they have two children both attending university. Dr. Wilkie plays hockey and enjoys downhill skiing, wilderness canoeing, windsurfing, scuba diving and life at his cottage in Canada.

Koenig-Jamaican Boa.jpeg

DR. SUSAN KOENIG |  Plenary Speaker

Susan has been working as a wildlife ecologist in the Caribbean and Jamaica for more than 20 years. She received her doctorate from the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University, while serving as the director of the Jamaica Parrot Project - a collaborative project with BirdLife Jamaica that evaluated the status and health of Jamaica’s endemic parrots. In 2002 she co-founded Windsor Research Centre, a community-based environmental NGO located in Cockpit Country, the highest-ranked Biodiversity Hotspot in the insular Caribbean. In her research, she is interested in understanding how human modifications to a natural landscape affect the interactions among wildlife species and the subsequent ecological services they provide. This interest has enabled her to work with diverse taxa, including birds, snakes, bats, and frogs. When not busy sharing her research findings with local communities in socially-relevant locations (churches & schools by day, rum bars by night), she also serves on the IUCN's Boa and Python Specialist Group and on Jamaica’s Invasive Alien Species Working Group and the Endangered Animals Recovery Working Group.  


DR. CECIL BROWNIE |  Plenary Speaker

Cecil Fitz George Brownie, a Jamaican by birth (August 11, 1944, Petersfield Westmoreland). He received elementary (Petersfield Elementary), vocational (Frome Senior School), and tertiary education (Jamaica School of Agriculture) in Jamaica. He taught at secondary (Mannings High School and Cornwall College), vocational  (Knockalva Agriculture Training Center and tertiary (Jamaica School of Agriculture) educational institutions before matriculating at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York from which he received both the BS degree in Animal Science and the DVM degree in Veterinary Medicine in 1971 and 1975, respectively. He practiced professionally as a Clinical Veterinary Surgeon (Jamaica West Indies) for a period of three years (1975-1978) before returning to Cornell University in September 1978 to pursue  graduate studies in the fields of Pharmacology/Toxicology/Pathology, for which he was awarded the PhD degree on August 28, 1981. He has since remained in academia, first as a visiting assistant professor (Toxicology) at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine (1981-1982), then starting in 1982 as an assistant professor (Pharmacology/Toxicology) moving through the tenured promotional ranks, becoming a Full Professor of Pharmacology/Toxicology at North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, until retiring on August 31st 2006. Since 2008 he has maintained a part time veterinary practice as the proprietor of Mobile Veterinary Practice of Raleigh, PLLC. He has been married since August 24th 1968 to Cavell Brownie née Sherlock (Emeritus Professor of Statistics, North Carolina State University). Together they have two sons Mark Andrew and Paul Michael Brownie, and a daughter-in-law Elizabeth Brownie nee Clegg (Mark’s wife). The family currently resides in Raleigh, North Carolina.


Michelle Sinclair Doyley says she does not work . . . she enjoys her way to a paycheck.

Michelle joined the JMMB Team in 2005 as Personal Portfolio Manager. In this capacity most of her clients were earning up to four times the market rates.

While a part of JMMB’s Sales Team, her stellar performance resulted in her receiving JMMB’s Exceptional Performance Award every year since its inception.   However, she recognized that people were crying out for Financial Education.  Encouraged by one of JMMB’s founders Donna Duncan-Scott, she wrote a proposal to the JMMB Board and created her role as Manager - Client Financial Education.

The programme has been a success and in 2016 she was a recipient of one of JMMB’s Special Recognition Awards.  She is on a mission to ensure every Jamaican is financially educated by 2030 and her bi-monthly column in the Monday, Gleaner is one vehicle to make this vision a reality.

Her educational qualifications span a wide array of certifications including a MBA in International Business from the UWI Mona.