Women’s History Month: Dr. Mackey, 2023 President

Pictured, left to right: Dr. Karen Wylie, Dr. Deise Funk, Dr. Doris Miller
Pictured, left to right: Dr. Karen Wylie, Dr. Denise Funk, Dr. Doris Miller

Women of GVMA: Women’s History Month

Back in November, we welcomed Dr. Elizabeth Mackey to her term as 2023 GVMA President. Prior to becoming a veterinarian, Dr. Mackey worked 15 years as a licensed wildlife rehabilitator and educator specializing in raptors.

Dr. Mackey is a 2006 graduate of University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, where she also completed an internship in Exotic, Wildlife and Zoological medicine in 2008. She is the previous owner of Mackey Exotic Animal Clinic, where she provided clinical care as well as consulting services for an exotic animal distribution company.

Currently, Dr. Mackey is the Hands-on Workshop Coordinator for ExoticsCon. She is on the Board of Directors for the Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians, the Past President of the Association of Avian Veterinarians and the current President for the Georgia Veterinary Medical Association.

Dr. Mackey says she became a veterinarian and saw the positive things GVMA did for the profession, and wanted to be a part of that. She has always been involved with other organizations and fully appreciates the value and power of volunteers. She is a huge believer in volunteers and how they can make a real difference. She said, “What better group than one that supports my veterinary colleagues in my own state?”

“I am already so excited just being a part of this organization! I really want members to feel like they are a part of GVMA, and that their voice matters. The opportunity to facilitate conversations with our members and bring their ideas forward- I can’t wait!”

If you’ve ever met Dr. Mackey, you know her passion for reptiles, avians, and other exotic pets is truly contagious. Just last week, she and Dr. Victoria Bender, GVMA Board Member, hosted our first ever Exotic Pet Veterinary Symposium. The weekend focused on exotic medicine 101 with some hands-on wet labs in the afternoon. One thing they both hope to see is more young associates showing interest in practicing exotic medicine, as well as introducing avian or reptile medicine to GP clinics.

How does a veterinary student or associate become a reptile veterinarian? Are there groups or associations in which to get involved? 

Veterinary schools often have programs that provide the basics of reptile medicine, but most times associates will have to take the initiative to learn reptile medicine on their own. Dr. Mackey suggests joining organizations such as the Association of Reptiles and Amphibian Veterinarians. They’ve got care sheets, member Facebook groups, and an excellent annual conference that is in conjunction with other veterinary exotic animal organizations (ARAVExoticsCon).

“I recommend having some reptiles of your own – they will teach you subtleties you would never get from a book! You can also volunteer with reptile rescue groups to get some practical hands-on experience. And if reptiles are your passion, you can specialize, and become a reptile and amphibian diplomate.”

This Women’s History Month, the GVMA is proud to celebrate the women of the veterinary profession here in Georgia. Do you have someone you think should be featured? Send us their name, email, and why you think they should be featured to gvma@gvma.net.