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Helen Newman ’79: 2019 Distinguished Alumnus Award

I really enjoy being involved
in the Veterinary field because I feel like we are in
the center of being able to make a difference in pet’s lives but that not only influences the pets, it influences their owners, it influences what
veterinarians are able to do, it helps drive veterinary
medicine forward. Veterinary Transplant Services
is a veterinary tissue bank, so most people have heard of organ and tissue donation on the human side. We do a version of that for animals, their are dogs that have
orthopedic problems, they get stepped on and have
bad hips, they have bad knees, they have fractures that don’t heal. With tissue donation we can
recover grafts from animals who have died and use those
grafts to help animals live better, healthier lives in situations where they
wouldn’t normally heal. UCR really was a great
launching point for me because it provided an opportunity to dive into some science, try to figure out what it was that I liked, enable me to explore athletic
opportunities as well which I enjoyed, gave me the
opportunity to see the world, everything from the Corellian Tower and the physical space of
it and the openness of it, to the collegiality of
students there and you know, I’m still friends with
some of them to this day. So UCR was an amazing starting
point, really, for my life. (calm music) You know, the advice I
give to students starting out at the university is
really to keep your eyes open, push yourself a little bit and that’s exactly what happened for me, I had no idea at UC
Riverside that I would be, you know, starting a couple of businesses and making a difference in
pet’s lives around the world but the building blocks were there. I take advantage of the
opportunities that are there. VTS has grown beyond just,
you know, Helen’s Tissue Bank. Now procedures in veterinary medicine are based upon the availability of having the grafts that
we provide so, you know, a cervical fusion that
enables a dog to walk normally can be done with our bone grafts. We are the leader for providing grafts. Veterinarians in Italy, if they need bone graft, they know who to call. We are enabling pets all around the world to live healthier lives.

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