“Don’t be afraid to work a little harder than you think you should.” Dr. Rod Hall was living that approach to life long before he started offering it as advice to young veterinarians.
Dr. Hall’s career as a veterinarian has spanned nearly four decades, including having served as State Veterinarian with the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry (ODAFF) since 2011. His dedication to not only people but the animals he cares for was recognized as Dr. Hall was presented the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association’s (OVMA) Veterinarian of the Year Award during the OVMA’s 101st Annual Convention & Expo held January 28-30 in Tulsa.
The Veterinarian of the Year Award is the highest honor awarded to an OVMA member in recognition of contributions to the profession. The honoree is someone who has contributed to the advancement of organized veterinary medicine on the local, state, regional or national level; has demonstrated outstanding compassion and achievement in advancing the welfare of animals; has contributed to community, practice, education, research or regulatory service and has participated in public relations activities or projects that have created a positive image for veterinarians in their community or the State of Oklahoma.
“This award means that my colleagues have noticed the way I’ve worked to be a good veterinarian and to promote our profession and that they appreciate it,” Dr. Hall said. “I think I’ve worked hard to be professional and ethical in my practice and to get an award like this sort of confirms that for me. OVMA has been giving this award for a number of years and the people who have won in the past have been veterinarians and human beings I hold in the highest regard. To be considered alongside them is an unbelievable honor to me.”
In 2011, Dr. Rod Hall was named as the state veterinarian by Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture Jim Reese. Before that, Dr. Hall had worked for ODAFF as a staff veterinarian since December 2006 as director of cattle programs and the aquaculture program. As state veterinarian, Dr. Hall is in charge of handling the regulatory components of the Animal Industry division as well as working with other state and federal agencies to monitor foreign animal diseases, import regulations and any animal health situations that may occur.
Dr. Hall is originally from Stonewall and was raised on a family farm where he got his first start in animal husbandry assisting in the care and management of the family’s small dairy herd. He worked as a veterinary assistant during his high school years in Ada before moving on to veterinary school at Oklahoma State University. Upon graduation from OSU, Dr. Hall worked as Associate Veterinarian at Ridgeview Veterinary Hospital in Alva then returned to southern Oklahoma to own and operate Tishomingo Animal Clinic for 28 years as a mixed-practice rural vet clinic.
“I graduated from vet school in ’77 so I’ve been a veterinarian for 39 years now,” he said. “My mentor told me when I was trying to decide whether to open a practice in Tishomingo, which had two veterinarians in the past but both had moved on, that if I worked hard and treated people right a veterinarian could make a living anywhere. I had been taught to work hard and treat people right by my parents and my teachers and coaches so Catherine and I dove in and made a good living and raised our family in Johnston County. That is still the message I give young veterinarians today: ‘Don’t be afraid to work a little harder than you think you should, get involved in your community, treat people right and do your best, and you will develop a loyal clientele.‘ I believe Veterinary Medicine is a wonderful profession and I’m happy to now get the opportunity to help other veterinarians and the livestock industry I love.”
Dr. Hall resides in Norman.
Dr. Hall has been involved in civic groups and professional associations throughout his career. These include: The American Veterinary Medical Association, OVMA, American Association of Bovine Practitioners, President of the Tishomingo Lions Club, Johnston County Chamber of Commerce Director, BancFirst Tishomingo Director, Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association Director, Tishomingo School Board, Johnston County Junior Livestock Association, and President and Manager of Johnston County Little League. Dr. Hall was the 2007 Johnston County Citizen of the Year and received the 1984 Tishomingo FFA Honorary Farmer Award.
Dr. Charles Helwig, Executive Director of the OVMA, was asked what stands out to him about Dr. Hall. “I think it’s primarily his dedication and commitment and follow-through,” Dr. Helwig said. “He’s outstanding in his current position with his ability to communicate with other veterinarians. He is very well-suited for this position because of his experience of being in private practice.”