Inspiring Ideas: College of Veterinary Medicine

Innovative teaching. Encouraging demeanor. A passion for the subject. Contagious enthusiasm. All of these traits help inspire students to great ideas. Here are two faculty members from the College of Veterinary Medicine whose teaching, research, and community service are both inspired and inspiring.

Steve Adair

Horse lovers from across the Southeast travel hours upon hours to bring their beloved four-legged family members to see Steve Adair.

An associate professor of equine surgery in the College of Veterinary Medicine and a veterinary sports medicine and rehabilitation specialist, Adair is known for paying special attention to his patients during their treatment and rehabilitation.

“Dr. Adair has unbridled passion for all horses, but a special place in his heart for equine athletes,” said Jim Thompson, dean of the college.

Adair said when it comes to diagnosing medical problems, there’s a key difference between animal patients and human patients.

“Animals have a different way of communicating their pain with us,” he said. “There’s a process of examination, but also a look in the (animal’s) eye. Over time you develop a sixth sense.

“I enjoy that challenge, and the challenge of teaching students to look for those cues.”

After earning his doctorate in veterinary medicine from Auburn University in 1984, Adair went into private practice in Louisiana, spending much of his time around racehorses. He became interested in horses’ rehabilitation and was accepted to a surgical residency at UT in 1986. He joined UT’s faculty in 1990. His research focuses on laminitis, a foot disease common in horses. He was a charter member of the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Adair treating Pattycake.

Adair primarily treats racehorses and other equine athletes, but one of his better-known cases was that of Pattycake, a five-year-old saddle horse burned in a barn fire. Pattycake had the worst burns Adair had seen in his twenty-five year career. Through five months of treatment at the College of Veterinary Medicine, under the care of Adair, three additional doctors, and eight students, Pattycake mended enough to move to a rehab center closer to her home in Sewanee, Tennessee.

“Dr. Adair is a gifted surgeon who works hard to fully understand his patients’ injuries,” said Thompson, “and then works even harder to develop the best treatment and rehabilitation plans to bring his patients back to their greatest level of performance.”

Apart from his UT work, Adair serves as rehabilitation specialist for the Budweiser Clydesdales.

He is an avid fisherman and he and his wife, Stacey, also a veterinarian, enjoy bird watching across the United States and Central America, and working on their farm in Maryville.

Diane Hendrix

Diane Hendrix chose to go into veterinary medicine rather than human medicine because she liked the idea of working with multiple species. A professor of ophthalmology in the College of Veterinary Medicine, her work takes her from the classroom to the exam room to the operating room.

“A great day for me is when I’ve worked on at least four different species,” said Hendrix. “All these eyes are different. All the anatomies are different. It’s challenging and exciting.”

After receiving her doctorate in veterinary medicine from UT in 1990, she interned at North Carolina State University before spending two years in general practice and then entering a residency at the University of Florida. Her two years in general practice prepared her for what many of her students will face when they graduate. Though Hendrix and her students see a myriad of cases at the College of Veterinary Medicine, Hendrix’s students will see fewer ophthalmology cases in their day-to-day practices once they leave UT.

“At UT we see a lot of cases every day that they aren’t going to see very much of in general practice,” she said. “We’re teaching at all levels. And we have to keep learning ourselves all the time because we’re responsible for teaching our students and our residents the most up-to-date information.”

Thompson calls Hendrix “one of our college’s most gifted clinicians.”

“We all love the enthusiasm, positive attitude, and compassion she brings to work every day,” he said. “She is also a spectacular teacher. It’s fun to see her eyes sparkle when she’s teaching. She helps make our college and hospital a wonderful place.”

Hendrix’s research focuses on corneal disease in horses and finding a new type of therapy for treating the most common form of eye cancer, squamous cell carcinoma.

When she’s not in the classroom or the operating room, Hendrix enjoys hiking in the Smokies with her husband and their two teenage daughters.

C O N T A C T :

Rebekah Winkler (865-974-8304, rwinkler@utk.edu)

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