Board of Directors

Ruth Parkin, DVM – President & Chair

Ruth Parkin, DVM – President & Chair

Veterinarian, Self-Employed
Vancouver, Washington
Board Member Since 2002

Ruth grew up on a small family farm in Washington State. She graduated from Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2005, and fell in love with Colorado. After working as a small animal veterinarian in Denver for several years, she recently moved back to Washington State to be closer to her family.

“I participated in my first spay/neuter clinic in Playa del Carmen during the summer of 2002 – I was in my second year of vet school at the time. We had a successful clinic, but there was obviously so much more to be done. The streets in the area were covered with sick, starving animals – a direct result of pet overpopulation and lack of resources to adequately address it. We recognized the need for a sustained presence and vowed to provide as much as we could. Four of us, all classmates at CSU, founded ViDAS that same year and have been working hard toward our cause ever since, sending down several crews a year to do high volume sterilization clinics while keeping our medical and safety standards as high as those used in clinics in the US. We are seeing changes and know that our approach is working! I am so proud of ViDAS, our crews, volunteers and our accomplishments so far and know that we will continue to do great things! Working with ViDAS has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life, and I look forward to working with our great vets, students and volunteers year after year. Thanks everyone for all your hard work!”

Eric Berglund, MPS – Vice President

Eric Berglund, MPS – Vice President

President & CEO, Southwest Florida Economic Development Alliance, Inc.
Cape Coral, Florida
Board Member Since 2008

Eric lives in Commerce City, Colorado in the Reunion neighborhood with his cat, Lennon. He is the CFO for Upstate Colorado Economic Development, a non-profit agency serving Weld County, Colorado. Eric joined the ViDAS family in 2008. He kept hearing about the clinics and decided to see what all the excitement was about going along to serve as the crew’s house chef. He was so excited about the work the crews were doing that in addition to his exhausting duties preparing meals for over twenty-five people, he also lent his skills to the crew in the form of instrument scrubbing, technician and recovery assistance. As our clinics have grown, his duties as chef consume most of his time, but he does get to take the occasional photograph. Eric looks forward to many more successful ViDAS clinics keeping animals healthy, crew members fed and happy!

Kristine Ewing – Treasurer

Kristine Ewing – Treasurer

Hospital Manager, Stay-at-Home Mother
Lone Tree, Colorado
Board Member Since 2015

Kristine was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs. Her love of the mountains brought her to Boulder to study at the University of Colorado. Afterwards, she worked as the Hospital Manager and Area Manager at a small animal clinic in Littleton, with Dr. Ruth Parkin. She lives in Lone Tree, Colorado with her husband, son and Staffordshire Terrier.

It was through her friendship and working with Ruth that Kristine came to ViDAS. In August of 2014, she went on her first trip as a vet tech/photographer and really enjoyed the experience. The people, the crew, the community, the dogs, the hard work … all of it equally amazing and wonderful. She looks forward to being able to attend and support future ViDAS trips.

Katie Thomas, DVM – Secretary

Katie Thomas, DVM – Secretary

Veterinarian & Clinic Owner, Left Hand Animal Hospital
Niwot, Colorado
Board Member Since 2013

Katie grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania and was always playing with the dogs, barn cats, draft horses, and turtles around her family home. She had an interest in science and medicine growing up, but started her education in engineering at the University of Iowa. Finally, though, she decided that veterinary medicine was the perfect blend of her passions: medicine, animals, people, teaching and problem-solving. She finished her bachelors at UC Boulder and attended Colorado State University for vet school. She obtained her veterinary acupuncture certification at the same time.

In 2014, Katie and her business partner opened Left Hand Animal Hospital in Niwot, CO. Her veterinary interests include anesthesia, surgery, dentistry, ophthalmology, pain management/osteoarthritis, neurology, and chronic problems/client education. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, doing volunteer spay/neuter surgery, scuba diving, snowboarding, listening to music, and reading. She enjoys playing with her sassy cat, Brogan, and hiking with her BVHS rescue dog, Dobson.

Stacie Knapp, CVT – Social Media Coordinator

Stacie Knapp, CVT – Social Media Coordinator

Veterinary Technician, Self-Employed
Denver, Colorado
Board Member Since 2002

Stacie became a Certified Veterinary Technician in 1992. She then went on to get her Bachelor’s in Animal Science at the University of Denver in 1995. From there she spent several years in general practice before specializing in Oncology. She works with Veterinary Cancer Specialists in Denver Colorado where she has been since 2000.
In 2000 after several Caribbean trips marred by heartbreaking encounters with stray dogs and cats in dire need of medical attention she wondered if there was a way to marry the two worlds. To be able to go to places in need in the tropics and to use her veterinary skills would be the perfect match. Animals in the tropics face a myriad of challenges related to parasitism, different economic means and cultural differences in standards pet care. She found a small group that focused on the Yucatan and after they changed their focus to the Baja region she found VIDAS.
Stacie has been with VIDAS since it’s an inception back in 2002. She is a board member and veteran veterinary technician volunteer having lost track of the number of clinics she has attended. Her main focus has been the Akumal/Tulum region. She has donated months of her vacation time and hundreds of dollars to help the mission of VIDAS. Having recently had a baby she donated a car to be auctioned with a portion of the proceeds going to benefit VIDAS in lieu of her skills until she can get back to volunteering her time. Volunteering for VIDAS has been life altering. She has learned that with the right people involved you can affect a change for the better in whatever is your personal passion.

Travis Linney, DVM, MBA, MS – Board Member

Travis Linney, DVM, MBA, MS – Board Member

Veterinarian & Post-Doctoral Intern, Blue Pearl – Emergency Animal Clinic
Gilbert, Arizona
Board Member Since 2011

Dr. Travis Linney grew up Just outside of Denver, Colorado at the base of the beautiful Rocky Mountains. At the age of 6, after realizing his natural draw to animals, the outdoors, and all things science, he decided that being a veterinarian was his only path forward, and so it came to be. He started his college career at Colorado State University and completed his BS in Biology in 2009. Shortly after completing his undergraduate degree, while working as a technician at a local emergency vet, he heard about ViDAS through one of his friends/mentors/coworkers and got on board. Following his first volunteer experience in Mexico with ViDAS, he was absolutely hooked. Since that first trip, Travis has attended 12 ViDAS clinics to date and his involvement has grown in the non-profit each year. Back in Colorado, still working on his lifelong dream of becoming a Veterinarian, he pursued an MS in Biomedical Sciences in 2010, and was accepted into CSU’s joint MBA/DVM program in the fall of 2011. Travis graduated from Colorado State University in 2016 with his DVM and now works as an emergency veterinarian in Phoenix, AZ.

Lisa McCarthy, DVM, MBA – Board Member

Lisa McCarthy, DVM, MBA – Board Member

Veterinarian & President, Vet Treks
Fort Collins, Colorado
Board Member Since 2014

Lisa received her veterinary degree from Texas A&M University and later obtained an MBA from Colorado State University. She had an amazing and varied career including experience in private practice, shelter practice, non-profit work, hospital planning and construction, and practice acquisition and management.

After 27 years of treating animals under many circumstances, Lisa gets her greatest joy from volunteering her time and skill for projects that benefit animals and communities that are in need of vet care. She is proud to have been involved with ViDAS since its inception, serving in the past as president, vice-president and secretary/treasurer. To date, Lisa has participated in sixteen ViDAS clinics and served as team leader for eleven of those clinics. She does it not only for the animals but also for the amazingly talented and passionate folks involved with ViDAS: the vets, students, donors, expats and locals in who support us in Mexico are all like family to us. Her involvement with ViDAS has enriched her life and career far beyond any experience she might have had in ‘day to day’ practice. Lisa also lead teams to other international destinations including Kenya and Vietnam, with the goal of creating sustainable veterinary care in areas of need. She really believes the adage that, “The meaning of life is to discover your gift; the purpose of life is to give it away.”

When Lisa is not caring for four-legged kids, she might be found traveling the globe, with her nose in a book about adventure travel, hiking or snowshoeing with her dog Poppy or watching baseball.

Kate Raczak, DVM – Board Member

Kate Raczak, DVM – Board Member

Veterinarian
Long Beach, CA
Board Member Since 2016

Dr. Kate Raczak grew up in Aspen, Colorado. She pursued a BS at Colorado State University and then continued on at Colorado State University for veterinary school. She graduated in 2013 and moved out to California shortly after graduating. She now works as a small animal general practitioner in Long Beach, California. She has been involved with ViDAS since 2012 when she attended her first clinic in Mexico. She has been hooked ever since.

When Kate is not working or participating in ViDAS-related activities, she is usually found spending time with her four-legged furbabies, traveling, doing yoga, hiking, teaching at Fembody Fitness, or hanging at the beach.

Katie MacMillan – Student Representative

Katie MacMillan – Student Representative

DVM Candidate, Colorado State University
Fort Collins, Colorado
Board Member Since 2015

Katie is working to become a second-generation veterinarian, following in her mother’s footsteps. Katie has a background in public health and infectious disease, doing research with CDC before going back to school. Katie is currently in her final year at Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine who has volunteered with ViDAS since 2014. She grew up in Colorado and enjoys spending free time exploring the mountains with her dog Carson.

‘ViDAS is a wonderful organization and I feel lucky to be a part of it. The experiences I have had and the people I have met have shaped the veterinarian I will become and for that I am truly grateful!’

Amber Caress – Student Representative

Amber Caress – Student Representative

DVM Candidate, Colorado State University
Fort Collins, Colorado
Board Member Since 2015

Amber grew up in a small town in rural Alaska and became interested in animal care when she started helping a neighbor with horses used for hunting and guiding. She was fortunate enough to be able to own her own horse and compete in 4H and local horse shows during her teenage years. In 2000 Amber moved to Colorado and completed her bachelor’s degree in Equine Science at Colorado State University. In 2006 Amber switched from large to small animal work when she started working as an Internal Medicine nurse at the CSU James L Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital and became a licensed veterinary technician in 2010.

In 2013 Amber was accepted into the DVM program at Colorado State University and started her career as a veterinary student. It was during this time that she was introduced to ViDAS. The summer of her freshman year she attended her first ViDAS clinic with several of her classmates. Amber wasn’t sure what she was getting into but after her first day of working at a ViDAS clinic, she was hooked. She loved the people and the atmosphere and felt like she was making a difference. Amber has been back to Playa del Carmen with ViDAS three times since then and hopes to continue to work as a veterinarian after she graduates in 2017.

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Animals Safely Sterilized by ViDAS