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Get to Know the AAV International Committee Members

Committee Co-Chairs: Nico J. Schoemaker, DVM, PhD, Dipl ECZM (Small Mammal & Avian), Dipl ABVP-Avian and Isabelle Langlois, DMV, Dipl. ABVP (Avian practice)


Nico J. Schoemaker, DVM, PhD, Dipl ECZM (Small Mammal & Avian), Dipl ABVP-Avian

Nico Schoemaker graduated as veterinarian in February 1994. Since then, he has followed an internship in companion animal medicine and a residency in Avian Medicine and Surgery at the Department of Clinical Sciences of Companion Animals at Utrecht University. The avian residency was recognized in the USA (ABVP) as well as in Europe (ECAMS), allowing him to follow both programs simultaneously. Since 1998 Nico is a Diplomate ABVP - certified in avian practice and a Diplomate European College of Avian Medicine and Surgery. By passing the exam, Nico became the first veterinarian in the Netherlands to become an avian specialist after following the residency and passing the exam.


In 2003 Nico defended his PhD on hyperadrenocorticism in ferrets. During this study, Nico proposed a new hypothesis on the etiology of this common disease and a potential way to decrease the incidence on the occurence of this disease. Research is still ongoing to support these hypotheses.


Since 2009 the European College of Zoological Medicine was established, which now incorporates the avian specialty, but now also includes all other specialties dealing with exotic animal medicine. At the time of establishment of this new college, Nico was a "founding member" of the small mammal specialty and is since also a Diplomate in Small Mammal Medicine. He thereby became the first Small Mammal specialist in the Netherlands.


As a clinician-specialist at the Division of Zoological Medicine Nico predominantly treats small mammals and birds, although he will see and treat reptiles as well. Aside from being a clinician Nico is heavily involved in all aspects of teaching at a university setting and performing research. The latter is focused on adrenal tumors in ferrets, relevant clinical topics in avian and small mammal medicine as well as studies into feather damaging behaviour in parrots, together with Yvonne van Zeeland.


Isabelle Langlois, DMV, Dipl. ABVP (Avian practice)


Isabelle Langlois graduated from the Faculté de médecine vétérinaire of the Université de Montréal in 1997. She completed an internship in small animal medicine and surgery at the University of Saskatchewan and a residency in avian/exotic animal medicine and surgery at the University of Tennessee. In 2001, Isabelle became board-certified by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP) in avian practice. She has been active in the certification process of the ABVP as vice-chair for the Avian Practical Examination and serving on the Credentials Committee. She has authored a number of peer-reviewed studies, book chapters and currently serves as associate editor of the Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery. She is currently a clinical instructor and service chief of the Exotic animal clinic of the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vétérinaire (CHUV) of the Université de Montréal. She teaches veterinary students in avian/exotic animal medicine and is responsible for the internship program in Zoological medicine.



Committee Members

Elisabeth Blom, DVM

Oslo, Norway


Elisabeth currently resides in Oslo, Norway and is a single mom to Marius who is now 20 years old. She graduated from vet school in 2000, and has seen parrots in her practice since then. As owner, her experience with feathered friends has included 5 budgies, 2 cockatiels, 2 small sulphur crested cockatoos and a blue fronted amazon parrot. She has always worked in a mixed practice and about 1/3 of her patients have been parrots. The exotic animal vet environment in Norway is very limited, and includes about 5 practitioners. To gather experience, she made an appointment with 15 pet shops in Oslo, and started to examine all the animals in the stores once a month, and then gave out a free check when they were sold. When it comes to exotic practice, she has attended 2 AAV Conferences and 4 other courses in exotic animal practice. She has given lectures to vet students and the technicians in pet bird-, rodent- and rabbit- medicine. On occasion, she has given lectures in exotic medicine to vets, vet students, technicians, pet stores and owners on a private basis.


For 17 years, she worked at a medium-sized clinic in Oslo, Volvat Animal Clinic, and at an emergency clinic in cooperation with the university (Smådyrvakta). In December 2016, she started her own small animal clinic to be able to develop her bird practice and to work according to her own values. To be a more active member In AAV is important to extend her knowledge and ability to serve my patients. She is looking forward to get to know you.



UQ Veterinary Medical Centre, School of Veterinary Science

The University of Queensland, Australia

Bob Doneley graduated from the University of Queensland in 1982. After working as an associate in veterinary practices in Bundaberg, Brisbane, the UK, and Toowoomba, he opened the West Toowoomba Vet Surgery in 1988.  Bob sold the practice in August 2010, initially to take up the position of Head of the Small Animal Service at the University of Queensland Veterinary Medical Centre at Gatton, and now is a Senior Lecturer and Head of the Avian and Exotic Pet Service.


Shortly after graduation, he discovered an increasing interest in avian medicine which saw him obtain his Membership of the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists in 1991 and his Fellowship in 2003, becoming Queensland’s first registered specialist in avian medicine.  He has authored 2 textbooks on avian medicine, as well as over 20 papers in peer-reviewed journals. Bob has been extensively involved in his profession, been a member of several professional organisations, including the Australian Veterinary Association,  the Unusual and Exotic Pets Veterinary Special Interest Group, the Association of Avian Veterinarians, and the Association of Reptile and Amphibian Veterinarians. He was on the Board of Examiners of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists from 2004 till 2010. 

Bob has been married to Maree since 1985. They live in Hodgsonvale, just south of Toowoomba. Queensland; their children (Liz and Pat) have no desire to be vets – Liz is with the Australian Federal Police and Pat is a law student.


James M. Harris, OAM, BS, DVM, FRSPH 

Mayfair Veterinary Clinic 

Tasmania, Australia


James Harris is a graduate of Michigan State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, 1958. He has kept avian species since he was 4 years old and started seeing avian species in private practice in 1961. Interests include "Birds of Prey", their treatment/rehabilitation, endangered species, companion species and domestic poultry.  James practiced in California for some 40 years and for the past 12 years in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. He is a Past President of the AAV. Currently he serves on the International Committee, Research Committee, Conservation Committee and Welfare Committee. He has a large flock of geese, ducks and chickens on his farm and sells free range eggs at the practice. 


Deborah Monks

Brisbane Bird and Exotics Veterinary Service

Queensland, Australia


Graduating from the University of Queensland in 1995, Deborah initially worked in a Brisbane southside small animal practice for one year, before moving to a 50% avian clinic on the north side of Brisbane.  She remained there for 3 years, attaining membership of the ANZCVSc in Avian Health (Cage & Aviary Bird) in 1999.  In the next few years, she worked as a locum, an emergency veterinarian and also in general practice.  In 2002 she moved to the United Kingdom, to enrol in an avian residency.  Following the 3 year residency, she had 3 months traveling on motorcycles in the United Kingdom and Ireland, including seeing U2 in Dublin (which was awesome!).  Deborah became a Diplomate of the European College of Zoological Medicine (Avian) and a Fellow of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists (Avian Health) in 2006.   In October, 2006, she opened her own practice in Brisbane, called Brisbane Bird and Exotics Veterinary Service, seeing exclusively avian and exotic pets.  That practice now employs 4 full time veterinarians, and 9 nurses.  She's involved with several professional committees, and likes movies, reading and trying to establish order from chaos!


Jorge Rivero

Lima, Peru

Jorge Rivero is from Lima, Peru. He graduated with a degree in veterinary medicine in 1999 from San Luis Gonzaga University. Jorge practiced avian medicine for 10 years in Lima where he owned Clinica Veterinaria Dr. Plumas, an all bird veterinary practice. He spent time studying avian medicine in Chile, Cuba, and the U.S. While in Peru he was also the consultant for a private zoo and the official veterinarian for the Peruvian Ornithological Federation. His interest in birds began when he was ten years old when he started breeding canaries and English budgies. In 2010, he left practice in order to move to the United States to marry and live with his wife who is also a veterinarian. They currently reside in Sierra Vista, AZ with three parrots, three cats, two dogs and were recently blessed with a son. While living in Arizona, he has worked with the Oasis Bird Sanctuary and the hummingbird rescue team of Cochise County. He has been a member of the AAV since 2000 and is proud to be a member of the international committee.   


Jaime Samour, MVZ (Hons), PhD, Diplomate ECZM (Avian)

Director of Wildlife
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates


Jaime Samour was born in El Salvador, Central America. He graduated as Veterinary Surgeon with Honours at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Veracruz, Mexico in 1978. He spent 7 years studying at the Institute of Zoology, London Zoo devoting most of his time to reptilian and avian medicine. Jaime was awarded a PhD degree by the Royal Veterinary College, University of London in 1987 in the area of avian reproductive physiology. Immediately after, Jaime moved to the Middle East where he has worked ever since, first in the Kingdom of Bahrain and then in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Jaime is a well know presenter at national and international conferences, he is author and co-author of over 175 scientific publications in journals and magazines, the author of 12 book chapters and the editor of 4 books on avian and exotic animal medicine. Jaime was recipient of the British Veterinary Zoological Society/Parke-Davies/Upjohn Award in 1998 and the Ted Labefer Avian Practitioner of the Year Award in 2006. Jaime was awarded Diplomate status of the European College of Zoological Medicine in the avian medicine and surgery specialty in 2004. He currently runs an extensive wildlife collection in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. Jaime is married and has two sons and two daughters.


Brian Speer

Medical Center for Birds
Oakley, California
United States


Brian has been steeped in feathered things for a “few” years. He received his DVM degree from the University of California at Davis in 1983, has been a diplomate of ABVP since 1996 and ECZM since 1999. He is past-president of the AAV (1999-2000). Brian is in an exclusively avian private practice in Northern California. He currently serves as a consultant for the Veterinary Information Network, ECZM Scientific Committee chair, Editor for the Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery, and is the director of the Medical Center for Birds. Over his career, Brian has been the recipient of the Lafeber Award (2003), Speaker of the Year award at the North American Veterinary Conference (2006), AAV President’s Award (2007), and WVC Continuing Educator of the Year (2016). Brian is co-author of The Large Macaws (1995), co-author of Birds for Dummies (1999), and Editor for Current Veterinary Therapy in Avian Medicine and Surgery (2015). 



Yvonne van Zeeland, DVM, MS, PhD, Dipl ECZM


After receiving her Master in Veterinary Research (topic: Cellular Aspects of Iron Storage in Birds) in 2002 and obtaining her DVM with merit in 2004, Yvonne van Zeeland worked for a short while in private practice in the Netherlands. She then returned to Utrecht University where she successfully completed a one-year rotating internship in Companion Animal Medicine, followed by a residency in Avian Medicine and PhD on feather damaging behavior in Grey parrots, which she both successfully completed in 2013. Aside from her recognition as a Dutch and European specialist in Avian medicine, Yvonne also became certified as a parrot behavior consultant (2012) and received ade facto recognition in Small mammal medicine in 2014 (ECZM-Small mammal).

Throughout her career, she won several prizes and awards, including the IAMS/EUKANUBA Award for “Best of class in Nutrition” in 1999, the 1st and 2nd prize of the “Resident and Research Award” of the Dutch Spring Conference (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) in 2005 and 2006, the “Junior teacher award” of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in 2012, and the Donald W Zantop Emerging Leader Award (AAV) in 2014.

Yvonne is currently employed at the Division of Zoological Medicine where she devotes her time to research, teaching and patient care with regard to birds, small mammals and other exotics. She furthermore is actively involved in post-graduate trainings of veterinarians and veterinary technicians in the Netherlands and abroad and contributes to the international development and advancement of Avian and Exotic Animal Medicine through lectures, publications and membership of various professional organizations and committees, including serving as AAV's President-Elect for 2017-18.

Shiwani Tandel

Mumbai, India

Shiwani Tandel received her Veterinary Degree (B.V.Sc & A.H.) and Master's Degree in Animal Reproduction in 2004 from Bombay Veterinary College in Mumbai, India. She completed her M.V.Sc in 2007 and also completed her M.Sc in Conservation Medicine from The University Of Edinburgh in 2015. She believes education is a lifelong process and should be freely available to those who desire to seek it. Her aim is to get veterinary schools to recognize avian and exotic animal medicine as a separate specialty, to keep updating her knowledge about veterinary medicine and impart it to those less fortunate. She has published numerous articles and lectured at many veterinary conferences on the topic of avian medicine. She is the owner of Phoenix Veterinary Specialty, an exotic animal practice in Prabhadevi. She also currently serves as AAV and AEMV's liaison in India and serves on the Core Committee for the Great Indian Bustard Conservation Program for Maharashtra State.


Shangzhe Xie



Shangz was born in Singapore, but moved to Perth, Western Australia to start his veterinary journey. He graduated from Murdoch University in 2008 and went straight to work in a rabbit-focused exotic pet practice, whilst enrolling in a Masters degree in Conservation Medicine. A year later, he gave up the sandy beaches of Perth for the skyscrapers of Chicago for a change of scenery and to work in a corporate-owned general practice. Two years later, the lure of world-class red wine from the Barossa Valley and a chance to embark on a PhD studying the effects of heat stress on Australian desert birds lured him back to Adelaide, South Australia. He thought this would be the end of his clinical career, but as fate had it, an opportunity came up to set up an exotic pet department in the local specialist/referral hospital, and he seized it with both hands. After juggling both research and clinical work for 5 years, a chance to return home to take up a position with Wildlife Reserves Singapore came up, and Shangz decided to come full circle and is now back on the sunny island with his wife and 2 sons.

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