TVMF Trustee Spotlight: John Dascanio, VMD, DACT, DABVP

TVMF Remains Committed to Supporting the Veterinary Profession

For more than 40 years, the Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation (TVMF) has been committed to supporting the veterinary profession by providing financial assistance in times of crisis, connecting veterinarians with opportunities to serve their communities, advocating responsible animal ownership and promoting and improving the well-being of animals. 

When the pandemic first emerged in early 2020, TVMF staff and trustees, immediately began being proactive and thinking about sustaining current programs and how the COVID crisis might impact fundraising efforts. Over the last 15 months, TVMF has practiced good stewardship and built upon the foundation of established relationships as well as steward new relationships. As we continue to emerge from the pandemic and life returns to more pre-pandemic norms, TVMF trustees are taking this opportunity to consider how TVMF might best serve the veterinary profession and our communities across Texas. This includes outreach to the new Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine as well as veterinarians serving more rural and regional communities. 

In this issue, TVMF is highlighting its newest Board Trustee John Dascanio, VMD, DACT, DABVP, for his commitment, passion and unique contributions to forwarding the Foundation’s mission and commitment to the profession and the animals it cares for. He recently shared how and why he wanted to become part of the more than 40-year-strong TVMF legacy.

Both Dr. Dascanio and his wife Linda, a licensed veterinary technician, come from agricultural backgrounds in northwestern Pennsylvania and upstate New York, respectively. As a teenager, it wasn’t until Dr. Dascanio spent time working as a groom on a Thoroughbred racetrack in Pennsylvania, that he realized we wanted to become a veterinarian. His career has focused mostly on equine reproduction, and he has held a number of faculty positions at veterinary schools in and out of the United States. The excitement of building a veterinary school from the ground up is what brought Dr. Dascanio and Linda to Texas where he accepted the position as the Senior Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs at Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2019.

New to Texas, Dr. Dascanio was not very familiar with TVMA or TVMF. “At the time there were only four full time members of the school. So, it was probably in the spring of 2020 that I learned of the TVMF and their community role. Shortly thereafter we hired Dr. Clayton Cobb, who is an active TVMA member, and a true ambassador of organized veterinary medicine. He introduced me to TVMF and its functions,” Dascanio said. He added that this enabled him to learn more “about the great contribution TVMF makes.”

TVMF is dedicated to supporting veterinary students and we can’t do that without the support and collaboration from both Texas A&M and Texas Tech. Seeking veterinary student and faculty board representation are vital to ensuring TVMF supports veterinary students at all stages of their education and promote philanthropy in the profession.

When Dr. Dascanio heard of TVMF’s commitment to supporting veterinary students, he wanted to learn more. “As the Senior Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs, I wanted to make sure that the Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine students had representation with the organization and also so that I could be involved in community programs that support veterinary medicine. Leah Ann, Chris, and others came for a visit to Amarillo to tour our new facilities and I saw their passion for the organization and, as I learned more about the TVMF’s vision, it led me to pursue this opportunity.”

Dr. Dascanio went on to say, “It is important for veterinary students to become involved [with TVMF and TVMA] so that they understand that a veterinary medical community can affect broad and impactful results. Students need to start networking with others in and out of veterinary medicine so that they will grow in their view of what can be accomplished and how their efforts may make a difference, especially once they become licensed practitioners.”

Although new to the Foundation Board, Dr. Dascanio is no stranger to board service and is excited about the TVMF mission. “I have been on other veterinary medical boards and truly enjoy meeting and interacting with folks who bring varying views in veterinary medicine,” Dr. Dascanio stated. Dascanio has served on the board of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners, Northeast Association of Equine Practitioners, and the American College of Theriogenologists. He hopes that this experience will enable him to highlight rural needs and bring an important perspective to the TVMF Board of Trustees. 

 “Linda and I came from agricultural roots, and I practiced with all large animal species initially before focusing on equine reproduction,” Dascanio said. “I hope that through our educational efforts in recruiting students from rural communities, the veterinary education programs of the state can make an impact.”

Dascanio also noted his personal connection with TVMF.  “I also had a personal connection with current TVMF president, Dr. Chad Harris, who was a former student of mine. It has made it even more enjoyable to reconnect with Chad. [I’m] excited that TVMF is a well-funded, organized, and focused organization with great leadership. With that comes the flexibility to continue support for their various goals and to expand for even more impact. With the generosity of many, TVMF will have long reaching positive effects across many fronts.”

When Dr. Dascanio is not busy shaping the minds of veterinary students, you can find him hiking, playing tennis and golf and throwing pottery (“on a wheel and not at people,” he clarifies!). He and his wife Linda are blessed with two children, where “Sarah who is a pharmacist in North Carolina, and Gabe, a Physician Assistant in Florida.  One day Gabe can diagnosis our health care issues, and Sarah can prescribe our meds – Linda and I should be all set!!”

TVMF is excited to have Dr. Dascanio on the board. His commitment and passion for the Foundation’s mission already, will enable TVMF to better serve animals, pet owners and veterinary professionals across Texas.