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Board of Directors

Here you will find the photos and bios of the dedicated team of professionals who work to advance the field of veterinary emergency medicine. Our team is made up of experienced veterinarians and industry experts who are committed to improving the lives of animals and their owners through education, advocacy, and support. We are proud to serve as leaders in the NAVEMS community and are honored to work alongside such a talented and passionate group of individuals.


Sean Majoy, DVM, DACVECC 

Dr. Majoy is a highly educated veterinarian who earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Tufts University and later earned a Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences from Tufts. He currently serves as a clinical specialist for the US Army's 106th Medical Detachment. He is also a dedicated researcher, practitioner and educator in the field of veterinary emergency medicine.


President Elect

Rick Maricle, BAAS, NRP, FP-C

Rick Maricle is the EMS Chair of the Texas Operational Canine Care Committee and captain of EMS training and education at Bexar County ESD#2 in San Antonio, TX. Rick has been in EMS since 2005 and has specialized experience in law enforcement, K9 medicine, critical care transport, and initial EMS education. He has been recently appointed to the National Association of Veterinary EMS – curriculum task force focused on national standardization of operational K9 medicine for EMS. Maricle holds a bachelor’s degree in fire emergency services administration from Texas A&M – San Antonio and maintains certification as a flight paramedic and instructor in multiple NAEMT and AHA disciplines.

Immediate Past President


Dr. Rita Hanel is a graduate of the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine and has obtained specialty certification in both small animal internal medicine and emergency and critical care. She has served as a professor at NCSU College of Veterinary Medicine, Senior Director with BluePearl Veterinary Partners, Chief Veterinary Officer for the Gentle Care Animal Hospital Group in NC, and Director of Consultation Services for Antech Diagnostics. She currently serves as the Senior Director of Clinical Academy Programs for the Veterinary Emergency Group (VEG), where she is privileged to pursue her passion of helping veterinarians be at their best when people and their pets need it most. Dr. Hanel has taught, coordinated, and led courses aimed at training first responders in canine prehospital care since 2000 for both civilian and military organization across the nation. She currently leads K9Down, which is taught several times yearly at NCSU, as a well as a myriad of other on demand courses.


Melissa Edwards, DVM, DACVECC

Dr. Melissa Edwards is a Diplomat of the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care. She received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Colorado State University in 1995 then went into primary care practice prior to entering into a private practice emergency and critical care and became board certified by ACVECC in 2007. Dr. Edwards has spent over 25 years in clinical practice and consulting while also managing practices, contributing to journals and textbooks, participating in training residents, lecturing and instructing at conferences. Dr. Edwards is active as a committee member with the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care, VetCOT prehospital committee, and K9 Tactical Emergency Casualty Care working group and as a member of the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society. She has taught courses nationally on K9 Tactical Emergency and Casualty Care as well as Field Care for Search and Rescue K9’s. She has also participated as a veterinarian for the Iditarod Sled Dog Race in Alaska.


Brent Von Schaumburg, DVM

Dr. Brent Von Schaumburg, an enthusiastic and motivated veterinarian, is passionate about team development and delivering superior patient care. With a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Colorado State University, Dr. Von Schaumburg has a strong dedication to serving operational canines, providing care in emergent and critical situations, and performing soft-tissue surgery. As a current veterinarian with the US Army, Dr. Von Schaumburg prepares himself and his team to provide expeditionary veterinary services in support of global operations. In this role, Dr. Von Schaumburg provides area commanders with real-time animal health and preventative medicine expertise, and maintains varied competencies in order to provide full-spectrum clinical support to operational canines. Additionally, Dr. Von Schaumburg leads, trains, and develops Soldiers from all walks of life. In his free time, Dr. Von Schaumburg enjoys doing anything outdoors with his wife.

Veterinary Medical Director


Dr. Lee Palmer is a highly accomplished veterinarian with a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Washington State University and a Master's in Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Medicine from Auburn University. He has extensive military training and experience, earning several skill badges and honors such as the Parachutist Basic Badge, the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Senior Badge, and the Lynch Leadership Award from the AMEDD OBLC. Dr. Palmer is a honor graduate from various military schools such as the Naval School Explosive Ordnance Disposal and the USAF Basic Military Training.

EMS Medical Director

Kate Zimmerman, DO, FACEP, FAEMS

Dr. Zimmerman started her career in EMS in 1991 and has practiced at the basic, advanced and paramedic levels prior to becoming a board-certified in Emergency Medicine and Emergency Medical Services physician. She has worked clinically at Maine Medical Center since 2006  after completing her residency at the same institution.  She currently serves as the Associate State Medical Director and Trauma Systems Manager for Maine EMS.  She has served as the medical director of the Portland Police Special Reaction Team since 2017 and is a member of the National Association of EMS Physicians where she sits on their operations/tactical medicine committee. Dr. Zimmerman has authored the Operational K9 Medicine protocols for Maine EMS – supported by many local and national experts and is excited to work with the veterinary community to support the prehospital care of operational canines.

Board Member


Dr. Schwartz is an Associate Professor, Director of Tactical Medical Education at the Center of Operational Medicine at Medical College of Georgia. He is a Diplomat of American College of Emergency Medicine and Fellow of National Association of EMS Physicians and American College of Emergency Physicians. He has Doctor of Medicine from Tel Aviv University, completed a residency in Emergency Medicine from University of Texas, Corpus Christi and Fellowship in Emergency Medical Services from University of Texas, San Antonio. He is Lieutenant Colonel in US Army and currently serves as Brigade Flight Surgeon for 28th Combat Aviation Brigade, with operational deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. He provides prehospital and tactical medical education and oversight to military prehospital providers and medical personnel. He has extensive experience in prehospital and operational medicine in both civilian and military setting, and holds board positions with Georgia Chapter of NAEMSP and K9 TECC working group. 

Who is NAVEMS?

NAVEMS serves providers of veterinary prehospital care with the knowledge, information, and inspiration to enable them to be the best in their profession. We deliver focused educational programs and build strong networks to enable you to collaborate with your fellow VEMS professionals.

Contact Us


Call or Text: ‪(540) 369-3618‬ 

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