Dr. Allison O’Kell studied Animal Science as an undergraduate at the University of Alberta, Edmonton in Alberta, Canada, then went on to earn her DVM degree with Great Distinction from Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan in 2008, where she received numerous scholarships and awards. In 2012, Dr. O’Kell completed her residency in Internal Medicine and attained a Master of Science Degree in Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences from the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. After completing her residency, Dr. O’Kell spent the next two years working as an Associate Internal Medicine Specialist, Relief Internal Medicine Specialist and Locum Faculty teaching Small Animal Internal Medicine at various private specialty centers and academic institutions. From 2014-2016, she worked as a clinical research coordinator at the University of Florida Health Cancer Center. After that, Dr. O’Kell accepted a position as Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences at the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Florida, where she is also a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Urology. Dr. O’Kell has been the primary author on numerous published scientific papers in journals such as the American Journal of Veterinary Research and the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine. She is also a reviewer for the Canadian Veterinary Journal, and is the Associate Editor for the journal Topics in Companion Animal Medicine.
In this episode of the Voices of Veterinary Medicine podcast, Dr.O’Kell tells her inspiring story of how she’s found happiness as a clinical researcher, though her dream since childhood had always been to be a clinician. After her rigorous 10 year academic journey to becoming a Board Certified Internal Veterinary Medicine Specialist, and two years of clinical practice after that, it was a non-veterinary, non-clinical position on a human clinical research project that gave Dr. O’Kell her first taste of “work-life balance.” Once she realized what “having a life” was really like, she became determined to find a way to continue having a life – while still maintaining a career in veterinary medicine. With time, courage and creativity, Dr. O’Kell forged a new path for herself, designing a life that encompasses all of the things she loves.
Dr. O’Kell speaks candidly about her struggle to develop an identity not solely based on being a veterinarian, and why she believes it’s crucial in maintaining work-life balance. Dr. O’Kell’s interview is chock full of valuable advice and information, sure to be helpful to anyone looking to find their own unique happiness in the field of veterinary medicine.
Follow this link for information on the Clinical Translational One Health Alliance (COHA) that Dr. O’Kell talks about, and to learn more about its mission of standardizing veterinary clinical trials.