In Memoriam: A Tribute to Our Beloved Board Member, Dr. Theresa Bernardo (DVM, MSc)
Skip to Main Content

In Memoriam: A Tribute to Our Beloved Board Member, Dr. Theresa Bernardo (DVM, MSc)

Last week, on March 13th, we lost a cherished member of the VWB Canada Board of Directors, Dr. Theresa Bernardo (DVM, MSc). Dr. Bernardo passed away suddenly after a brief battle with ALS, leaving behind a legacy of passion, innovation, and dedication to the advancement of international veterinary medicine, animal health, public health, and teaching.

Dr. Bernardo joined our Canada Board of Directors in September 2021, bringing with her a wealth of expertise in One Health and International Veterinary Medicine and enriching our discussions and initiatives with her unique insights. As colleague Dr. Deb Stark (DVM) describes, "Theresa was a One Health pioneer, and our profession is a lesser place without her."

With over a decade of experience in the United Nations and Inter-American systems and another decade in academia, Dr. Bernardo was a globally recognized innovator in health informatics and had been leading efforts to develop a baseline for the Global Burden of Animal Disease to evaluate livestock disease and health issues around the world. Dr. Jennifer Ogeer (BSc, DVM, MSc, MBA, MA), Board Member and Chair, reflects, “Theresa was a brilliant and iconic trailblazer in her own right, but also a genuinely warm, kind-hearted, and generous friend."

Dr. Bernardo’s tireless efforts in developing multilingual disease surveillance and mapping software, utilized in over 100 countries, underscored her commitment to leveraging technology for the betterment of animal and human health worldwide. Her role as the IDEXX Chair in Emerging Technologies and Preventive Healthcare exemplified her dedication to addressing complex health challenges through multidisciplinary, data-driven solutions. Her leadership at the University of Guelph's Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) demonstrated her dedication to mentoring graduate students, veterinary students, and field veterinarians.

Her sudden passing comes as a shock, leaving behind precious memories and a profound sense of loss. Reflecting on Dr. Bernardo’s character, Jeffrey Wichtel, OVC Dean, said, “I will miss Theresa – she was a humanitarian who served as a role model for me, personally and professionally."

In a final note to family, friends, and colleagues, Dr. Bernardo thanked her community for enriching her life, and noted, "Be kind to everyone and treasure each precious day." As we honor her memory, we are committed to carrying forward her legacy of kindness, compassion, and positive global change.

Dr. Theresa Bernardo will be deeply missed, but her influence will continue to inspire us as we strive to build a healthier, more interconnected world. As colleague Dr. Katinka de Balogh (Dr.med.vet., DESS, Dipl.ECVPH) shares, "We already miss you, Theresa, but you will stay alive in our memories. Rest in eternal peace."

(Colleagues and friends are invited by Dr. Bernardo's family to share a memory or condolence here.)

Stories From Around The World

Learn more about volunteering internationally with VETS: April 23rd, 5-7pm EST in Ottawa

Learn more about volunteering internationally with VETS: April 23rd, 5-7pm EST in Ottawa

Are you passionate about making a difference on a global scale? Do you dream of volunteering overseas and empowering communities in need? Then mark your calendars for an event you won't want to miss...

Read more

Ask an Expert: How has the animal health landscape changed in Ukraine since the full-scale invasion?

Ask an Expert: How has the animal health landscape changed in Ukraine since the full-scale invasion?

Born and raised in Ukraine, VWB's Daria Kuznetsova has witnessed, first-hand, the impacts of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine. She tackles the current state of animal health in Ukraine and how things have changed since the start of the war started in 2022.

Read more

Bridging Science and Tradition: VWB bursary recipient, Jessie Olson’s, work on caribou health

Bridging Science and Tradition: VWB bursary recipient, Jessie Olson’s, work on caribou health

Across northern Canada, Veterinarians Without Borders (VWB) collaborates with remote communities, responding to their invitations to address animal care needs. Together with community representatives, we develop comprehensive plans to enhance local capacity, organizing temporary veterinary clinics staffed by dedicated volunteers.

Read more

  • My voluntary assignments in Ghana for the past three years have dramatically improved animal production in terms of reducing mortality and increasing the size of the herd/flock.
    - Joseph Ansong-Danquah

Become A Part Of The Big Picture

By supporting Veterinarians Without Borders through donations or volunteering, you become part of the Big Picture solution. 

Volunteer  Donate   

+1(343) 633-0272 Contact