Frank Nickels, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, longtime professor of equine surgery at Michigan State University who has shaped many successful careers and inspired a profound loyalty among his former students and residents, has received the American Association of Equine Practitioners’ 2013 Distinguished Educator (Academic) Award. Also, a pioneering equine surgeon and former educator who accelerated the careers of his students and trained fellow practitioners in the techniques of cervical stabilization was recognized for his influence when the American Association of Equine Practitioners presented its 2013 Distinguished Educator (Mentor) Award to Barrie Grant, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, MRCVS.

The Distinguished Educator (Academic) Award honors an individual who by his or her actions and commitment has demonstrated a significant impact on the development and training of equine practitioners. The Distinguished Educator (Mentor) Award honors an individual who by his or her actions and commitment has demonstrated a significant impact on the development and training of equine practitioners through mentoring. Nickels and Grant were honored Dec. 10 during the President’s Luncheon at the AAEP’s 59th Annual Convention in Nashville, Tenn.

Although highly regarded as an equine clinician and surgeon, Nickels embraces his role as an educator with just as much zeal. His biannual Musculoskeletal Clerkship, a coveted three-week rotation in which 12 students work up actual lameness cases in small groups and arrive at diagnoses and treatment options, enables students to refine and expand their clinical skills by performing core techniques, including nerve blocks, arthrocentesis, and radiography. The rotation has not only prepared hundreds of Michigan State students for practice but also has served as a model for similar courses elsewhere.