Advancing RVT Professionals through Education, Science
& Legislation

California Registered Veterinary Technicians Association

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CaRVTA Board of Directors

  Jeffrey Backus, RVT, VTS (ECC),    

Jeffrey started as a veterinary assistant in general practice in 1995. He began working at an overnight ER in 2004 and has done emergency and critical care ever since. He became a RVT in 2009 and was an ER/ICU Supervisor at Animal Urgent Care for over 12 years. Jeffrey also taught part time at his alma mater, Heritage College, for 7 years and is a Program Advisory Committee member for Platt College, Alhambra. In 2013, he passed the AVECCT exam and became credentialed as a VTS(ECC), sat on the AVECCT exam committee for 3 years, and now is on the credentialing committee. He has also been a subject matter expert for the CA VMB. He is currently on the Board of Directors for the California RVT Association, CaRVTA. Most recently, he moved to Massachusetts to join academia, working as an ICU technician at the Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. He is also a frequent lecturer and speaker on all topics related to emergency and critical care, with a focus on toxicology, ECG, pain management, and endocrine emergencies.

Anita Lynn Levy, RVT

Anita got her start in 2001 at Purrfurably Cats in Monterey, California. There she worked under the tutelage of Dr. Gary Brake. The experiences she had with Dr Brake started her on the path of making veterinary medicine her career. She completed her AHT program at Hartnell College in Salinas, California in 2008. Since then, she has worked in all sorts of areas of veterinary medicine: emergency, day practice, specialty, and academia. Anita also has an interest in disaster response for animals and was deployed to assist the ASPCA during the recovery from the 2011 tornado that destroyed much of Joplin, Missouri. A few years ago, Anita decided to take a leave of absence from veterinary medicine to improve her pharmaceutical knowledge. Anita obtained her Pharmacy Technician License and continued learning in the field for over a year before returning with the now extended knowledge to her career of choice as a RVT. This was very useful as the reporting changes that have come to veterinary medicine have been in place for quite a while on the human side. Most recently,  Anita joined Wagly Pet Campus. With this new start up she has been able to further develop and hone her practice management skills. Perhaps more importantly, she has had the opportunity to help set up a new, state of the art, facility that can meet nearly all of its clients needs while continuing to help establish best practices every day for the patients, clients and staff. Currently, she is also pursuing her VTS in Clinical practice.

When the opportunity presents itself, she likes to crochet, knit, quill, or do really any crafty type things.

  Elaine Myers, MS, RVT

Elaine Myers is the Hospital Administrator for the Orange County Emergency Pet Clinics. She oversees both the Garden Grove and Fullerton locations, which provide emergency pet care for the Orange County area in Southern California. She is a graduate of the University of Missouri, where she received her Master’s degree in Animal Science. She was a member of the Small Animal Emergency and Critical Care Team at the University of Missouri Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, where she also taught Animal and Biomedical Science courses. She is a published author in the NAVTA journal. She has been a CA Registered Veterinary Technician since 1998 and spent over a decade working with patients in emergency veterinary medicine before focusing on teaching and administration. She currently lives in Corona, CA with her husband and two children.


Kenichiro Yagi, MS, RVT, VTS (ECC), VTS (SAIM), CaRVTA Director

Over the 18 years in practice, Ken has discovered and refined his role as a veterinary technician by promoting compassionate and progressive care for the patients and their family. He obtained his VTS certification in emergency and critical care as well as small animal internal medicine and obtained his master's degree in Veterinary Science. He is currently the ICU Manager and Blood Bank Manager at Adobe Animal Hospital, and is the Program Director for RECOVER CPR Initiative. Ken has co-edited the Manual of Veterinary Transfusion Medicine and Blood Banking and has published over 25 text chapters and articles in publications such as the Veterinary Team Brief and Today’s Veterinary Nurse. He speaks internationally and has given over 800 presentations.

Ken works to encourage further recognition of the vital role of the veterinary nurses and technicians through work with organizations such as the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America co-chairing the Veterinary Nurse Initiative, and serving as a board member of the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society, the Academy of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Technicians, and the Veterinary Innovation Council. He pursues these goals by showing the value of the profession’s perspective in veterinary medicine.

Ken invites everyone to ask “Why?” to understand the “What” and “How” of our field, and to constantly pursue new limits as veterinary professionals and individuals.


Deborah Calantropio-Covington,
BA, RVT, rLATG, VTS-LAM (Research Clinical Nursing)

I have  been a Registered Veterinary Technician ( RVT) in California since 2006 working at small animal practices and emergency clinics in the South Bay Area. In 2012 I started at a research CRO in Menlo Park working with rodents, guinea pigs, rabbits , non-human primates, swine and dogs and beginning my career in Lab Animal medicine. I have been working for Bristol Myers-Squibb since 2017 assisting with the care and study work of animals in the field of oncology and immunology.  Because I enjoy day practice ( who doesn’t love healthy puppy exams?) I have stayed on as a relief tech at VCA in Los Gatos since 2012 with a great team of doctors and staff. I have obtained my certification as a Lab Animal Technologist ( LATG) in 2014 as well as my VTS-LAM (Research Clinical Nursing) in 2017 and am also the Research Representative for the CVMA Veterinary Technician Board. My passion has always been the welfare of animals in my care,  be it in a hospital or a research facility,  and I am committed to advancing not only welfare standards but the careers of professionals involved in animal care. I am excited about the upcoming  changes to the Veterinary Technician field and look forward to continuing to advance our job roles in the coming years. In my spare time I enjoy belly dancing with my  award winning troupe , Raks Haniah ( the Dancers of Happiness) throughout the Bay Area and spending time with my husband , Joseph, and our Direwolf/Chow mix , Lazarus. ( And watching the Mandalorian….# BabyYoda)


Kayla Meazell, RVT

My name is Kayla Meazell, and I have been in the veterinary field for eight years. I earned my Bachelors degree in Animal Science from UC Davis in 2011. I started as an Emergency assistant at Pet Specialists of Monterey in 2012, and I knew this was what I wanted to do as a career. I enrolled in San Juan College’s Veterinary Technician program, and moved to daytime Surgery/Internal Medicine in 2013. I quickly fell in love with surgery and was promoted to Lead Surgery Technician in 2017, and finally to Specialty Department Technician Supervisor in 2018. I have attended ACVS for 3 years, and presented a Case Report at AVCS in 2018 where I placed second. My goal for 2020 is to obtain my VTS Surgery.

I am interested in becoming a CaRVT Board of Directors because I love this career, and want to be a part of the advancement of veterinary technicians. I believe in lifelong learning and career advancement, as well as preventing burnout by promoting a work life balance. I developed Resilience Training for my department in an effort to promote overcoming adversity by having an awareness, and integrating specific skills, habits, and routines to mitigate stress and negativity. I am also looking to start a health and wellness incentive program at my hospital.


Julie Robinson, RVT

The veterinary industry has given me a broad range of experience over the course of 28 years. Through those years I have worked in an Avian and Exotic Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and Hospital, Emergency and Critical Care, Surgery, Internal Medicine, Oncology, Neurology and more recently General Medicine. It was in 2002, I decided to help my coworkers prevent personal burnout in our industry, because a great deal of my friends who were very skilled and passionate about taking care of animals left the industry all-together. I started to mentor my fellow technicians on how to be heard without causing conflict with management and help them find their niche in veterinary medicine. From there, I became a Training and Safety Coordinator to set up staff for success and professionally invest in their development to align them with the goals of the practice. Through being a Safety Coordinator, I realized the importance of Disaster Management in our industry and in 2007 I joined the National Veterinary Response Team which is a division of the National Disaster Medical System under the Department of Health and Human Services.  Finally, the last 10 years, I have been managing veterinary hospitals by setting up structure, training, compliance and safety; because of this, I have taken pride in putting the right people in the right positions to build leadership teams that create a culture of respect, education coupled with staff that share their knowledge and drive in providing exceptional patient care and client service while at the same time loving what they do. In 2020, I will be obtaining my CVPM and PHRca by the end of the year and will use that to make a broader impact in the veterinary industry.


Philip Snow, RVT

Philip Snow is a Registered Veterinary Technician who co-founded OC Veterinary Assistant School in 2016 where he currently serves as the Executive Vice President and Secretary.  Along with management duties, he also teaches introductory and advanced classes for the school, as well as performing the duties of Externship Coordinator.  He originally began working in the veterinary industry in 2002.  In 2008, after passing both the California and VTNE Board Exams, he became a Registered Veterinary Technician.  He began teaching shortly after obtaining his RVT License and has been teaching full time since 2013, where he has been working in that capacity since.  His experience in veterinary clinics come mostly from Canyon Animal Hospital in Laguna Beach where he worked under the direction of Dr. John Hamil and Dr. Gershon Alaluf.  After working for a decade in the veterinary clinics, he went on to become the Senior Trainer in the Claims Department for what was then Veterinary Pet Insurance, and is now Nationwide Insurance.  Philip considers himself a family man, a life-time student, a veterinary professional dedicated to the betterment of the industry, and an advocate for the advancements for Registered Veterinary Technicians.  His interests in veterinary medicine include, surgery, anesthesia, dentistry, and theriogenology.  He currently lives in Rancho Santa Margarita with his wife, two children, and their bloodhound, Frankie.  He also enjoys taking classes at the local college, golfing, spending time with his family, and watching his son play baseball.


Patty Zehna, RVT

A lifelong animal and nature lover, I became interested in veterinary medicine while volunteering at a local shelter in high school. After detours working in marketing for AT&T and as a cosmetologist, I finally started my career in veterinary medicine in 1993. I began volunteering in the veterinary clinic at Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael, CA and was hired in 1998 to coordinate guide dog veterinary expenses and as a veterinary assistant. I was mentored by several impressive veterinarians and RVT’s while attending the Cedar Valley College distance learning veterinary technician program. I obtained my RVT in 2006. 
I returned “home” to Monterey in 2009 and have worked in many aspects of medicine, including Internal Medicine, ECC, Surgery, Dermatology, and general practice. In 2014, I was hired as an instructor and coordinator to help establish a veterinary assistant program at Central Coast College in Salinas. We are now a full, AVMA approved, veterinary technology program. I continue as an adjunct instructor teaching final year students and serving on the program’s advisory committee. I also currently work in emergency and critical care at a local emergency and specialty practice. My main area of interest is pain management and I have served on the executive board of the IVAPM. I have also previously served on the CaRVTA board of directors and as a district representative for NAVTA. This is my 16th year as a VSPN board moderator and it has been a pleasure to be a part of VSPN through all its incarnations. In my “spare” time I enjoy Pilates, hiking and walking the beach with my two little rescue dogs “Clo Jo” and “Marigold”. My main goals in veterinary medicine is to leave it better than I found it.

Past - President
Leslie Boudreau, BASVT, RVTg, CVPM, PHR, PHRca

Leslie has been a veterinary technologist and practice manager in Southern California for over 25 years. She received her A.S. in Veterinary Technology from Mt. San Antonio College, and her BASVT in Veterinary Technology – Hospital Management, from St. Petersburg College. In 2011, she became a CVPM (Certified Veterinary Practice Manager) a designation held by less than 400 Veterinary Practice Managers worldwide. Leslie holds 2 human resource certifications that she uses daily in practice. Leslie is currently a Practice Manager at Animal Hospital of Huntington Beach, a 7 veterinarian, 50 staff, AAHA accredited small animal & exotic practice.

Registered Veterinary Technicians Association
1017 L Street Suite 389 Sacramento California 95814 
The California Registered Veterinary Technicians Association is a 501(c)6 not-for-profit organization.

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