The NVVMA began in 1975 as a non-profit organization to:      

  • Promote within the veterinary profession the highest degree of skill, integrity and service to the public.        
  • Enlighten the public concerning veterinary medicine and to disseminate information for the benefit of the public regarding appropriate care and treatment of animals.      
  • Improve and elevate the standards of veterinary medicine within the Commonwealth of Virginia
  • Foster the cultivation of professional fellowship among veterinarians in the Commonwealth of Virginia.


President: Elton Vyfhuis, DVM
Dr. Vyfhuis’ veterinary career began with a promise from his parents, that he would get a puppy from a family friend. He begged and pleaded for this puppy, and even though his parents never gave in, his favorite aunt did. She asked him to dog-sit her Chow puppy for a few days, and he never let go! She surrendered the pup, but retained visiting rights.

Dr. Vyfhuis started accumulating pets, including a mischievous kitty, an unpredictable dog, a hamster, budgerigar (type of bird), 5 chickens, 2 rabbits, 2 more cats, 9 more dogs and 2 snakes.

Of course, it takes more than a love of animals to become a veterinarian. When faced with the decision of what degree to pursue as a senior at Banneker High School in Washington, D.C., his love of medicine, nature, and the art of science made it a “no-brainer”.

As an undergraduate at University of Maryland, Eastern Shore, in the honors program for animal science, it was the core pre-vet coursework in which he excelled. “Things come a lot easier when you enjoy doing them”. He graduated from from his college a “super senior” in 1997.

Dr. Vyfhuis went to vet school at Tuskegee University in Alabama in 1998. He is grateful that Tuskegee stressed hands-on experience as much as learning medical scientific advances in the veterinary field.

Vice President: Dr. Julie Wentzel
Dr. Julie Wentzel grew up in Annapolis, Maryland, and graduated from Virginia Tech with a Bachelor of Science in Forestry and Wildlife in 1998. She graduated from the University of Illinois, College of Veterinary Medicine in 2004, where she pursued interests in both wildlife medicine and small animal emergency medicine. After graduation, she completed a small animal emergency medicine internship at Anne Arundel Veterinary Emergency Clinic in Annapolis, Maryland, where she remained on staff for another seven years.

Her family moved to Leesburg, Virginia, where she has spent several years working at Animal Emergency and Critical Care. She completed her Certified Veterinary Acupuncture courses in 2013, and became a Certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner and Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist in 2014. She is passionate about treating acute and chronic pain to improve her patients' lives and assist in their return to a more active lifestyle.

In her free time, Dr. Wentzel enjoys spending time with her family, as well as gardening, bird watching, volleyball, and running. She lives with her husband and their three children and three cats in Leesburg, Virginia.

Secretary: Dr. Kendall Taney
Dr. Taney is a Diplomate of the American Veterinary Dental College and a Fellow of the Academy of Veterinary Dentistry. She has worked at the Center since its opening in 2006 and became a partner in 2008. She has completed internships in both general medicine and surgery, and specialized surgery. She completed her three-year residency in dentistry and oral surgery at the Center and has authored multiple publications in the field of veterinary dentistry. She received the Robert Wiggs Outstanding Candidate award as a resident and is past chair of the Credentials and Examination committees for the American Veterinary Dental College.

Dr. Taney’s special interests include advanced maxillofacial reconstruction and oral oncologic surgery. Dr. Taney is a 2002 graduate of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine and is a rabid Virginia Tech fan.

Treasurer: Dr. Leslie Sinn
Dr. Leslie Sinn obtained both her undergraduate degree in Animal Science and her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Georgia. In addition, she successfully completed an internship in small animal medicine and surgery while overseeing the exotic, avian and wildlife caseload at the teaching hospital.

She moved to Northern Virginia in 1985 where after five years in private practice she joined the faculty at the Northern Virginia Community College's Veterinary Technology Program. During her tenure at NOVA, she taught a variety of courses including anesthesia and behavior and was Dean of the program for 15 years.

She completed a residency in behavioral medicine under the mentorships of Dr.s Valarie Tynes, DACVB and Laurie Bergman, DACVB passing her board examination in 2016, becoming one of only 78 veterinary behavior specialists in North America, Canada and Australia. She currently maintains a private practice, Behavior Solutions, that provides behavioral services to dogs, cats, parrots, horses and other animals throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.

She is a well-known speaker and the author of many articles including her chapter on obsessive behavior in cats in the soon to be released book by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorist’s Decoding Your Cat.

Advisor: Dr. Randy Derbin
He is originally from northeastern Pennsylvania. He spent his undergraduate days at Penn State University where he received a BS in biochemistry and a BS in animal bioscience. He went on to the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Veterinary Medicine where he received his veterinary degree in 2001. The following year, he completed an internship and has since been practicing emergency medicine in the area and currently works at the Regional Veterinary Referral Center in the emergency and critical care department where he is the assistant chief of staff.

He has a strong interest in managing traumatic, toxicological and surgical emergencies. He currently resides in Ashburn with his wife and 3 dogs (Lilly, Briggs and Pete) and 3 horses (Dewey, Skippy and Ellie). In his free time, he enjoys golf, watching baseball and traveling to exotic dive locations. He has been a member of the NVVMA for over 10 years and is looking forward to getting more involved.


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