Veterinary Leadership

BluePearl Veterinary Partners’ Medical Operations Advisory Board (MOAB) advises on medical operations for the company. The members of the board are below.


Jennifer Welser
Jennifer Welser, DVM, DAVCO
Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Jennifer Welser is Chief Medical Officer for BluePearl Veterinary Partners. A board-certified ophthalmologist, Jen has been with BluePearl since the opening of the Manhattan hospital and served as medical director of the three New York City specialty hospitals when they opened in 2006.

Jen is a Michigan native with a doctorate in veterinary medicine from Michigan State University. She is also a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists. She completed an internship at Auburn University and a residency in ophthalmology at Animal Eye Associates that involved a comparative medicine component at the University of Illinois. She also has an undergraduate degree from the University of Vermont.

Before joining BluePearl, Jen first practiced as an ophthalmologist at MSPCA’s Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston. She then started her own practice in California, treating patients in both San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Laura Hinton
Laura Hinton, DVM, DACVS

Dr. Laura Hinton works in BluePearl’s Houston hospitals. Board certified in surgery, she is particularly interested in surgical oncology, thoracoscopy, laparoscopy and orthopedic conditions such as fractures, stifle disease, hip dysplasia and total hip replacements.

Laura completed her residency at The Ohio State University in Columbus and her intership at Auburn University in Alabama. She earned her DVM and undergraduate degrees from Texas A&M University in College Station.

A frequent volunteer at her church, Laura also enjoys reading fiction and spending time with her family, including her husband, son and daughter. They share their home with a disabled, but determined, long-haired cat and an Australian shepherd who carries around Laura’s shoes when they don’t go running.

Erick Mears
Erick Mears, DVM, DACVIM

Dr. Erick Mears has been with BluePearl and its predecessor, Florida Veterinary Specialists, since 1997. Board certified in veterinary internal medicine, Erick completed his residency and his internship at University of Tennessee in Knoxville. He earned his DVM from Tuskegee University in Alabama and his undergraduate degree from Stanford University in Palo Alto CA.

Erick enjoys spending time with his family and Bosco, the family cat.

Laura Tseng DVM, DACVECC

Dr. Laura Tseng was an owner and co-hospital director of Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center (VSEC) in Pennsylvania, which became a BluePearl Veterinary Partners hospital in 2015. Board-certified in veterinary emergency and critical care medicine, she is particularly interested in blood coagulation and management of shock and trauma patients.

Laura completed her internship, fellowship and residency at the University of Pennsylvania. She earned her DVM at Tufts University in Medford MA and her undergraduate degree from Connecticut College.

When she’s not working, Laura enjoys playing Ultimate Frisbee, hiking, reading, traveling and spending time with her dog, Ginger Snap, and cat, Perry.

Lauren Boyd, DVM, DACVIM

Dr. Lauren Boyd joined BluePearl in 2011 and works in our Michigan hospitals. She is board certified in internal medicine.

Lauren completed her residency in internal medicine at Animal Medical Center in New York City and her internship in small animal medicine and surgery at Veterinary Referral and Emergency Center in Norwalk, Connecticut. She earned her DVM from The Ohio State University in Columbus.

When she’s not working, Lauren enjoys reading, cooking, horseback riding and hanging out with her husband, son, two cats named Cody and Clancy, and her Jack Russell terrier named Tucker.

Mark Dorfman, DVM, DACVIM

Dr. Mark Dorfman is one of the founding partners of Georgia Veterinary Specialists, which merged with BluePearl in 2010. He serves on BluePearl’s board of directors and continues to act as medical director of BluePearl in Georgia. Mark’s clinical interests include gastroenterology, feline hyperthyroidism and urology.

Board certified in internal medicine, Mark completed his residency at the University of Georgia in Athens and his internship at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. He earned a master’s degree from University of Georgia and his DVM and undergraduate degrees from the University of Florida in Gainesville.

Mark loves spending time with his family and his dog, Titan. He also enjoys traveling, sampling the many fine restaurants around Atlanta and exercising/weight training.

Jeff Klausner, DVM, MS, DACVIM

Dr. Jeff Klausner is a consultant for the veterinary industry. He retired in 2014 from Banfield Pet Hospital, where he served as Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer.

Before joining Banfield, Jeff was president and CEO of the Animal Medical Center in New York City, where he was recruited after being dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Minnesota, the institution where he also earned his master’s and completed his residency before being propelled from faculty member to department chair to dean.

Jeff has published 64 peer-reviewed journal articles, 20 non peer-reviewed journal articles and 28 book chapters. His list of honors includes the 2014 American Veterinary Medical Association Meritorious Service Award and 2005 Distinguished Alumni of the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine.

A highly regarded and prolific researcher during his academic career, Jeff received more than $1 million in research grants. His research interests include prostatic neoplasia, immunoabsorptive therapy in canine malignancy, transfusion medicine and informatics.

Jeff and his wife, Diane, live in Portland with their sweet dog Lily, who manages the humans in the household. The Klausners also have two daughters, Jenny and Amy.

Karena Joung, VMD

After graduating pre-med from Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Karena Joung knew her passion for medicine combined with a deep affection for animals would suit a veterinary career. She received her veterinary doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania. Her interest in emergency medicine was cultivated during her internship at Michigan State University where she received recognition as Intern of the Year.

After spending 10 happy years at Hope Advanced Veterinary Center in Vienna, Virginia, she now serves as Medical Director of BluePearl's Rockville hospital. A self proclaimed foodie of the D.C. area, Karena spends her spare time with her husband, their Chihuahua and the two best cats in the world.

Rita Hanel, DVM,  DACVIM (Int Med), DACVECC
VP, Clinical Operations and Recruiting

Rita graduated from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine in 1998, after which she was part of the second rotating small animal internship class at Florida Veterinary Specialists (FVS), now known as BluePearl in Tampa. She then completed a residency in small animal internal medicine at the University of Florida with a successive fellowship in emergency and critical care at Blue Pearl in Tampa. Rita joined the faculty of the North Carolina State University (NSCU) College of Veterinary Medicine in 2006 and was Director of Emergency Services for six years. Over the past 10 years, she pursued her academic interests in the fields of traumatic and hemostatic disorders. She has published more than 20 manuscripts, book chapters and, recently, best practice guidelines for prehospital care of dogs and cats. Rita enjoys first responder training, which she continues to pursue. Through these experiences she developed a passion for the advancement of small animal specialty medicine. In her new role with BluePearl, she plans to continue the tradition of helping clinicians achieve the highest levels of professional and personal accomplishment.

Rita currently resides in Raleigh, North Carolina with her husband, Chris Mariani, and their two children (Sofia and Nate). They share their home with a mixed breed dog (Dori) and a former blood donor cat (Curacao), who believes she is a dog. Their family enjoys time at the beach, pool, hiking...anything outdoors and anything involving UF football. Go Gators!