Our veterinary specialty and emergency team are led by veterinarians whose focus is on the welfare of patients first and foremost.
Specialty Director Jeff Phillips, DVM, MSpVM, Ph.D., DACVIM, leads a team of five additional board-certified specialists, and a dynamic team of highly-trained emergency veterinarians and veterinary interns. This incredible medical force is supported by the best team of veterinary technicians, technologists and support staff in eastern Tennessee.
JEFF PHILLIPS, DVM, MSPVM, PH.D, DACVIM
As specialty director, Dr. Phillips helps guide and grow Animal Emergency & Specialty Center, ensuring a standard of care and the selection of specialists that best meet our client’s needs. As head oncologist, Jeff takes great pride in being able to serve patients with cancer.
“I treat people’s pets as if I was going through the same thing as an owner. If I give it any less effort, I wouldn’t be happy, so I try to maintain that level of attention,” says Dr. Phillips.
Phillips graduated from Pomona College with a bachelor of science in chemistry in 1992. He then attended Tufts University, completing a combined Ph.D. (Medical Genetics) and DVM program at the Sackler School of Biomedical Sciences and the Veterinary School, respectively. In 2001, Jeff attended NC State University for a rotating internship in small animal medicine and surgery. In 2002, he began a residency in medical oncology while simultaneously completing his master’s in preventative veterinary medicine.
After completing his specialty training in 2005, Phillips accepted a position as an assistant professor of oncology and medical genetics at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine. There, he served as director of clinical research from 2009 – 2011 while running the college’s medical oncology teaching and clinical program.
In 2011, he accepted a clinical position as head of oncology at the Animal Emergency and Specialty Center, where he has focused on clinical practice. Throughout his career, Dr. Phillips has also upheld the importance of teaching and research. Thus, since 2011, he has also served as the chair of biomedical sciences and associate dean of research at Lincoln Memorial University. In this position, he hopes to continue research for his specialized field, recruit strong faculty members to run an oncology program and create a robust curriculum for budding young veterinarians.
Jeff Phillips, DVM accepted the position of specialty director in 2017.
He lives on a 20-acre farm in Mascot, TN, with his wife, two sons and daughter, nine cats, four dogs, and 18 horses, one of which was a rescue blood donor horse.
MARK BOHLING, DVM, DACVS
Dr. Bohling is a California native; however, he has been in East Tennessee for ~11 years. Dr. Bohling is a 1986 graduate of the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis. After working as a food animal veterinarian for six years, he began working in small animal general and emergency practice in 1992. In 2004, he completed residency training in small animal surgery at Auburn University, and has been board certified since 2006. In 2007 he finished a PhD, also at Auburn, where his dissertation work focused on comparative wound healing, specifically regarding how wound healing in cats differs from wound healing in dogs.
From 2005 to 2012, Dr. Bohling served on the faculty at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine. He entered private surgery practice in 2013 (RIVER in Chattanooga) where he served as the Chief of Surgery and practiced as both a general and orthopedic surgeon. Within the field of general surgery, he has a strong interest in surgical oncology with expertise in reconstructive surgery, wound management, and surgery of exotic species.
JACQUELINE C. WHITTEMORE - DVM, PhD, DACVIM (SAIM)
Dr. Whittemore was raised in the Midwest, living everywhere from Minnesota to Tennessee. After graduating from Purdue University in 1995, she moved to California where she discovered her true calling in veterinary medicine. She received her DVM from the University of California, Davis College of Veterinary Medicine in 2000. After two years in small animal general practice, she completed a residency in small animal internal medicine at Colorado State University in 2005, followed shortly by a PhD. Dr. Whittemore joined the faculty at the University of Tennessee, College of Veterinary Medicine in 2007. She was promoted to Associate Professor in 2012 and served as the Acree Research Chair from 2016-2021.
Dr. Whittemore particularly enjoys the way clinical practice intersects with research, drawing inspiration from her patients and their owners to advance veterinary care. To this end, she maintains a partial appointment at UT as a Clinical Associate Professor. Her research includes developing minimally-invasive and endoscopic techniques to improve patient outcome; decreasing negative effects of drugs on the gut of dogs and cat, particularly through the use of probiotics; and detecting systemic effects of canine endocrine disease.
When not hunkered over records in the clinic, Dr. Whittemore can be found developing new resources for use in her immersive endoscopy courses for small animal specialists and technicians. Her online-only and small group on-site courses have been taken by more than 1,500 veterinary professionals, representing over 60 countries around the globe. Though highly skilled in advanced endoscopic procedures, what often stands out to peers is Dr. Whittemore’s knack for improvisation.
Dr. Whittemore lives in South Knoxville with her husband, daughter, dog and two cats. In her free time, she enjoys backpacking in the Smokies with her family, crafting, doing construction work with Habitat for Humanity, and swing dancing.
NATASHA HODGSON, DVM, MS, DACVECC
Dr. Hodgson lived in upstate NY most of her life. After finishing undergraduate studies at Syracuse University, she worked for a year in the toxicology department at a pharmaceutical company. She then attended veterinary school at Cornell while working in Cornell’s small animal ICU during nights and weekends.
After veterinary school, Hodgson pursued a one-year rotating internship at Carolina Veterinary Specialists in Charlotte, NC. After completing a masters degree and three-year residency in emergency and critical care at University of Illinois, she joined Animal Emergency & Specialty Center.
Dr. Hodgson’s clinical interests include mechanical ventilation, hemodialysis, coagulopathies, and traumatic brain injuries, among others.
She moved to Tennessee with her six dogs and fiancé, who is also a veterinarian.
SARAH DUNCAN, DVM, CVA - EMERGENCY CLINICIAN
Growing up, Sarah Duncan, DVM, CVA always wanted to be a veterinarian. While completing her undergraduate degree, she worked at a pet store and then as a veterinary technician. She then decided to pursue her lifelong dream to become a small animal veterinarian.
After obtaining her doctorate of veterinary medicine from the University of Florida in 2007, Dr. Duncan went on to complete a one-year rotating internship in small animal surgery and medicine at a specialty and referral hospital in Albuquerque, NM. She then worked three years as an emergency veterinarian in a specialty hospital in South Florida.
In 2011, Duncan relocated to Knoxville, TN, and joined the Animal Emergency and Specialty Center team. She has quickly become a vital member of the AESC family, also investing in the training and developments of future veterinarians as our intern director. To provide patients with a full range of options, particularly for chronic illness and pain, Dr. Duncan pursued additional training in acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine. She is a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist.
“As an ER vet, I like triaging and saving animals in their time of need. It’s wonderful to see an animal that may be touch and go at first, be able to save its life, and then be able to give the owner their pet back to continue to love,” she says.
She is dedicated to providing exceptional emergency care to animals in need, and to serving as a resource for referring veterinarians. “We are extremely cutting edge here and very comparable to a human hospital in many ways,” Dr. Duncan adds.
Sarah Duncan, DVM lives in Lenoir City with her family and their three cats, Charlie, the Babe, and Earl Grey. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, and working on her family’s genealogy.
JENNIFER WALLER-RUTHERFORD, DVM - EMERGENCY CLINICIAN
Dr. Waller was born and raised in Knoxville, TN. Although she ventured to North Carolina and even St. Kitts and Nevis for her veterinary education, coming home to Knoxville was always part of her long-term plan. After working for a year at a private practice in Kingsport, TN, Waller came to work for AESC in the winter of 2010 as an emergency veterinarian.
After just a few months on the job, Dr. Waller performed a late-night emergency surgery on a dog, keeping him alive in the process. “I went out to talk to the owner and they thanked me for saving their pet’s life. That is when I realized that I had made a difference in the owner’s life, and that this is definitely what I want to be doing,” she says.
In addition to practicing emergency medicine, she enjoys working with the other compassionate and caring veterinarians at the Animal Emergency and Specialty Center. “In working here, we want to do what’s best for these animals. To me, going above and beyond to take care of them is what stands out about this animal hospital. I’ve learned so much from the other veterinarians. I’ve learned more in one year than most learn in five years.”
Jennifer received her bachelor’s in biology from Wingate University and her doctorate of veterinary medicine from Ross University.
Jennifer Waller, DVM lives in Knoxville with her husband, Brian. In her free time, she enjoys catching up with her friends and family, reading and spending time with her pets.
HANA TORIBARA, DVM - EMERGENCY CLINICIAN
Dr. Toribara is an internship-trained veterinarian interested in small animal emergency medicine. She graduated from Washington State University's College of Veterinary Medicine and completed an internship at Iowa State University. Other professional interests include diagnostic imaging, clinical pathology, internal medicine, and surgery. Non-professional interests include novels, cooking, baking, hiking, camping, kayaking, rowing, and rugby.
SHARON STONE-DUMER, DVM - EMERGENCY CLINICIAN
As a child, Dr. Stone was always curious about creatures great and small. She would spend countless hours watching nature shows and reading books on animals. Still, it wasn’t until she was in college that she decided becoming a veterinarian was where her passion lies.
Dr. Stone obtained her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from The University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine in 2008. At an internship at a private practice and emergency hospital in Tucson, Arizona, Sharon gained experience in exotics, wildlife, and zoo medicine. She soon fell in love with emergency and critical care.
Sharon met her husband, who lived in Las Vegas, and moved there in 2010. In Las Vegas, Sharon worked at a very high volume general practice that saw a large amount of critical cases and emergencies. In addition, she gained experience in surgery, endoscopy, and ultrasound, but she always knew she would return to where it all started and move back to Knoxville.
Sharon lives in Knoxville with her husband and two daughters. Her household also includes one cat (Havoc), two huskies (Maya and Malek), and a corgi (Mace). She is a proud geek and loves all things Star Wars, sci-fi, and comics. Outside of work, Sharon enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, cooking, and making crafts.