Natalia Henao-Guerrero has been appointed head of the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences in the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech, effective April 10.

A member of the Virginia Tech faculty since 2007, Guerrero is a tenured associate professor of anesthesiology. She assumes the role after having served as interim department head since 2017, and formerly as associate department head.

“Natalia has served in the role of interim department head since 2017 with a clear focus on advancing the department and thoughtfully serving the needs of faculty,” said Dan Givens, dean of the veterinary college. “I am very excited to announce Natalia’s selection as the department’s leader. I have great confidence that she will stimulate continued and growing success of this critical component of our college for years to come.”

During her time as interim head, Guerrero led efforts to recruit, hire, and onboard 22 new faculty, including a diverse cohort of international specialists in a range of clinical disciplines — including oncology, cardiology, anesthesiology, theriogenology, ophthalmology, and emergency and critical care — whose contributions enhance the teaching, research, and service missions of the college. These efforts significantly advance goals outlined in the college's 2020-2026 Strategic Plan and its 2020-2021 Diversity Action Plan.

At the same time, Guerrero also maintained her role as chief of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital’s anesthesia service. Her team of clinicians and technicians provides multispecies general anesthesia, pain management, and local anesthetic services for small and large animal patients, as well as post-DVM training of interns and residents.

Recognized as an engaged advocate for her faculty, Guerrero strives for each clinician in the department to find a healthy work-life balance.

“It has been an honor to serve as interim department head for the past three years,” said Guerrero, who has worked tirelessly to recruit, retain, and advance faculty at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital. “I am very excited to continue serving and helping our faculty reach their maximum potential while they find job fulfillment and take the department to the next level of excellence.”

A veterinary anesthesiologist and diplomate in the American College of Veterinary Anesthesia and Analgesia, Guerrero, whose teaching, research, and clinical activities focus on anesthesia and pain management, has published 37 peer-reviewed articles. Prior to arriving at Virginia Tech, she completed a residency in anesthesiology at Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in Manhattan.

Guerrero earned a doctorate of veterinary medicine from Universidad de La Salle in Colombia and a master’s degree in veterinary surgery from São Paulo State University in Brazil in 2000 and 2003, respectively.