Texas Tech University

Passionate Faculty Member Helps Shape the Next Generation of Rural Veterinarians

Weston Brooks

January 23, 2023

Trista Mills

From rural veterinary practice to teaching, Trista Mills brings a passion to produce competent and confident veterinarians.

Trista Mills spent seven years in veterinary private practice in rural New Mexico. She saw firsthand the growing need to produce competent and confident veterinarians to help rural communities. 

And after seeing a new veterinary school radically change the approach to producing veterinarians, Mills saw her chance to help make this change in veterinary medicine.  

Mills now brings her understanding of and expertise in rural veterinary medicine to Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine in Amarillo, as an assistant professor of general veterinary practice.

“In joining the faculty, I'm hoping I can inspire others to develop a passion and enthusiasm for rural veterinary practice,” Mills said. “I hope I can help them embrace the challenges, and know that they have mentors who are happy to encourage and bounce ideas around when they're faced with new and interesting problems to solve.”

Mills will help teach the school's signature program in clinical and professional skills. Mills will add a critical focus on small animal rural medicine. This will include small animal medicine as well as wellness visits, soft tissue and orthopedic surgery, and small animal behavior. 

Mills takes a unique approach to educate her students. She wants to stretch her students' capabilities, allow them to gain confidence in themselves and instill resilience in them.  

“In addition to her valuable experience and expertise, Dr. Mills adds so much passion, compassion, and caring to our school,” said Guy Loneragan, dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine. “She cares deeply about our students, the communities we serve, and animal health and well-being. Trista is also adding new ideas. She led the development of our first – and amazingly successful – adoption event called Paws for the Holidays. Texas Tech is an amazingly wonderful place in which to work, and Trista's commitment to all aspects of our school is helping us become an even better place to call home.”

After graduating from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University in 2015, Mills immediately began her professional career as an associate veterinarian at Carlsbad Animal Clinic in Carlsbad, New Mexico. While there, she provided primary veterinary care and emergency services since the closest referral center was five hours away. 

Currently, Mills is licensed to practice veterinary medicine in New Mexico, Texas and Kansas. 

“Dr. Trista Mills comes to us from a small animal practice in New Mexico. She has hit the ground running and has made great contributions,” said John Dascanio, senior associate dean for academic and student affairs. “Her love for animals and their care is evident every day. She is a wonderful cheerleader for students, a great person to work with and a terrific role model for students.”