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Our Veterinarians

Twila A. Whitefield, VMD, Partner

Veterinarian and hospital partner Dr. Twila A. Whitefield received her B.S. in Biology from Ursinus College in 1984 and her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Pennsylvania in 1987. She said she was inspired to become a veterinarian by “multiple family members”, including her mother, a nurse, and her father, who loved nature and wildlife. She said her grandmother was “very progressive for her time because she owned and ran her own flower shop.” During high school, she volunteered at a large animal veterinary hospital in Pennsylvania and a small animal clinic in New Jersey. During college, Dr. Whitefield lived above a veterinary hospital and answered the phone after hours.

Following her veterinary studies, she was awarded an internship in medicine and surgery at the Animal Hospital of Pittsford in Rochester.

With professional interests in internal medicine, Dr. Whitefield particularly enjoys developing long-term relationships with clients and their pets. She is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Animal Hospital Association, and the New York State Veterinary Medical Society.

During her leisure time, Dr. Whitefield enjoys woodworking, creating designs in stained glass, and stamping. Other hobbies and activities include photography, hiking, cooking, playing basketball, and gardening.

Dr. Whitefield was married to John W. Whitefield, DVM, the original owner of Hudson Highlands Veterinary Medical Group. She is committed to honoring his legacy of compassion, integrity, and dedication.

Paul McNamara, DVM, Diplomate ACVS, Chief of Surgery and Surgery Specialist, Partner

Hospital partner and Chief of Surgery at Hudson Highlands Veterinary Specialty Group, Dr. Paul McNamara, is one of this region’s only full-time, board-certified surgery specialist, having been named a Diplomate into the American College of Veterinary Surgeons in 1999.

Dr. McNamara attended Cornell University and received his B.S. in Animal Science in 1990. Following his undergraduate studies, he remained at Cornell where he completed his veterinary studies. He was awarded his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 1993 and selected for an internship in medicine and surgery at Cornell. Dr. McNamara completed his surgical residency in 1997 and remained at Cornell as an instructor in surgery until 1998.

Dr. McNamara travels the country training police officers in basic first aid for their canine partners. He established ODIN’S Fund, a non-profit organization providing first aid training and equipment for police dog organizations. As a result of this work, Dr. McNamara has received many local, state, and regional awards from canine organizations and teams. He has lectured extensively at many dog clubs, to canine law enforcement handlers and at local, national, and international veterinary conferences and scientific meetings. He also serves as the tactical veterinarian and Special Deputy for the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Department.

Dr. McNamara maintains an active membership in the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, the Veterinary Orthopedic Society, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Canine Sports Medicine Association, the North American Police Work Dog Association, and the United States Police Canine Association.

He has published articles in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Journal of Veterinary Research, Veterinary Clinics of North America, the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association, and in a major veterinary textbook, Kirk’s Current Veterinary Therapy.

Dr. McNamara enjoys weightlifting, fishing, and spending time with his four children, four dogs, and four cats.

Mark Christensen, DVM, Partner

Dr. Mark Christensen is a general practitioner and hospital partner who has been with us since 2009. He grew up in LaGrangeville, NY, and said he “would spend hours studying and observing wildlife. I also spent the holidays enjoying time at my grandfather’s dairy farm. I loved all animals but gravitated to farmyard beagles and barn cats.”

Before he was a veterinarian, Dr. Christensen worked as a licensed technician and he realized he wanted to “interpret x-rays instead of just obtaining them.”

He earned his undergraduate degree in Biology from the State University of New York at Albany in 1999. He graduated with high honors and his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 2006 from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the New York State Veterinary Medical Society. Dr. Christensen has a special professional interest in ophthalmology, cardiology, and soft tissue surgery.

He loves being a veterinarian because “I’m guaranteed to interact with animals every day,” Dr. Christensen said.

Dr. Christensen has four dogs, Tucker, Reese, Olive and Miagi, and two cats, Grout and Putty. He also keeps freshwater and saltwater aquariums. He’s been an avid rock climber since 1994.

Kathy Ball, DVM

Dr. Kathy Ball grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, and as a child, she always aspired to become a veterinarian one day. One instance in her early years that propelled her towards a career in veterinary care was seeing the impact that veterinary medicine had on her household dog, Ingrid. Ingrid became very ill and had to be hospitalized in 2001, but after making a full recovery Dr. Ball knew she was set on achieving her doctorate in veterinary medicine.

Before attending veterinary school, Dr. Ball attended the University of Oklahoma for Environmental Design. Afterwards, she worked as a landscape designer for 5 years in Oklahoma City and New York City. She then went on to obtain her doctorate from Tufts School of Veterinary Medicine in 2007. Dr. Ball has been recognized by the Phi Zeta Honor Society of Veterinary Medicine and exhibits habitual excellence here at Hudson Highlands.

While pursuing higher education, Dr. Ball also worked at Hunter College in NYC providing husbandry for rats and doves, as well as volunteering for Central Park Zoo and a local veterinarian’s office.

Dr. Ball has also worked with Commonwealth Cats in MA, a non-profit that is dedicated to the vaccination and sterilization of feral cats. Some of her professional interests include dentistry and surgery, as well as providing some of the best patient care imaginable. Dr. Ball belongs to the American Veterinary Association, the New York State Veterinary Medical Society, and the Westchester Rockland Veterinary Medical Association.

She is married to the love of her life, Dr. Jonathan Ball, who she met in their third year of veterinary school. Both share a passion for veterinary care and medicine, as Johnathan is an emergency veterinarian. They have a son named Owen, who loves to play with Legos, play soccer, and go hiking or bike-riding. The Balls share their home with two Labrador Retrievers, named Saxon and Kurt, as well as a tabby cat named Oscar. In her spare time, Dr. Ball enjoys gardening, hiking, bike-riding, kayaking, and spending time with her loving family and friends.

Kristin Walleck, DVM

Dr. Kristin Walleck was born just outside of Chicago, Illinois. She has been fortunate to call many places across this beautiful country ‘home’ throughout her childhood and adult life. As a child, she aspired to be a veterinarian; having a deep love for all animals and wanting to help those in need. She pursued her undergraduate education at the University of Rhode Island and received her bachelor’s degree in Animal Science & Technology in 2006. After graduation, she spent a few years gaining hands-on experience within different fields of animal medicine and husbandry– pet sitting, kennel cleaning, being a veterinary assistant, and even taking up a summer job as a birdkeeper for an exotic bird rescue & sanctuary in Florida!

In 2009, Dr. Walleck began Graduate school at THE Ohio State University, pursuing a Master’s degree in Veterinary Public Health. She completed her Master’s degree in 2013, while attending veterinary school. During veterinary school, Dr. Walleck was an active member of the professional veterinary fraternity Omega Tau Sigma. In 2014, Kristin accomplished her lifelong dream and received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine degree from THE Ohio State University.

Dr. Walleck is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the New York State Veterinary Medical Society, the American Animal Hospital Association, and the Omega Tau Sigma Veterinary Fraternity.

Following graduation, Dr. Walleck and her (now) husband Joe moved out west to Nevada in the gorgeous Reno-Tahoe area. After a few years of fun and exploration, they moved back to New York in 2017 to settle down near friends and family. Kristin and Joe now have two beautiful young children, named Ava and Caleb, which are keeping them quite busy! They also share their home with two loveable, goofy dogs– a Chihuahua-Yorkie mix named Jinx, and an American Staffordshire Terrier named Groot.

Nicole Kasman, DVM

Dr. Nicole Kasman is a new Associate Veterinarian with Hudson Highlands. Dr. Kasman received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 2022 from the University of Missouri, and her areas of professional interest lie in orthopedic surgery, behavior, and internal medicine.

Her Veterinary career officially began in 2016 when she spent her days working as a veterinary technician. Dr. Kasman knew with her combined love of animals and medicine that she would make veterinary medicine her career path. She loves that in this field, she is able to help animals and give them a voice when they may otherwise not have one.

Dr. Kasman grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, and now resides in Beacon, New York with her partner James, and two cats, Pumpkin and Ghost. While she is not in the office, Dr. Kasman enjoys hiking, drawing, and dancing swing, waltz, salsa, and everything in between! Besides animals, she has a passion for the arts, as well as outdoor activities such as swimming and water polo.

Dr. Kristen Polczer, DVM

Dr. Kristen Polczer became an Associate Veterinarian with Hudson Highlands Veterinary Medical Group in 2022. Dr. Polczer graduated from Delaware Valley University in 2017 with a Bachelor’s in Biology and went on to receive her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 2022 from Michigan State University. She is Fear Free Certified. Dr. Polczer’s areas of professional interest include radiology and soft tissue surgery. As well as an interest in smaller furry pets including rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, and rats; any inquiries about these services can be coordinated by calling the office.

Dr. Polczer’s inspiration to work in the veterinary field stems from her childhood visits to her family’s farm in upstate New York where she would help care for cows, horses, goats, and pigs. Her veterinary career officially began in 2014 when she began working as a veterinary receptionist during her undergraduate education. She went on to serve as a veterinary assistant in an emergency animal hospital in 2015 and stayed here through her graduation. Overall, her favorite part about veterinary medicine has been educating clients on how to best care for their furry family members.

Originally from New Jersey, Dr. Polczer recently moved to New York with her lab mix Lucy and her Bichon Frise named Sprocket. When she has a day off from the office, Dr. Polczer enjoys hiking, crocheting, and spending time with friends and family. She is happy to be back on the East Coast close to all of her loved ones, and can’t wait to explore her new home in New York!