Community

The winds of change

Politics and Policy

As 2019 approaches, several critical matters — from the Fairness to Pet Owners Act to opioid abuse to telemedicine — remain unresolved.

It’s October, schools are back in session and politics are in full campaign mode with the off-year elections. Here are notes and updates on most of the items we’ve been following all year. 1. Fairness to Pet Owners Act This bill has hung around Congress since September 2010 and still hasn’t gained a hearing in […]

The language of medicine

Diversity Toolbox

Health care is harder to access when someone doesn’t speak English, but you can bridge the gap by becoming multilingual, hiring a diverse staff and embracing numerous resources.

A Harvest Public Media article on demographic changes in production animal medicine made the social media rounds recently. The article, available at http://bit.ly/2BS9gT1, noted how a 2015 study by Texas A&M University found that roughly half of the dairy and meat-processing workforce is composed of immigrants, many of whom speak something other than English as […]

Choose optimism

Creative Disruption

The veterinary profession is awash in change and opportunity. You should be excited to be part of this era.

I tell students every chance I get that there has never been a better time to be a veterinarian. I believe it. Dr. Google, rising competition, Amazon, consolidation, increasing complexity of running a vet biz, struggle to get cats in the door, staff turnover, accounts receivable, compliance and grumpy clients — I get it. Painting […]

Let’s get personal

Creative Disruption

Understanding when the white coat is off or on is a key to successful personal and professional growth.

Most of life — family, activities, community involvement, growth — happens when our white coats or scrubs are off. In my experience as a mentor, mentee, coach, educator, friend and sponsor, I see most organizations focusing on the white-coat-on (i.e., professional development) side of the ledger while short-changing the far more important white-coat-off side. I’ve […]

The state of the VCPR

Politics and Policy

The advent of telemedicine has brought a new focus to the veterinarian-client-patient relationship and its diverse definitions and interpretations.

Two terms rarely, if ever, were mentioned together in veterinary meetings or publications prior to January 2016: telemedicine and the VCPR. What changed in 2016 was the North American Veterinary Community’s launch of the Veterinary Innovation Council and the American Veterinary Medical Association’s national working group on telemedicine. Since then, the veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR) has […]

Fairness and equity for all

Diversity Toolbox

While we cannot always know every back story to every situation, approaching decision making from an equity framework can help mitigate disparities.

U.S. citizens who pledge allegiance to the flag finish with the phrase “and justice for all.” This month, let’s explore the concepts of justice and equity as they relate to diversity, inclusion and veterinary medicine. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines justice as “the quality of being just, impartial or fair.” We all aspire to be fair and […]

From tolerance to inclusion

Socially Acceptable

The practice of inclusion does not preclude the practice of tolerance. In fact, inclusion is dependent on tolerance.

Admittedly, there are many diversity buzzwords with countless connotations. People sometimes are stuck on antiquated diversity language that serves only to evoke very strong and often negative feelings. For example, when hearing the term “diversity,” some individuals immediately think of concepts like affirmative action, quotas or reverse racism. While I will not use this month’s […]

My celebrity client

What rock star and dog owner Rob Thomas taught one practitioner about veterinary medicine.

Confession: I have been a fan of Rob Thomas and Matchbox 20 since my veterinary school days. I clearly remember five-hour drives from Ithaca, N.Y., to my folks’ house, exhausted after exams and belting out MB20 tunes in my SUV. My black Labrador, Paige, had to tolerate my singing, but the music became the soundtrack […]

Opportunity knocks

Creative Disruption

Millennials spend more on veterinary care and pet services than any other generation, so what are you doing to embrace them?

For decades, baby boomers have been a dominant force in our profession both as consumers and colleagues. No longer. Millennials — hereafter referred to as PetGen (you’ll see why) — are now the primary pet-owning demographic. Thirty-five percent of U.S. pet owners are members of PetGen, which grew up with the internet and smartphones and […]

Choosing wisely

Go With the Flow

It’s important to distinguish between the Downward Spiral and Radiating Possibility.

In their national best-seller “The Art of Possibility,” authors Ben and Rosamund Zander describe two worlds that are completely different in nature: the Downward Spiral and Radiating Possibility. Because of our natural bias toward negativity, the Downward Spiral is the world that we ordinarily inhabit. Conversations (internal or external) that stem from this point of […]

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