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Be Relevant!

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How many professional organizations do you belong to? How many professional organizations COULD you belong to? Today's complex society offers endless opportunities to belong, to be a member, to volunteer time. How is time best spent? Where is greatest value realized?

Previously, I've argued our profession's practice level fragmentation; large capital investment duplicated in veterinary facilities in close proximity to one another; significantly limits veterinary practice profitability. Can the same argument be made for the profession's organizations? Does fragmentation hinder our ability to maximize membership value?

Nationally there is; American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Bovine Practitioners, American Association of Equine Practitioners, American Animal Hospital Association, American Feline Practitioners, you get my point, the list goes on and on and on. In Wisconsin, there is; Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association, Wisconsin Veterinary Technician Association, Wisconsin Equine Practitioners Association and Wisconsin Veterinary Practice Managers Association and nine local, district veterinary associations. With this dilutive effect, how can the veterinary medical profession provide significant and demonstrable impact to improve the profession in the State of Wisconsin?

We have an opportunity to be truly relevant! Let's discuss tactics and strategies to increase collaboration and leverage synergies. Let's consider opportunity to combine resources advocating for the veterinary medical profession's best interest. Consider the combined expertise, consider the combined resources. Consider the combined impact the veterinary medical profession could have on high educational costs, overwhelming student loan debt, poor practice profitability, compassion fatigue, the profession's wellness. The WVMA, WVTA, WEPA and WVPMA have far more in common than different.

Fragmentation in Wisconsin's veterinary medical profession's organizations hinders our ability to effectively overcome countless challenges facing the profession. Let's set aside our differences, identify common ground, leverage opportunity increasing the profession's relevancy, come together as one voice, as one united organization to advocate for the veterinary medical profession.

As the New Year dawns, let's have the courage to say yes to having the discussion, let's have the courage to be relevant!

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Presidents Message

The Need is Great!

In my first President's Message published in November 2016, I challenged the WVMA membership to "Seize the opportunity, get creative and devise business models maintaining these activities to benefit the profession."

Access to veterinary medical care is a growing focus nationwide; the Humane Society of the United States estimates 23,000,000 pets in the U.S. can't access veterinary medical healthcare. Barriers are not strictly financial and include transportation, culture and language. If the profession could lower the veterinary medical care barrier these pets experience, what could the financial impact be? Basic healthcare provided to these pets, using a $200.00 per pet annual estimate, could have a $4.6 billion impact on veterinarian provided medical care. Approximately $24.6 billion is spent on veterinary services nationwide annually. Do the math, 19.6 percent of our industry's revenue is untapped in pets without access to veterinary medical care.

Here's an opportunity; a business model was devised, WisCARES (Wisconsin Companion Animal Resources, Education and Social Services). WisCARES is a UW-Madison program through the School of Veterinary Medicine in a partnership with the School of Social Work. The program's focus is the intersection of housing/homelessness and pet ownership and keeping animals and their people together and feature's veterinary medical wellness, pet food and supplies and boarding and foster for animals. The program is supported by a paid veterinary staff, veterinary volunteers and veterinary medical students in a non-profit environment.

Credit the vision of Drs. Ruthanne Chun and William Gilles for the concept genesis in 2014. The success of this program, providing veterinary medical care to an unmet demand, brings WisCARES to the threshold of expansion. This novel model works. Let's look to expand this model, let's find opportunity to employ more veterinarians. What an opportunity to leverage the human-animal bond, increasing access to pets' and humans' healthcare. This certainly is not the traditional model of veterinary practice, but a highly effective model of veterinary practice.

Once again, I challenge the WVMA membership to - seize the opportunity, get creative and devise business models maintaining these activities to benefit the profession. Support Drs. Chun and Gilles; consider the model; how can the profession leverage 23,000,000 pets without access to healthcare? The need is great!

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