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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.

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November 4, 1980, I distinctly remember the first Presidential election I participated in. Yes, 1980 seems like a long time ago, because it is; 37 years is a long time. Today, 1980 seems like a different time; my point of reference has certainly changed; has the process changed? The 2016 election cycle was unlike any previously witnessed. The United States electorate has so many platforms to engage in the political process, so many voices are now being heard. The news cycle relentlessly grinds on 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It's easy to feel like our voices aren't heard, like we have no input, like we're irrelevant. WVMA members have a valuable platform amplifying our voices, a resource advocating on our behalf. We need to be aware of it, we need to be involved with it, we need to financially support it.

The Wisconsin Legislature's actions directly effects many WVMA members' professional and business activities. WVMA political advocacy asks the legislature to take action on behalf of Wisconsin veterinarians and veterinary practices during each session. During every election cycle, legislative candidates ask veterinarians to support campaign activities. The VetMed PAC, a state Political Action Committee, was formed by the WVMA, enabling membership to easily support candidates for Wisconsin state elective offices.

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Why wellness? Nearly 10 percent of veterinarians characterize themselves as experiencing severe psychological distress.

Why wellness? Nearly 17 percent of veterinarians have contemplated suicide since graduation.

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Improving practice culture, improving practice profitability: topics easy to talk about, often challenging to implement, often overwhelming for veterinary practices. How do we best implement change? One bite at a time! Break it down and simplify – keep it simple, keep it simple, keep it simple!

The AVMA Practice Profitability Workshop breaks the opportunity into four simple, easily understood baskets: finance, operations, strategy, and economics. Keep it simple, break it down.

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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?

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