Dr. Sarah Novak, of Stevens Point, has been nominated for WVMA president-elect.
A 2006 graduate of the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Novak began her career at Stevens Point Animal Hospital, which was founded by her father in 1981. She later purchased the clinic when her father retired in 2012 and continues to practice there today.
“I owned and operated the business for five years,” says Dr. Novak. “After struggling to find the balance between family life, work life and clinic ownership, I sold the clinic to National Veterinary Associates in August 2017.”
Dr. Novak currently serves as the district 9 representative on the WVMA Executive Board. That term expires December 31 and would allow her to move directly into the president-elect position.
“Serving as a district representative has had a huge role in helping prepare me for the president-elect position,” she says. “If selected, I would like my leadership to be one of collaboration. Everyone has different experiences and points of view, and I feel it is important for them to be heard.”
“I would also like to increase awareness of the WVMA and what it can bring to the table,” says Dr. Novak. “This is especially important for the newer graduates and people that are unfamiliar with the organization. I want them to fully appreciate all of the benefits a WVMA membership provides.”
Dr. Novak sees the advantage of having technicians, practice managers and other clinic staff as part of the WVMA membership and would like to see these groups have a voice as well. She believes the biggest issues currently facing veterinary medicine are mental health, compassion fatigue, burnout, student debt and veterinary wages.
“We are finally becoming more open to talking about mental health, compassion fatigue and burnout,” says Dr. Novak. “The amount of debt for veterinarians is higher than it has ever been. We chose this profession to be able to do something we love, and there are many factors that can make the profession more stressful than joyful. I feel it is important to have a life outside of this career, because our outside life is what molds us—by taking care of ourselves first, we are better able to take care of our patients.”
Attending continuing education opportunities and reading journal articles are two ways that Dr. Novak stays connected and up to date on issues affecting the veterinary medical industry, but she also believes that her colleagues are one of her greatest resources.
“We can teach each other so much,” she says.