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The Need is Great!

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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.

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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Presidents Message

Make an Impact!

i recently attended the Heartland Veterinary Conference in Columbus, Ohio. Mr. Clarke Price, former President of the Ohio Society of CPA's thoughtfully presented perspectives of volunteer leadership in organizations such as the Wisconsin VMA. His most impactful thought? "Cultivate leaders to follow you", what a concept!


We have a wealth of knowledge, experience, expertise and professional connections and networks within the WVMA membership. How can this incredible resource be leveraged to benefit the WVMA, to benefit Wisconsin's veterinarians? Mr. Price contends, the current WVMA leadership should cultivate our successors with inquiry and encouragement.

As summer passes by, the time of year for the WVMA to fill officer and board vacancies rolls around, sounds like the time to cultivate! Yes, serving in a leadership role is a significant time commitment, however I encourage you to have fun in a leadership role. Yes, there are challenges, but there is also prestige and personal growth.

My top ten list to be an effective volunteer leader -

1. Commit yourself to make a difference.
2. Don't avoid controversy and risk.
3. Don't drive your agenda, use your platform to drive your vision.
4. Don't underestimate resistance to change.
5. Don't waste time.
6. Be consistent.
7. Ask questions.
8. Come to meetings prepared.
9. Have a plan of priorities and actions.
10. Engage and maintain open communication with leaders up and down the line.

When leadership opportunities come calling, I encourage you to answer with enthusiasm, answer with passion, and answer to make the commitment! Volunteer leadership is a vehicle to have fun, to connect with the profession, to make an impact. I encourage you to have the attitude; we're going to try new things, we're going to innovate, realizing not everything is going to work. Remember, even Monopoly has a get out of jail free card!

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