I certainly hope my first “President’s Message” finds you all well. I know that you are all probably gearing up for what will likely be a very busy spring season, and because of that, I appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedules to read this message. It is certainly an honor and a privilege to be the 2018 President of the IVMA. I look forward to the opportunities and tasks that are before us as an organization.
As I write this letter, I can’t help but think about all the great things the IVMA has accomplished this past year, as well as all the great people that have helped to make it happen. If you were at the IVMA Membership reception on March 2, 2018, you were part of an historic vote to change the governance structure of our association. If you couldn’t attend the reception, have no fear, your colleagues voted unanimously in favor of the proposed Bylaws changes. In 2016, the Board of Directors tasked Dr. Tony Rumschlag to put together a task force to look at options that would make our association more efficient. To say he delivered is an understatement. Under his leadership, he assembled an all-star team of young, dedicated, emerging leaders and seasoned IVMA members. Because of this, a great plan was put forth. I can’t say enough about his leadership on such a difficult and important issue. I thank the members of his task force for their dedication to the IVMA and our profession.
On March 4, 2018, we wrapped up the 134th Annual Meeting, and I must say it was another great success. The Annual Meeting Committee and the Continuing Education Committee hit it out of the park with another year of high quality speakers and a full Exhibit Hall. We are so thankful to everyone who is a part of organizing this event as it is no simple task. Both committees have worked tirelessly to make sure this event is focused on the concepts that veterinarians in our state need.
This year we say goodbye to Dr. James Stepusin from our newly-named Board of Governors. His leadership and humor will be missed as we move forward, but we are forever in his debt for the time and energy that he has given to this organization. We do have the opportunity to welcome to Dr. Kyle Shipman, who will assume the role of Treasurer this year, as Dr. Aaron Smiley has made the move to Vice President. With Dr. Matt Cantrell assuming my role as President-Elect and Dr. Maria Cooper staying on as the Immediate Past President, you can easily see how I have been surrounded with an amazing cast of volunteers to lead this organization forward.
This year we have so many important tasks ahead of us. The first, and most important, is beginning the transition to our new governing structure. This is a process that will take a few years, but we will do our very best to make sure it is as smooth as possible.
We currently have two active tasks forces, the Telemedicine Task Force and the Annual Meeting Task Force. These are chaired by Dr. Aaron Smiley and Dr. Matt Cantrell, respectively. I expect both to wrap up soon and certainly look forward to the information that comes from them.
This year we will launch the “Power of You” program that is dedicated to mid-career IVMA members. This program will focus on recharging and renewing the passion of veterinary medicine for those members who elect to take part in it. Lisa Perius has worked very hard on this program, and I can’t wait to see where it leads.
This year the work of IVMA will continue to be centered around the membership. We will look at three concepts: Value, Community, and Engagement. Not only do we want to make sure that we are showing the value of the IVMA to our members and non-members, but we also want to make sure that we are communicating the value of the IVMA and veterinary medicine to the public. We will have our yearly goal-setting meeting on March 21st. I would expect to have new ideas emerge about how we can help drive new business to member clinics, as well as developing training opportunities for clinic staff.
We will focus on wellness throughout the veterinary community. There is currently an active “Be Well” page on Facebook that is gaining traction, but I would like to see other avenues develop to promote comradery, communication, and mentoring.
And the last thing we will focus on is Engagement. We will seek to get Lisa and Lourdes out of the office and into our member clinics, as well as our non-member clinics. This is an area that I believe we can find growth for the IVMA. Engagement goes both ways, though, and we all know that members must want to be engaged to move the ship forward. It is our hope, as we change from committee structure to a task force structure, that we will be able to engage more veterinarians throughout the state. It is imperative that we communicate with all veterinarians that their voices and ideas matter.
I truly look forward to this year and appreciate the opportunity. I hope you all enjoy the nice weather that is, hopefully, right around the corner.
Dr. Nathan Rich