I am honored, privileged, and excited to serve as your 2017 IVMA President. My thanks to Dr. James Stepusin for his tremendous leadership over the past 12 months. We welcome Dr. Matt Cantrell who was installed as IVMA Vice President and Dr. Nathan Rich as President-elect. What an honor it is to be surrounded by and working alongside such fantastic colleagues on issues that matter to the association and our profession. It was a pleasure to see many of you at the IVMA Annual Meeting in early March, and I look forward to the year ahead. Some thoughts for our future:
In a world where Uber has totally disrupted the taxi industry and now functions in 81 countries, where Netflix has completely transformed the cable and entertainment industry, and where Amazon can deliver to our doorsteps in less than an hour, we must stay relevant as our industry and the world around us changes.
I think many of us cringe when clients, friends, or family members confess (or tell us proudly!) that they diagnosed or treated their pet based on something they found on the internet. “Dr. Google”, as some of us call him, makes us roll our eyes. But if the animal owning population turns to the internet, we as veterinarians must go there, too. Projections suggest telemedicine will increasingly become a way of the future. Evaluating, diagnosing, and treating patients remotely via the internet and other telecommunication technology must be viewed as an opportunity for us to provide service to clients. But how do you jump into the telemedicine world and make certain that a Veterinarian-Client-Patient- Relationship is achieved and maintained and that you uphold the standards of Indiana’s Veterinary Practice Act? Just last week our Executive Director, Lisa Perius, met with her counterparts from across the nation to discuss the climate of telemedicine. We have some homework to do, but the IVMA will be here to help you navigate these new waters.
After the January 9th announcement that MARS would acquire VCA Antech for $9.1 Billion, analysts began broadcasting projections that there will be no end in sight for this consolidation trend, and if anything, it will accelerate. Reactions from members of our profession have been mixed, but one thing is for certain – this acquisition and others down the road will have a sizeable impact on our industry as we know it today.
As our profession evolves, the list of issues to tackle does too. More than half of new graduates in our profession have a debt to income ratio that exceeds 2 to 1. “Cyber-bulling” is a term the veterinary world is now acquainted with. Our access to compounded drugs and ease of use of medically important antimicrobials has been challenged and reformed. Whatever the change in our industry, whatever the challenge, IVMA will continue to be on the forefront advocating for Indiana veterinarians and providing the resources and guidance we need to simply do our jobs efficiently and effectively. The IVMA leadership will continue to be relevant.
Our ever-present desire to stay relevant was illustrated early last year when the IVMA Board of Directors appointed a task force to review our current IVMA governance structure, with the purpose of modernizing our association and strengthening the IVMA districts to engage as many members as possible in the organization. The task force, chaired by Dr Tony Rumschlag, reported back to the Board in January, recommending what I believe are very thoughtful and impactful updates to our Bylaws. One of those updates would result in fewer standing committees and subcommittees and more task forces and working groups formed to carry out the specific strategic goals of the association. This allows for focused participation by more members on identified issues that they have an interest or expertise in, with a more defined timeline for participation. Veterinarians from all corners of the state give of their time and talents to make the IVMA what it is – we want to make it easier for members to be engaged.
I think the task force recommendations will allow for fresh approaches, broader insights, and greater collaboration to address the evolving challenges facing veterinary medicine. I’m anxious to hear what each of you thinks as we solicit feedback in the coming weeks. We’d love to hear from you and see your involvement in the association.
Have a Great Spring!
Dr. Maria Cooper