Elephant in the Room

GAINESVILLE, FL — Building on the momentum and enthusiasm generated by the profession-wide discussion of the student debt crisis and economic health of the veterinary profession at the NAVC Conference 2008 in January, the second Elephant in the Room at the upcoming NAVC Conference 2009 begins by illustrating the actions that already have been taken as a result of the 2008 symposium. This uniquely interactive meeting promises to be a productive gathering of industry leaders, academicians, veterinary practitioners, consultants and veterinary students. The session is designed to leverage the collective insight of this diverse group and to create dialogue across demographic, cultural, and professional lines for the economic benefit of veterinary medicine as a whole.

The morning will start with a brief synopsis of the September 15, 2008 JAVMA article Trends in gender, employment, salary, and debt of graduates of US veterinary medical schools and colleges (http://avmajournals.avma.org/action/showMultipleAbstracts) written by former University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine Dean Alan Kelly or one of the other authors citing the unsustainability of the current debt: salary crisis. Other short topics for the first session focus on reports by students who organized spin-off Elephant in the Room programs at their veterinary schools in the spring of 2008 and information on the deterioration of student loan options in the midst of the credit meltdown on Wall Street.

Topics for the subsequent discussion will include 1) the feasibility of starting or purchasing veterinary practices while harnessed with high student debt, 2) the utility of practice mergers as a way to enhance practice profitability and 3) the impact of gender and generational issues on the profession.

This symposium offers the rare chance for attendees to help make an immediate impact on the future of the veterinary profession. It also provides the opportunity for interested practitioners, veterinary school faculty, industry representatives, business consultants and dozens of veterinary student members of the Veterinary Business Management Association (VBMA) from across North America, to develop a resolution strategy. The connections and advancements made through these discussions will persist long after the event has ended.

  • The Elephant in the Room Part 2 will be held at the NAVC Conference 2009 on Sunday, January 18 th in the Crystal Ballroom room J1 at the Orlando World Center Marriott from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Attendance at previous Elephant in the Room sessions is not required and all NAVC Conference 2009 registrants may attend.

For more information, please contact NAVC Program Coordinator Susan Woodard at swoodard@tnavc.org.


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