Today's Veterinary Business

AUG 2018

Today’s Veterinary Business provides information and resources designed to help veterinarians and office management improve the financial performance of their practices, allowing them to increase the level of patient care and client service.

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46 Today's Veterinary Business Community of fairness and equity play out in veterinary medicine: the process of applying to veterinary school and the efforts to serve low-income or marginalized communities. In the most recent application cycle, research conducted by the Association of American Veteri- nary Medical Colleges found that nearly 30 percent of veterinary school applicants were first-gen- eration college attendees, 30 percent were from low-income backgrounds and 20 percent were from rural backgrounds. There is a lot of overlap among these pop- ulations, and they are geographi- cally dispersed and racially diverse as well. The research showed that these populations are more likely to not have family financial support, to work full time during college, to attend college part time, to struggle to accumulate experiential hours, and to have limited or no access to test prep programs for the Graduate Record Examination, often resulting in a less competitive scoring profile. These candidates are statistically less likely to be admitted to vet- erinary school, and those offered admission are likely to receive only one offer. Traditional methods of eval- uating applicants for veterinary school admission are not designed to consider applicants beyond rigid academic and testing metrics. These applicants present com- petitive academic profiles, but a broader understanding of their challenges reveals attributes like resilience, creative problem solving and a strong work ethic that are all associated with academic and professional success. Approaches to applicant evaluations that embrace a holistic review of the candidates provide a richer profile of potential students and allow admissions committees to more equitably assess for ad- mission. This does not guarantee admission, but it does improve the applicants' chances of an equitable assessment of their application. Diversity Toolbox columnist Dr. Lisa M. Greenhill is senior director for insti- tutional research and diversity at the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges. Where Few Vets Practice The American Veterinary Medical Association in recent years has reported a maldistribution of companion animal veterinarians; some communities lack access to veterinary care. There is an under- standing that some communities are not economically equipped to support a high- or even mid-range veterinary clinic, which is why professionals might seek to create a business in a more-affluent area. This is completely understand- able. It remains true, however, that many of these communities remain underserved by the veter- inary profession through no fault of their own. In passing, I occasionally hear rumblings that members of these kinds of communities probably should not own pets if they cannot afford or otherwise access veterinary care. We know of the wonderful Community DIVERSITY TOOLBOX benefits of pet ownership. Are these folks not worthy to benefit as well? The reality is that people will own animals and that the circum- stances of pet ownership will vary greatly. Our collective goal is to make sure that animal health is protected and society is served. Ap- plying an equity framework to solve the problem of lack of access to vet- erinary medical care behooves us to consider new and creative practice models that will expand access to care and maintain or even increase practice profitability. As we consider the future of veterinary medicine, many opportunities exist to embrace both fairness and equity in a way that expands the overall reach of the profession. Considering the circumstances of veterinary school applicants and the clients who seek medical care can only strengthen the profession. accumulated a little wisdom. I've been told gray hair is the price we pay for wisdom. (My kids confirm the gray hair part, but I'm not so sure they'd vouch for my having acquired any wisdom.) My latest learning with respect to performance development in- cludes the following: As with most of my good ideas, I stumble across them over the course of conversa- tions, articles or podcasts. Never- theless, I've learned to distinguish between mentoring, coaching and sponsoring. We need all three at various points in our life and career. How I separate the three goes something like this: Veterinary students long for mentors upon gradua- tion. The mentor is the wise, expe- rienced sage who is there to listen, dry our tears, place a bandage on our skinned knee and encourage us to continue the journey. The coach is just as crucial but generally not as warm. The coach is there to congratu- late us on our strengths but also clearly and honestly call out our weaknesses and challenge us to do better. Both the mentor and the coach are important to our continued growth. Once we've been fortu- nate enough to lead teams and surround ourselves with great people, we assume the obligation to sponsor some of those great people and promote them for more and more challenging and rewarding new roles. In short: • Mentors: talk with • Coaches: talk to • Sponsors: talk for My WellHaven Pet Health practice has a number of strong senior-level female leaders but not enough women in C-suite executive roles. We don't yet reflect the profession, not to mention the society our practice serves. Toward that end, we've just brought in an executive coach and have committed to sponsor- ing the next generation of strong practice leaders. Through a white coat off/on approach to personal and professional development, we are committed to coaching, mentoring and sponsoring the next generation of veterinary profession leaders. 70:20:10 Coaches, mentors and sponsors will take us only so far. Ultimately, we all own our own development. We took on the obligation to become lifelong learners when we entered this profession and pledged to provide for the fam- ilies in our care. (Remember the Veterinarian's Oath?) I've come to be a fan of the 70:20:10 model of professional development. In this model, our learning comes 70 percent on the job, 20 percent through colleagues, mentors, coaches and sponsors, and 10 percent from more formal learning situations like CE con- ferences, podcasts, reading and course work. My lens on professional devel- opment has evolved with my being coached on the white coat off/on ap- proach to personal and professional growth. Many thanks to Dr. Bruns. Let's keep work in perspective. Life first, work second. Our white-coat work can be so rewarding and challenging, but let's not forget that the best of life happens when the white coat is off. If life isn't going so well, never be afraid to ask for help or offer it to those in need. Creative Disruption columnist Dr. Bob Lester is chief medical officer of Well- Haven Pet Health and a founding member of Banfield Pet Hospital and the Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine. He serves on the North American Veterinary Community board of directors. 1 2 3 Continued from Page 44

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