Several new initiatives debuted during the 78th annual Western Veterinary Conference, Feb. 19-23, 2006, at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Convention Center in Las Vegas.
More than 14,000 attendees were at the event, including 6,860 veterinarians, 2,703 exhibitors, 1,664 technicians, and 133 veterinary students. The scientific program offered more than 900 hours of lectures, themed symposia, and hands-on laboratories. Session categories included small and large animal medicine, shelter medicine, and practice management.
During the conference, the WVC launched a partnership with the Veterinary Information Network, a continuing education-focused online community. The two organizations offered a learning program that combined online and on-site educational training. Participants in the limited-enrollment program took an interactive preparatory class online before the conference, using downloadable reference materials. While at the conference, participants attended a hands-on laboratory and an online wrap-up session that provided question-and-answer opportunities.
Also new at the 2006 conference were the WVC-Radio and WVC-TV Network. Using WVC-Radio, attendees could tune into popular conference sessions from anywhere in the Mandalay Bay Hotel. The WVC-TV Network broadcast conference sessions, interviews, and special events in guest rooms at select hotels.
With the debut of WVC-Encore, conference presentations are now available on DVD. For more information, visit the WVC Web site at www.wvcencore.org.
Also at the conference, Pfizer Animal Health introduced "Frank," a new veterinarian-client communication campaign, during a press gathering, Feb. 20. "Frank" will focus on providing companion animal veterinarians with practical information on why enhanced veterinarian-client communication can be helpful. Participants will be provided with clear, easy-to-learn techniques presented by two of the national leaders in communication at a series of workshops scheduled for late 2006.
Coming up in February 2007, the WVC anticipates the opening of the Oquendo Center for Clinical Education, which will serve as the first permanent, high-throughput Clinical Proficiency Examination site. Located adjacent to the WVC headquarters in Las Vegas, the center will also increase the number of interactive laboratories at the WVC annual conference.
The Meritorious Service Award was presented to Drs. Arthur A. Bickford, Turlock, Calif.; James E. Creed, Columbia, Mo.; Clarence J. Bierschwal, Columbia, Mo.; Myron D. Brown, Stanley, Kan.; and Gerald D. Schrater, Hutchinson, Kan. The award is presented to past or present members of the WVC board of directors for exceptional service over time, unselfish dedication to veterinary education, advancement of veterinary knowledge, and substantial contributions to the conference and U.S. and international veterinary medicine.
The WVC Student Scholarship program awarded a $2,500 scholarship to each U.S. and Canadian veterinary school and college, plus a $1,000 stipend for all recipients to attend the conference.
Recipients for the new 2006 WVC Food Animal Incentive award were Drs. Matthew Breed, Gainesville, Fla.; Mary Bronwyn Crane, Corvallis, Ore.; Stacey Byers, Pullman, Wash.; Lisa Willis, Elgin, Texas; Miranda Townsend, Fort Collins, Colo.; and Peggy Rushton, Knoxville, Tenn. The annual award is presented to veterinarians engaged in a university or private practice internship in food animal medicine, surgery, production medicine, theriogenology, or epidemiology. The award is for the recipient to attend the WVC.
Also during the conference, Dr. Guy Pidgeon was named assistant executive director of the WVC. Dr. Pidgeon has served as chief executive officer of the Animal Medical Center in New York City since 1997.
The 2006-2007 board of directors includes Drs. William D. Fortney, Manhattan, Kan., president; James W. Furman, Alliance, Neb., president-elect; Walter R. Threlfall, Powell, Ohio, immediate past president; Ann Johnson, Urbana, Ill., vice president; and Randall G. Ezell, Las Vegas, secretary-treasurer. Along with Dr. Ann Johnson, newly elected board members are Drs. Edward C. Feldman, Davis, Calif., Phil A. Blair, Phoenix, Ariz., and Dean Knoll, of Waukesha, Wis., who was the first veterinary technician elected to the board.