"The NCVEI has been one of the greatest challenges and most rewarding experiences of my career," said Howard Rubin, who will resign as chief executive officer of the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues, effective Nov. 1.
Rubin is the founding CEO of NCVEI, which was formed in 2000 to raise the economic base of the veterinary profession. The founding members are the AVMA, American Animal Hospital Association, and Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges.
"The NCVEI has been a tremendous success and Howard deserves more credit for that success than anyone else by a wide margin," said Dr. James E. Nave, past chair of the NCVEI board of directors. "He worked hard to understand our profession, to realize the need for a culture change in the way we think about business, and to create programs that were practical, and he was eager to be held accountable."
"All veterinarians will benefit from Howard's work for generations," Dr. Nave continued. "From my standpoint, it was an unbelievable learning experience to work with him, and I am honored to be his friend."
Rubin will leave the NCVEI to serve as CEO at BrightHeart Veterinary Centers, a recently formed national network of advanced-care veterinary facilities based in Armonk, N.Y. At BrightHeart, Rubin will focus on acquiring specialty veterinary hospitals and emergency clinics, with an emphasis on building partnerships with referring veterinarians and pet owners to provide the highest standards and greatest range of options in pet care.
Prior to joining NCVEI, Rubin was chief executive of Cardiopet Inc. and divisional vice president at IDEXX Laboratories Inc.
Reflecting on his time at NCVEI, Rubin said he is proud of the resources the commission has built for veterinarians to help improve the profession's economics. In the past five years in particular, he said, the profession has rebounded strongly, and many incomes have almost doubled.
One key accomplishment that he finds especially rewarding is how the NCVEI has promoted to the profession the importance of life skills, in addition to strong science and technical skills, in delivering quality medicine. In fact, several communication skill-enhancing tools are scheduled to be released in the next several years.
As early as this fall, the NCVEI will expand its distance learning modules, which already enable veterinarians to perform a communication style assessment. The new modules will help veterinarians apply more effectively many communication skills, such as the use of nonverbal communication, open-ended questioning, and reflective listening. Actual examples and video case studies will be used.
Also on the horizon, Rubin said, are new benchmarking models for veterinary teaching hospitals. In addition, the NCVEI is working with the AVMA Group Health and Life Insurance Trust to develop tools that will help veterinarians with their personal financial planning and insurance.