January 15, 2013

 
EXECUTIVE BOARD

 Veterinary wellness symposium in the works

Posted on December 31, 2012
 
Stress isn’t exclusive to the veterinary profession, but practitioners encounter plenty of taxing situations in their work that can affect them emotionally and physically.
 
Members of the Inter­national Veterinary Officers Coalition, seeing this as an area warranting further exploration, is sponsoring the first Wellness Symposium at the 31st World Veterinary Congress, to be held Sept. 17-20 in Prague.
 
The program for “The Science of Happiness: A Guide to Achieving Sustainable Mental Well-being” is expected to be finalized in March, but so far, the tentative schedule includes the following:
 
  • Mental health in veterinary surgeons and potential influences: a structured review of the world literature.
  • Recognizing and responding to mental health problems in the workplace.
  • Supporting the mental well-being of the veterinary profession: some examples from around the world.
 
Dr. David Bartram has been identified as the primary speaker and facilitator for this half-day event. He is a 1988 graduate of the Royal Veterinary College in London and a doctoral student studying the mental health of the veterinary profession at the University of Southampton School of Medicine.
 
The AVMA Executive Board approved at its Nov. 15-17, 2012, meeting spending up to $3,000 to bring a U.S. speaker to the symposium. Corporate sponsorship could potentially offset the AVMA’s cost.
 
IVOC comprises the president and CEO of the AVMA, Australian Veterinary Association, British Veterinary Association, Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, New Zealand Veterinary Association, and South African Veterinary Association.
 
The idea for sponsoring a wellness symposium at the 2013 WVC was first discussed during the May 2012 IVOC meeting, with a request for support subsequently submitted to all IVOC member associations. Members of the Committee on International Veterinary Affairs, which made the recommendation for AVMA support to the board, said they believe wellness and well-being of members of the veterinary profession is an important issue, particularly in light of recent articles suggesting the suicide rate among veterinarians is higher than that of the general population.
 
“The CIVA believes such assistance is an important step to show AVMA’s support for the IVOC agenda and to gain a better understanding of how widespread the issue of veterinary wellness is on a global scale,” according to the recommendation background. Other IVOC member associations are also providing financial support to offset symposium costs.