Candidate: District V Director
Dr. Robert Knapp is a small animal practitioner in Columbus, Ohio, and owner of Knapp Veterinary Hospital, a seven-veterinarian practice founded by his grandfather in 1945. Upon completing his undergraduate and DVM degrees at The Ohio State University in 1986 and 1992 respectively, Dr. Knapp joined his father in the practice and became owner in 2007. He also holds a master’s in animal science from Texas A&M University.
An active Ohio State alumnus, Dr. Knapp serves as treasurer of the Veterinary Medicine Alumni Society and held the position of president in 2008. Over the past decade, he has also participated in search committees for a variety of positions within the College, including dean, department chairs, practitioner liaison, and clinical faculty. Additionally, he has offered his expertise as an advisor to the Stanton Program, was an inaugural member of the Small Animal Practitioner Advisory Board, and participated in the College’s strategic planning in 2017.
Dr. Knapp is passionate about supporting veterinary students throughout their schooling, serving as a trusted mentor and adviser to dozens of Ohio State students. Knapp Veterinary Hospital has provided clinical skills training and experience to second-year veterinary students in the Stanton Program and is a clinical clerkship site for fourth-year students gaining private practice experience in clinical rotation. Dr. Knapp shares his extensive business knowledge as a Capstone Project adviser to students in the business minor program and also assists in the professional development courses, working with students during mock negotiation and job interview labs.
Dr. Knapp has also been active in the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA), serving in various capacities during his 26-year membership. As a long-time Board of Directors member, he served as president in 2007 and is currently the Ohio Delegate to the American Veterinary Medical Association. He has volunteered for numerous OVMA initiatives throughout his career, including participating in or chairing the Legislative, Finance, and Midwest Veterinary Conference Education committees. A staunch advocate of Ohio veterinarians, Dr. Knapp has testified on their behalf to state legislators on a variety of issues, including practice act revisions and commercial dog breeding.
Dr. Knapp's dedication to the profession has been recognized with a number of prestigious awards, including the OVMA’s Meritorious Service Award in 1999, Ohio Veterinarian of the Year Award in 2014, and The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine’s Distinguished Alumni in 2015. Most recently, he was honored with the National Gamma Award by Omega Tau Sigma, Gamma Chapter in 2018.
Outside of his practice and volunteer activities, Dr. Knapp and his wife, now empty nesters, look forward to learning to cook for two and traveling. He also enjoys reading, all things related to Ohio State sports, and attempts to perfect his golf game.
Biographical statement provided by the candidate.
Dr. Knapp - Statement of Reason for Seeking Office
"Try to take (the) attitude toward life that you're going to pay forward. So seldom can we pay back, because those who helped most—your parents and other people—will be gone. But you'll find that you do want to pay."
Those words, spoken by legendary football coach Woody Hayes at my undergraduate commencement, best describe the reason I continue to participate in organized veterinary medicine and veterinary education.
There is no way to quantify the impact this profession has had on my life. Being a third-generation veterinarian, I never had the "aha!" moment of realizing I wanted to be a veterinarian or that sense of amazement at witnessing the astonishing things veterinarians can do. Growing up in the clinic, I experienced what we do every day. Veterinary medicine was just what we did, as automatic as sleeping and breathing.
Although I knew I wanted to follow in my grandfather and father's footsteps, it wasn’t until I started working in the clinic that I realized the impact this profession and my family had on others. Beyond the obvious relationships with the clients and their pets, there were many other, equally important connections forged within the four walls of the hospital. I watched as my grandfather and father guided students who aspired to be veterinarians, mentored recent graduates who wanted a chance to prove themselves, and supported colleagues who wanted to make a difference. It became my goal to honor and continue the reputation for compassionate care established by my grandfather and father, and I strived to earn the same degree of trust and respect from my colleagues.
My teachers and mentors at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, as well as leaders within the OVMA, provided me with an exceptional education and solid foundation for continued learning—as both a veterinarian and a mentor to our profession's next generation. When, as a recent graduate, I was asked to become involved in the OVMA, I appreciated the opportunity to provide my own unique insights to the issues facing veterinary medicine. That small gesture inspired me to pay forward, just like Coach Hayes had encouraged me to do. I was—and still am—inspired to do whatever I can to ensure the next generation of veterinarians has all the opportunities I did.
I have seen firsthand the significant impact veterinarians can have when we work together to solve problems. Organized veterinary medicine is more important to our profession now than ever before, and our members’ continued engagement is vital to our future. Today’s issues are complex and inextricably linked: Member wellbeing, student debt, changing member demographics, telemedicine, challenges to delivery of services, drug shortages, and changes to practice ownership are just a few of the complicated matters we must address together. Our representative organizations are challenged to provide the tools and information members need to adapt and thrive in this new environment; therefore, veterinarians must work alongside our local, state, and national organizations to confront these issues, to ensure the veterinary voice is heard, and to commit to being part of the solution to these challenges.
During my years of working with the OVMA, my goal in leadership has always been to put the needs of the profession and our members first. As a results-driven team member, I work with all stakeholders to find solutions to problems, ensuring everyone involved feels their input was valuable and duly considered. I approach challenges with an open mind and consider all sides before forming an opinion. I am not afraid of change, nor do I shy away from controversy or from taking an unpopular stance on an issue if I believe it to be right. I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from countless role models throughout my life—from my family's clinic, to veterinary school, to organized veterinary medicine—and look forward to continuing to work with our diverse membership. As your District V Representative, I pledge to bring a practical, pragmatic, and member-driven focus to the AVMA Board of Directors.
Statement of reason for seeking office provided by the candidate.