In with the new at VMX 2018

North American Veterinary Community's flagship conference abounds with announcements, recognizes innovators
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A new certificate program in the human-animal bond, a study on communications gaps between practices and clients, a report on antimicrobial usage in feline patients, and the winners of the first Veterinary Innovation Awards were among the highlights of the 2018 Veterinary Meeting & Expo, Feb. 3-7 in Orlando, Florida.

The North American Veterinary Community, a nonprofit that provides a variety of education, publications, and other services, renamed its flagship conference as VMX starting this year. VMX 2018 attracted nearly 18,000 attendees from all 50 states and nearly 80 countries. Among the attendees were 7,118 veterinarians, 1,901 veterinary technicians, 691 practice managers, 840 support staff members, and 548 veterinary and veterinary technology students.

At the conference, the Human Animal Bond Research Institute and the NAVC launched the new certificate program in the human-animal bond, with the AVMA as a founding educational partner (see story). Partners for Healthy Pets released a study finding that many dog and cat owners fail to recognize what happens during their pet's physical examination (see story). Banfield Pet Hospital joined with the NAVC to present the second Veterinary Emerging Topics Report, focusing on antimicrobial usage in feline patients (see story).

On Feb. 4, the NAVC and its Veterinary Innovation Council announced the winners of their first Veterinary Innovation Awards. The individual winners are Dr. Kerri Marshall (Washington State '85), for the Trupanion Express app; veterinary technician Lindsay Peltier, for a full-time telecommuting method; practice manager Cassie Sizemore, for a method to improve workflow and foster engagement; veterinary student Kaitlin McDaniel, for work with the startup House Collars Concierge Vet Techs; and Jill Taylor, for telemedicine innovations at Banfield Pet Hospital.

​An attendee cuddles one of the adoptable puppies at the 2018 Veterinary Meeting & Expo in Orlando, Florida, presented by the North American Veterinary Community. All the puppies found homes. (Courtesy of the NAVC)

The organizational winners are Lap of Love, a veterinary network helping people care for geriatric pets; VETgirl, an online continuing education platform; Pet Peace of Mind, a nonprofit helping care for pets of human patients in hospice and palliative care; Tufts at Tech Community Veterinary Clinic, which provides care for pets of low-income clients; and the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists, for the annual ACVO event to provide free eye examinations for service animals.

Among other awards, the new Feather in Her Cap Association presented the inaugural Feather In Her Cap awards to female leaders in the animal health industry for contributions to the industry and for developing future female leaders. Among the recipients was a U.S. veterinarian, Dr. Catherine Knupp (Illinois '85), Zoetis executive vice president and president for research and development.

VetPartners, an association of management consultants, presented the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association with the Pioneer Professional Award, which recognizes 20-plus years of service as a pioneer in practice consulting or advising. The VHMA mission is to enhance and serve veterinary management professionals through superior education, certification, and networking. Accepting the award for the VHMA were Jim Nash, president; Gerard Gervasi, immediate past president; and Christine Shupe, executive director.

Also at VMX, The Bridge Club launched a video-based community for veterinary professionals. Membership is free at Bridge Club conversations are 25-30 minutes via video conference. Content is 30 percent professional development, 30 percent veterinary medicine, 30 percent personal growth, and 10 percent topics impacting society. The Bridge Club will host live events at conferences, too.

The 2018-2019 NAVC officers are Dr. K. Leann Kuebelbeck, Brandon, Florida, president; Dr. Cheryl Good, Dearborn, Michigan, president-elect; veterinary technician Paige Allen, West Lafayette, Indiana, vice president; Dr. Laurel Kaddatz, Pound Ridge, New York, treasurer; and Dr. Gail H. Gibson, Skowhegan, Maine, immediate past president. The other members of the board of directors are veterinary technician Harold Davis, Davis, California; Dr. Sally Haddock, New York City; Dr. Bob Lester, Harrogate, Tennessee; and Dr. Mark Russak, Berlin, Connecticut.

Related JAVMA content:

Veterinarians can earn certificate in human-animal bond (April 1, 2018)

Pet owners don't recognize what happens during exam (April 1, 2018)

Banfield reports on antimicrobial usage in feline patients (April 1, 2018)

NAVC features research in companion animal medicine (April 15, 2017)