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August 15, 2020

Sessions to explore aspects of this pandemic and the next

Published on July 22, 2020

Disposable face mask hanging from a rearview mirrorSessions at the AVMA Virtual Convention 2020, Aug. 20-22, will delve into the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the possibilities of pandemics to come.

The AVMA Veterinary Economics Division will present “Economic Update: The Impact of COVID-19 on the Profession” from 12-12:50 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 20. Matthew J. Salois, PhD, chief economist at the AVMA, said the economics team will discuss the results of the AVMA survey of practice owners regarding the pandemic, the maps and survey dashboard that the team has deployed, and economic research on the impacts of COVID-19 on veterinary medicine.

Accountant Terry O’Neil, partner at Katz, Sapper & Miller’s Veterinary Services Group, will present “Leading Through a Crisis and the Lessons We Learned” from 3:30-4:20 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 21.

“The coronavirus pandemic upended our normal way of life, causing extended shutdowns, soaring unemployment, and rapidly changing dynamics,” according to a session description. “Veterinary hospitals had to make quick decisions and rapidly adapt to meet the needs of their patients and clients. There are significant lessons we have learned from this experience—both soft skills and tangible procedural skills.”

Dr. Tracey McNamara, a professor of pathology at Western University of Health Sciences College of Veterinary Medicine, will present “The Species Gap: Are We Better Prepared for Zoonotic Threat Than We Were in 1999? Have the Lessons of West Nile Virus Been Learned?” from 3:30-4:20 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 21. While working at the Bronx Zoo in 1999, Dr. McNamara helped discover the arrival of West Nile virus in the United States.

“We must adopt a species neutral approach to biosurveillance,” according to a session description. “Until this becomes a reality, we will continue to use people as the ‘index case’ for pandemic threats.”

Other sessions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic were being finalized at press time.