Over 200 veterinary professionals from all specialties gathered at the annual West Indies Veterinary Conference hosted by Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine from Nov. 5-10, 2017, in St. Kitts. The 11th annual conference provided an opportunity for attendees to earn up to 30 hours of continuing education credits and served as a platform for attendees to network with fellow veterinary professionals, participate in a series of career building courses and discuss new findings surrounding veterinary practice.
WIVC 2017 offered attendees lectures within seven program areas. Experts from Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, RUSVM and Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine, amongst others, lectured on topics ranging from exotics, equine, bovine, and small animal medicine to business management and wellness in the veterinary profession.
The dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University, Dr. Mark Stetter, gave the keynote lecture on how to thrive in the veterinary profession. “I believe we are at a critical juncture and we must work together to solve the challenges ahead. We must look to positive solutions and share knowledge on ways we can improve the collective wellbeing of both animals and humans,” said Dr. Stetter.
A first for the conference, a hands-on echocardiography wet lab experience was offered which included instruction by Dr. N. Sydney Moise, Professor of Medicine at the College of Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University. The workshop, held on the RUSVM campus, provided a small group of attendees the opportunity to learn how to obtain high-quality echocardiographic images to permit the diagnosis of the most common disorders. It also presented echocardiographic examples of specific diseases including the components that are critical to diagnosis.
It was the first year attending the conference for Dr. Diana M. Gonzalez, Regional Consulting Veterinarian with Elanco Animal Health “I thoroughly enjoyed the conference, from the variety of topics offered to the numerous social activities. It was a great experience,” said Gonzalez. “I am looking forward to making it a tradition.”
The conference also included a number of student-focused events, allowing RUSVM students the opportunity to network with alumni, veterinary professionals and industry partners. The Saturday evening First Years’ Panel kicked off the student events with a question and answer session with alumni. RUSVM students had the opportunity to ask a variety of questions including internships, practice ownership, debt management and work-life balance from alumni at all stages of their careers. Similarly, the Alumni Speed Networking event on Sunday was a chance for students to begin to grow their professional network and to make connections within the veterinary profession. A jobs and externships fair at the RUSVM campus and an Employer Panel session allowed students to gain insight into the veterinary profession and explore opportunities for externships, internships and future employment. Banfield Pet Hospital, National Veterinary Associates, the Coyne Group, VCA Inc., the Wisconsin Veterinary Referral Centers and the Animal Care Centers of Cincinnati were just some of the employers represented.
Next year’s WIVC will be held Saturday, November 3 through Thursday 8, 2018 in St. Kitts, West Indies.