AVMA 2018: Utilizing Veterinarians During Any Disaster Response

July 26, 2018

Key takeaways from a presentation on emergency and disaster preparedness from the 2018 American Veterinary Medical Association Convention.

Christa Gallagher, DVM, CCRP, MPH, DACVPM, assistant professor of veterinary public health and epidemiology at the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, talks about the key takeaways from her presentation on emergency and disaster preparedness at the 2018 American Veterinary Medical Association Convention.

"A couple of really nice caveats came out of that panel discussion and I'm thrilled that we did it and I feel like we really did it with a nice One Health approach. We had a veterinarian, of course, a physician, an environmental scientist, a social scientist, and an emergency manager. So, we had a really nice panel, but there were some things that came up.

One of them was just that we really stressed the need of how important veterinarians are in any kind of emergency or disaster preparedness and response. Certainly, AVMA has within their disaster management philosophy they have an 'all hazards all species' slogan, and that's so important to think about because there are many hazards depending on where your location is, and we certainly are dealing with multi species as veterinarians. But it really came out how important veterinarians are. They should be part of every emergency or disaster planning and response. So, we really encourage veterinarians to take part in that. And that was something that was surprising because we did have some people commenting that, I think veterinarians feel like sometimes they just do their own thing on the periphery and help animals in some way, but they really need to be integral to those responses. And certainly, hopefully, before the heat of the moment, before a disaster happens; the best thing is to have them involved in the planning of that, you know, planning for any kind of crisis situation."