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Q&A with a keynote: Bob Murtaugh, DVM, MS, DACVIM, DACVECC

Kansas City

Get ready for the Fetch dvm360 conference in Kansas City, MO with this special look at one of our keynote speakers

The dvm360® Fetch Conference in Kansas City, Missouri, will be taking place from August 25-27, 2023. The third day will feature a keynote presentation from Bob Murtaugh, DVM, MS, DACVIM, DACVECC, on "What The 'L' Is Going On?! Leadership and Communication." In his presentation, Murtaugh will discuss all of the smaller aspects that go into creating strong veterinary leadership and communication and explain some key takeaways that attendees can use in their own practice. For a closer look at Dr Murtaugh, here is a brief Q&A style interview.

Can you introduce yourself and share a little bit about how you got started as a veterinarian?

Bob Murtaugh, DVM, MS, DACVIM, DACVECC, keynote speaker at our Fetch conference in Kansas City.

Bob Murtaugh, DVM, MS, DACVIM, DACVECC, keynote speaker at our Fetch conference in Kansas City.

My name is Bob Murtaugh. I've been a veterinarian for over 40 years. I got my start, like many of us in the profession, as a kennel boy at age 15 [years] and got the “bug” to be a veterinarian from that experience. My family is physician or human medical oriented, so I'm the black sheep in the family, so to speak, having chosen the path of veterinary medicine. But it's been a great career and [there is] nothing but gratitude for the experiences and opportunities I've had.

What got you interested in veterinary internal medicine?

During my rotations as a senior student and as an intern, I discovered that I was dangerous with sharp objects. So, I decided I would probably pursue something that required a little more thought than reconstructing fractures. So, I became an internal medicine resident at Ohio State [University] and I enjoy the challenges of figuring out the puzzle of a significant medical case with all the twists and turns that it may take you on as a diagnostician and the clinician.

What got you interested in veterinary emergency medicine?

When I finished my residency, I landed on the faculty of Tufts University, which was a fairly new veterinary school at the time. At the time I joined, we were operating out of Angel Memorial Animal Hospital, our teaching hospital in Boston. We constructed a teaching hospital in Grafton, which is west of Boston, and I was saddled with establishing the emergency service for the hospital. One thing led to another, and like-minded individuals like me and other faculty members at other universities that were surgeons or internists, or anesthesiologists had been sort of saddled with the same endeavor. And so, we banded together in the late 80s, and created the Emergency and Critical Care College. We figured if we were doing it, we might as well get some recognition for it.

What has been the most rewarding moment in your career so far and what do you look forward to in the future?

I don't know tend to dwell on the past. I'm kind of a forward-thinking guy. I've had great opportunities and met a lot of people and developed a lot of meaningful relationships. I think, overall, the ability to influence and mentor and create change and opportunity in our profession for myself and others is what's most rewarding for me.

I tried to retire at the end of 2022, and I flunked retirement. So, I'm currently pursuing the possibility of becoming a founding dean of a new veterinary school. So that's the opportunity on the horizon. And along with [that], obviously, I'm looking forward to what lies ahead in Kansas City at the end of this month.

What inspired you to give a keynote on leadership and communication?

Leadership is important to me from a standpoint of that I think all veterinarians are leaders at some level, and no matter what their pursuits may be. Having an opportunity to share 40 years of experience and invite some participation from others with the keynote in Kansas City is exciting for me.

What do you hope attendees take away from the lecture?

I think the keynote is focused on the characteristics and qualities of a leader. And so, I think we all have opportunities for growth in our careers and in our professional pursuits. I'm hopeful that a couple of the pearls that drip from the group discussion in Kansas City will resonate with attendees, and they'll take them home and put them to work as leaders in their own realm.

What are you looking forward to at the Fetch conference?

As always, I enjoy the rekindling of old relationships and the development of new relationships in the profession when I attend conferences. Meeting people and sharing old stories and building some new stories will be what excites me about what lies ahead in Kansas City.

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