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Q&A with a keynote: George Robinson III, DVM, MSPH

Long Beach, California convention center

Learn all about our upcoming Fetch Long Beach keynote speaker, plus what ‘Georgeism’ he expects attendees to take away

George Robinson III, DVM, MSPH, founder and former chief executive officer of Heartland Veterinary Partners, will take center stage at the first dvm360® Fetch conference in Long Beach, California December 1-3, 2023. Robinson, a long time Fetch attendee, will teach attendees about the different roles one can possess in veterinary medicine and how making a pivot in your career can be scary, but rewarding.

During this interview with dvm360, Robinson shares an inside look at his upcoming keynote address and other lectures, a fun fact about himself, and what inspired him to create Heartland Veterinary Practice.

George Robinson,DVM, MSPH, founder and former CEO ofHeartland Veterinary Practices

George Robinson,DVM, MSPH, founder and former CEO ofHeartland Veterinary Practices

What made you want to create Heartland Veterinary Partners?

I had worked with consolidated groups, starting from back in the day when I was with Banfield. I also had my own practice, and throughout my entire career, I always thought that there were better ways to do things, and given the opportunity, what would I do? So I ran into some private equity guys and they asked me the question, I gave the answer. We both liked what we heard, and started moving forward with Heartland Veterinary Partners. We wanted to create something that was veterinarian friendly. And at the end of the day, it's about the veterinarian.

What is your keynote address about?

My keynote’s really about pivoting because I found in my career, I had touched on all these different aspects of veterinary medicine, and decided what I wanted to do. I was doing my thing [and] I was happy. At some point, and at different points in my career, I had to pivot. And what does it take to pivot is…I noticed that some people are afraid to make a move or change in their career or in whatever cadence they've developed. And I found that most of the benefit that I've received, not only as a veterinarian and in my career, but as a person has been when I have made pivotal decisions in my career and in my life. So part of my keynote is going to be addressing those different things. What’s it take to pivot? How do you feel about pivoting? How pivoting affected me and my career and hopefully some of the gems that I can throw it folks, I call them ‘Georgeisms’.

Do you want to share more about the other lecture you will be presenting?

Yes, I have been motivated by some of the thoughts that have been going out in the veterinary space about the spectrum of care and what is it? And what does it mean? Well, that whole spectrum of care question came to me almost 40 years ago, when I was a master student in my Public Health Studies at Howard University. I thought through some things about care and spectrum of care, and so I asked myself certain questions, and created a mini thesis to answer the question, which I haven't told you what the question is yet. But to answer the question, and to have evidence-based research around spectrum of care and care for folks of lower socio economic background, and things, things of that nature, and how they relate to veterinary care, I did this study 40 years ago, and put it on the shelf. And from the conversations that I've been hearing lately on spectrum of care, I was motivated to pull it back off the shelf, and go over my data to my peers, and then give the conclusions, which I think are very noteworthy.

What do you like about Fetch conferences?

I've been coming to Fetch before it was Fetch. Years ago, when I was just head to the grind and working my tail off, I said, ‘I need a break.’ I didn't feel comfortable at the mega conferences. I went to the Fetch in Kansas City and oh my gosh, it was like family. You could sit in the rooms, they weren't super crowded, and the interactions were with between the speakers and yourself were really genuine, and you could get as much information as you needed.

I always left a Fetch meeting with turnkey information, stuff that I could use. Sometimes you go to conferences and you take the proceedings and put it on your desk and never open it. From Fetch, because of the way we interact it, because of the time I spent with the exhibitors, I came home, and the next week, I was using things in my practice that I had learned in Fetch. That's when I said, ‘wow, you know, this is a really noteworthy conference.’

If you could lecture anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

It wouldn't be anywhere it would be to upper elementary and junior high students anywhere in America but particularly in an underrepresented place. One of the reasons is that I want kids to be able to look at me and say I can do what he's done. And I can be a veterinarian and that I can have career success that I can enjoy. You know, the fruits of labor that that I've enjoyed. I love talking to young people, I love their receptivity. I love their energy and I always feel that, you know if I can touch one person, one young person, then I've done my job to help improve the quality their lives.

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