Reaching for new heights in veterinary well-being

September 19, 2016

Colorado State University hosts international veterinary wellness summit for students and professionals.

The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) has scheduled its fourth annual Veterinary Health and Wellness Summit for early November. The international conference to promote personal well-being among veterinary students and professionals will be hosted for the first time by Colorado State University (CSU) in Fort Collins and is expected to draw around 250 attendees, according to a CSU release

“As a community, we realize that wellness and mental-health issues are affecting people throughout the profession, and we are talking about next steps to help address this problem in our veterinary schools and across the industry,” says Mark Stetter, DVM, DACZM, dean of the CSU College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Organizers hope the meeting will raise awareness about factors that may undermine veterinary productivity, career longevity and enjoyment in practice. They also hope to identify best practices and concrete steps individuals and the industry may take to improve mental health and a sense of well-being among veterinary students and professionals, the release states.

Conference leaders are inviting students, administrators, practicing veterinarians, social workers, counselors and industry partners to develop a common understanding about veterinary health and wellness-and ways well-being may be improved starting in veterinary school, Stetter says.

Sophie Nelson is a CSU veterinary student who is helping plan student sessions at the summit. “We will focus on students and what is relevant in their world, to make sure that they are contributing to a community that is proactive,” Nelson says in the release.

“As a profession, veterinary medicine has a significant role to play because we value prevention,” says Andrew Mccabe, DVM, MPH, JD, executive director of the AAVMC, in the report. “The very foundation of veterinary medicine is prevention of illness and disease. It's a case of ‘Doctor, heal thyself.'”

Mccabe urges veterinarians to deal with mental health the same way they would address other problems in the populations they serve-with diagnosis, treatment and prevention. 

For more information on this, visit the fourth annual AAVMC Veterinary Health and Wellness Summit's website