Dr. Gail Schroder of Greenhill Humane Society is the new OVMA president. Following are her remarks from the recent OVC business meeting.
First, I’d like to thank Dr. Houchen for her service as OVMA board president for the past year. She has done an amazing job, and also succeeded in keeping us all laughing and having fun while we’re at it. And also thank you to Glenn—our executive director—for all your hard work and for being a walking encyclopedia and historian for all our veterinary questions. You make it look easy but we know it’s not.
A little about me: I graduated from the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in 2001 and then moved out to Oregon and began working in small animal private practice. After 7 years I decided my heart was in shelter medicine. So for the past 14 years I have been working at Greenhill Humane Society in Eugene, where I am currently the Director of Shelter Medicine. I served as the OVMA board District 2 representative for almost 4 years before becoming President Elect, and have really enjoyed all the super smart people whom I have had the pleasure of working with on various issues and topics. I am looking forward to continuing those relationships and doing my best to serve you in this coming year.
Advocacy has always been in my nature. It’s what got me interested in shelter medicine, a field where animal welfare issues are always front and center. Those who know me will tell you I’m not shy about sharing my opinions. I value and celebrate the diversity of thought and experience we have in our profession. And I also understand that moving forward means finding common ground. And that can take time and patience and good listening skills, especially when it comes to tackling some of the tough issues we’re facing now and in the future.
There’s been a lot of transition and change in the past 2 years due to the pandemic. A lot of stress on veterinary practices, and we see the increased stress in our clients. But we’ve also seen some positive changes—increased salaries, options for telemedicine, more movement towards creating a veterinary nurse position. These are the things I want to continue to focus on in the future. That means addressing what role telemedicine will play in the future, how we can better support technicians and staff, and ensuring that new rules and legislation don’t negatively impact our ability to provide efficient and good care of our patients. And I hope to encourage more veterinarians, and especially those new to the profession, to become involved in advocacy and discussion about the topics and issues important today.
We are in a profession that at its core is about innovation and change—new medicines and treatment guidelines come out all the time. That’s of course why we have the OVC conference! The past 2 years we’ve had to update not only our knowledge on patient care, but also COVID-19 related clinic logistics and flow, masking guidelines, and managing drug and supply shortages. And I think we should feel proud of how well our profession has adapted!
The work OVMA does is all about those changes—keeping you informed, listening to your ideas and needs, putting it all together and advocating for that change. We’re kind of like your favorite technician, the one who’s always got your back. And we hope to grow that relationship, as we are stronger when we put our heads together. The pandemic has been challenging for sure, but it’s also shown us how resilient we can be, and how much we rely each other to be successful. So please reach out to us anytime and let us know how we can help you, your practice, and the issues that YOU care deeply about.
Thank you all for attending this year’s OVC. We’re really excited to be able to provide some top-notch speakers from all over the country, and we hope you will learn a lot—and enjoy doing so in your jammies, if you desire. As a reminder, there’s water and coffee in the kitchen, and the bathrooms are most likely down the hall…And don’t forget your pink bunny slippers in the closet! Make yourselves comfortable—after all, that’s the best part of a virtual conference! But we do hope to see you again next year in person.