The Program

The 2020 Mid-Year Meeting Program

Join Us August 25 – 27, 2020


**All Times Listed are EDT**

August 25

12:00-12:30pm    Welcome, How To, and Small Group Introductions

12:30-1:00pm     Veterinary Corporate Transaction Metrics in the Age of COVID-19

1:00-1:20pm     Sponsor Roundtable Discussions

1:30-2:10pm     Virtual Exhibit Hall Time

2:10-3:30pm     Diversity and Inclusion: Making Positive Change, Panel Discussion

3:30-3:50pm     Group Networking Session

4:00-5:00pm     VHMA Pet Owner Pricing Survey: What They Said and How to Use it

5:00-5:45pm     Entrepreneurial Pitch Competition Finals!

August 26

12:00-12:30pm    Welcome, How To, Committee/SIG Updates

12:30-1:50pm     The New Age of Telehealth Panel Discussion

2:00-2:20pm     Sponsor Roundtables Discussions

2:20-2:50pm     Bridging the Dental Gap

2:50-3:10pm     Group Networking Session

3:10-3:50pm     Virtual Exhibit Hall Time

3:50-4:20pm     How a Single Compromised Server in the Ukraine Led to Drug Shortage Issues for Clinics in the U.S., and How to Best Protect Yourself

4:20-4:50pm     Road Warrior Tips

4:50-5:30pm     Happy Hour and Fun!

August 27

12:00-12:45pm    Welcome, Sponsor Presentation, Techniques for Improving Wellbeing and Mental Health

12:45-1:15pm     So, You Call Yourself a Coach? The Difference Between Big “C” and Little “c” Coaching

1:30-2:10pm     Virtual Exhibit Hall Time

2:10-3:30pm     Looking Ahead: The Future of the Veterinary Industry

3:40-4:10pm     Why Merriam Webster Chose “They” as Word of the Year

4:10-5:00pm     CareCredit Social

Hot Rocks

What would a VetPartners meeting be without Hot Rocks presentations? This year’s lineup includes:

Veterinary Corporate Transaction Metrics in the Age of COVID-19

Gary Ackerman

Veterinary practice valuations and transactions have been affected by COVID-19, which has impacted the profitability of practices and veterinary partner industries alike. Gary will help you understand the financial metrics and underlying factors that influence the corporate valuation of practices, and impart valuable information for any practitioner or advisor planning for a future corporate transition.

Road Warrior Tips

Nancy Dewitz and Elise Lacher

Things will eventually return to normal, and we’ll be back on the road again before we know it! Packing the right things, and having insider information from seasoned experts, can mean the difference between slogging through endless trips and enjoying the ride. Learn how to travel like a pro, and bring your tips to share with the group!

Bridging the Dental Gap

Mary Berg

Dental disease is the most common health problem in small animals, so why does income from dental procedures comprise less than 10% of practice revenue? Bridging this gap involves educating the entire team about the importance of dental care, using different vocabulary in the exam room with clients, and assessing every patient, every time, for dental disease.

VHMA Pet Owner Pricing Survey: What They Said and How to Use It

Dr. Karen Felsted

Like it or not, clients determine the worth of veterinary care by deciding how much they are willing to pay, based on the perceived value of the services they receive. This session will provide results from the 2019 Pet Owners Economic Value Study, which, for the first time, includes data about pricing in veterinary medicine. Learn how you can use this information to influence clients, so they see added value in veterinary services, and are willing to expand their veterinary care budget.

Why Merriam Webster Chose “They” as Word of the Year

Dr. Mia Cary, Kara Burns, MS, MEd, LVT, VTS (Nutrition)

Although the word “they” has historically been used to refer to multiple people, its meaning has shifted to include reference to one person whose gender identity is nonbinary. As one of the most referenced words of 2019, which helped drive an astounding 313% increase in word lookups, “they” packs a massive impact into a short word. Learn why pronouns matter, and why, when, and how to ask people about their personal pronoun preferences.

So, You Call Yourself a Coach? The Difference Between Big “C” and Little “c” Coaching

Kristina Guldbrand and Dr. Jeff Thoren

Coaching is rapidly becoming the most popular form of business leadership, and veterinary medicine is taking notice. But, in a non-regulated industry, anyone can call themselves a coach. Teams can benefit greatly from highly trained and experienced coaching practitioners (Big “C” coaching); however, untrained consultants often refer to themselves as coaches (little “c” coaching), which creates confusion. Veterinary professionals stand to benefit from professional coaching, but standards are needed to define veterinary coaching, and differentiate between Big ”C” and little “c” coaching.

How a Single Compromised Server in the Ukraine Led to Drug Shortage Issues for Clinics in the U.S., and How to Best Protect Yourself 

Clint Latham

2017 saw the largest act of cyberterrorism in history. Aimed to take out the Ukraine network infrastructure, NotPetya catastrophically impacted several global businesses, including Merck. In order to meet demand, Merck was forced to leverage drug supplies from the U.S. government. This session will address how the cyberattack was designed, how it got out of line, and steps veterinary hospitals can take to protect themselves from the impact of future attacks.

Techniques for Improving Wellbeing and Mental Health

John Volk

The Merck Animal Health Veterinarian Wellbeing Study gives us insight into the mental health and wellbeing of veterinarians, and compares findings from 2,871 veterinarians to physicians and the general U.S. population of employed adults. So, now that we know the numbers, what can we do about it? This session will include effective techniques for improving your mental health and wellbeing so you can proactively prevent, or deal with, stress and burnout.

Panel Discussions

Each day will feature a panel discussion revolving around relevant and timely topics that impact your career on a daily basis. Following each panel discussion, you’ll move into smaller breakout discussions to dig deeper into the subject and share ideas with your colleagues.

Diversity & Inclusion:
Making Positive Change
The New Age
of Telehealth
Looking Ahead:
The Future of the Industry

Diversity and Inclusion: Making Positive Change

A timely and important panel discussion about Diversity in Vet-Med. This will be a solutions based conversation, addressing why there is an ongoing need for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, in Vet-Med; including strategies on how to implement a DEI action plan as business leaders, consultants and individuals. Additionally, this is an opportunity for members to understand how VetPartners as an organization will be developing a comprehensive Diversity and Inclusion policy and action plan.

Moderator – Monica Dixon-Perry, CVPM, Mission Veterinary Partners


  • Douglas Brooks, Compassion First Pet Hospitals
  • Kemba Marshall, MPH, DVM, DABVP (Avian), Purina Mills, LLC
  • Allen Cannedy, DVM, NC State College of Veterinary Medicine

The New Age of Telehealth

The Impact of Covid-19 on the future of telemedicine and telehealth –   is there a silver lining in the cloud?  Will the changes necessitated by this pandemic provide a launching pad that will allow veterinarians to engage in telehealth and telemedicine without violating the veterinary client/patient relationship? Come and hear the experts explore the knowledge and share the data gathered during this unique period of time – and participate in an open conversation about how to legally and properly use virtual technology to extend healthcare so that clients, patients and veterinarians can all reap the benefits of telemedicine.  Become a part of this important discussion – as these panelists and others try to create best practices that will lead the way forward in veterinary healthcare.

Moderator – Bruce Truman, MBA, BabelBark

Panelists – 

  • Charlotte LaCroix, DVM, JD, Veterinary Business Advisors, Inc.
  • Gabriel Corredor, Firstvet
  • Jessica May, DVM, Firstvet

Looking Ahead: The Future of the Veterinary Industry

These are unprecedented times during which we are experiencing massive changes on every front. What do these changes look like in the veterinary industry, and what do they mean for the future of the industry?

We will begin this session with an overview of the emerging trends that will affect the industry, led by a member of the VFC commission, which developed evidence-guided recommendations to the AVMA and the AAVMC. Then, additional panelists, thought leaders from the corporate side of the industry, will discuss how these trends may affect the veterinary world of tomorrow.

Moderator – John Owens, JD, John Owens Law


  • Patrick Keefe, CareCredit
  • Jules Benson, BVSc MRCVS, Nationwide
  • Anthony Tortorici, Boehringer Ingelheim
  • Shelley Johnson, CVPM, MSSL, Patterson Veterinary
  • Adam Little, DVM, GoFetch Health