July 25, 2011

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students: 

College Updates

As many of you know, Don Kruger, chief information officer (CIO) for the college, will be leaving at the end of the month to join his wife at their residence in California. I want to sincerely thank Don for his leadership and insight as we have evaluated the technical needs of the college, and looked to future requirements for the connectivity and safety of our college data. Among his many accomplishments, Don has been one of the drivers of "Panacea," the new information system that will replace VetStar in 2012. I hope you will take a moment to wish Don well and thank him for his work for our college. 

I am pleased to announce that Fred Marker has agreed to serve as acting CIO when Don departs. Fred has 30 years experience in information technology, including almost 13 years with the college, serving since 1998 as the manager of Hospital Information Systems for the Veterinary Medical Center. He serves on the executive board of the Veterinary Medical Data Bases (VMDB) group, which collects patient visit data tracked by many colleges of veterinary medicine for research. He holds a Master's of Public Administration from Kent State University and is currently enrolled in the Ohio State Master's of Public Health program. 

Congratulations to Dr. Kate Hayes-Ozello, who was just elected to a two-year term on the Steering Committee for the Ohio State Administrative Research Council (ARC).  ARC is a university-wide network of administrative personnel who are dedicated to supporting faculty researchers and facilitating Ohio State's research enterprise. As one of 14 members on the Steering Committee, Kate will participate in recommending policy changes that will support the continuous improvement of research administration. 

Our strategic leadership teams continue to make progress on key issues and plans to move ahead. Part of their effort is to thoughtfully consider the key challenges that need to be addressed in the college, including program expansion, budget issues, personnel considerations, student experiences, and others. Meetings over the past several months have brought lots of ideas and experiences to bear on important issues. Part of the commitment in working through this process and involving these teams is to expand the leadership skills of our faculty and staff. Strategic planning is really the process of strategic prioritization, and developing a shared vision enables the college to choose between competing priorities to lead the college forward. I’ll continue to keep you updated as these groups continue their progress. 

State and National Issues

Many faculty, staff, and students from our college participated in the recent AVMA conference in St. Louis. I want to congratulate and recognize our student leaders, especially fourth year student Joe Esch, president of the Student AVMA, who spoke to the House of Delegates at the meeting, and third-year student Katie Zatroch, Senior SAVMA delegate, second-year student Caitlin Pohlit, Junior SAVMA delegate, as well as Ohio State SCAVMA officers President Randy Bond and Vice President Sarah Husseini. These students continue to demonstrate their leadership skills by participating in national activities and representing Ohio State. 

I had the opportunity to present the 20/20 Vision committee report at the AVMA to the House of Delegates and SAVMA; it can be found at: www.avma.org/reference/2020visionreport.asp. The report recognizes that "the next decade is likely to usher in the most significant changes in AVMA's history—changes that are being driven by unprecedented globalization, remarkable technological advances, and socio-economic changes." The Commission recommends 11 organizational dimensions and strategic approaches, and those can be read in greater detail at the webpage. 

Many key issues were discussed throughout the AVMA meeting, but the economics of the profession seemed top-of-mind for most of the attendees. Not only did people bring it up in conversation, I could hear other groups discussing economic issues throughout the event. The AVMA executive board is planning to hold an economic summit on the economic and financial future of the profession with many new ideas to be considered. One consideration is to focus attention on promoting "wellness" for companion animals to increase patient visits to veterinary clinics. 

The AAVMC released the final report of the North American Veterinary medical Education Consortium (NAVMEC) on the future of veterinary medical education. They recommend core competencies in three main areas: Multispecies knowledge plus clinical competencies, understanding of "one health" concepts, and professional competencies such as communication. The consortium has brought together AAVMC, the AVMA with accreditation and licensing boards. 

Alumni and Fundraising

We enjoyed a great alumni reception during the AVMA conference, also. Thanks to Dr. Michelle Harcha for taking care of all the arrangements and to Melissa Weber for her help as well. Many of our key alumni events such as the AVMA reception are, in part, supported by our great Veterinary Medicine Alumni Society. I thank them for their help in holding this very successful event. 

Campus Updates and Partnerships

This past weekend was our second Focus-Forward Weekend, and like the AVMA meeting, our focus was on the economics of the profession. Guest speakers offered overviews of four main topics: student indebtedness, private practice profitability, the business model of veterinary education, and creating new economic opportunities. Discussions centered on what actions the college can undertake to help our students mitigate indebtedness, to support and better prepare private practitioners with business skills, to better prepare our students for a variety of career paths and improve their marketability, and to develop new revenue streams and become more efficient. Hundreds of ideas were generated, compiled, discussed, and voted on for future action. Over the next several weeks, updates will be made to the focus-forward website (http://vet.osu.edu/focus-forward), and a published summary of action items will be made available to all participants and everyone in the college. Our college is known for our leaders and leadership and the Focus-Forward Weekend allows us to highlight national issues and lead the way to introduce innovative and creative solutions to these serious contemporary issues. It was an outstanding event and I want to recognize and thank our facilitators, Theme Team, Dr. Mary Jo Burkhard, Katie Kostyo, Danielle Ford and our wonderful IT support including: Brian Kildow, Ken Matthias, Rory Gaydos and Jen Simmons. 

Dean Lonnie King