Big Idea


How will BIG ideas be evaluated?

When the Spring Solving Event closes on May 27, 2022, a panel of mental health and veterinary professionals will evaluate all systemic solutions based on the following criteria:

  • Is this idea a multi-level approach that drives broad system-level change?
  • Does this idea introduce new or improved solutions or methods that are not currently common practice in veterinary medicine?
  • Is this idea supported by scientific evidence or expert consensus in relevant fields?
  • Does this idea have the potential to make significant improvements in mental health and psychological wellbeing within the veterinary ecosystem?
  • Will a significant proportion of veterinary professionals and students be exposed to this idea?
  • Does this idea have a high likelihood of being developed and implemented successfully?
  • Will the actions and benefits from this idea continue beyond its initial implementation?
  • Is this idea consistent with the needs and culture of the veterinary ecosystem?

Who will evaluate all ideas?

David Ballard, PsyD, MBA, MA

Founder and Principal, GhostNote Consulting, U.S. | UK | Global

Dr. David Ballard is an organizational consultant with more than 15 years of prior experience as a non-profit executive. His emphasis is on promoting employee well-being and organizational performance through the integration of psychology and business. Dr. Ballard’s work focuses on organizational effectiveness, occupational health promotion, workplace mental health, program design and evaluation, and systems-level workplace interventions. He has provided research, consultation, and training services to government agencies, industry groups, corporations, private equity firms, medical schools, and universities.

During his time at the American Psychological Association, Dr. Ballard led APA’s Office of Applied Psychology, Center for Organizational Excellence, and Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program. He currently serves on the boards of directors for the C. Everett Koop National Health Awards and Sound Mind, chairs the Society for Occupational Health Psychology's Practitioner Committee, co-chairs the Advisory Committee for The Carolyn C. Mattingly Award for Mental Health in the Workplace, and is a member of NIOSH’s Cross-Sector Council on Healthy Work Design and Well-being.

Dr. Ballard is the co-editor of the book, The Psychologically Healthy Workplace: Building a Win-Win Environment for Organizations and Employees (2016). He received his doctorate in psychology and his MBA in health services administration from Widener University.

Courtney Keim, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Psychology, Bellarmine University

Dr. Courtney Keim is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Industrial & Organizational Psychologist who studies organizational wellness and psychologically healthy workplaces. Dr. Keim is the current President of the Kentucky Psychological Foundation, where she leads initiatives in diversity, equity, and inclusion, psychologically healthy workplaces in Kentucky, student mentorship programs, and highlighting psychological research.

Addie Reinhard, DVM

Founder and CEO, MentorVet

Addie Reinhard, DVM, MS is the Founder and CEO of MentorVet, an evidence-based mentorship and professional development program for recent veterinary graduates. She is a veterinary wellbeing researcher, and her research focuses on developing and evaluating innovative interventions to support mental health and wellbeing within the veterinary profession. She is on the research team for the third phase of the Merck Animal Health Veterinary Wellbeing Study. In 2021, she completed a master’s degree in Community and Leadership Development and a Graduate Certificate in College Teaching and Learning from the University of Kentucky and holds a certificate in Veterinary Human Support from the University of Tennessee. She is also a certified QPR instructor.

Philip Richmond, DVM, CAPP, CPPC, CCFP

Chief Medical & Wellbeing Officer for Veterinary United and the Founder of Flourishing Phoenix Veterinary Consultants. 

Dr. Richmond is the Chief Medical & Wellbeing Officer for Veterinary United and the Founder of Flourishing Phoenix Veterinary Consultants. He is passionate about positive culture and wellbeing in veterinary workplaces. He holds multiple certifications in the fields of applied positive psychology, workplace wellbeing, psychological health & safety, resilience training, behavior change, and suicide prevention. Dr. Richmond is involved in several current state and national initiatives to improve wellbeing in veterinary medicine—including the VMAE Wellbeing Committee, FVMA Wellbeing Committee, the CDC/NIOSH NORA Healthcare & Social Assistance Council, the MentorVet advisory board. For his service, Dr. Richmond has been awarded the FVMA Gold Star & FVMA Veterinarian of the Year.

Elizabeth Strand, Ph.D., LCSW

Founder and Director, Veterinary Social Work Program, University of Tennessee

Elizabeth B. Strand, Ph.D LCSW is the All Creatures Great and Small Endowed Clinical Associate Professor and Founding Director of Veterinary Social Work (VSW) at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine. She the started her career as a family therapist on an interdisciplinary medical team and this experience provided both clarity about her passion for working within systems and across professional boundaries. The Veterinary Social Work (VSW) Program- an interdisciplinary One Health partnership between Colleges of Veterinary Medicine and Social Work at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville is an example of that boundary spanning passion. Dr. Strand is a licensed clinical social worker, Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT) practitioner, a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teacher, a conflict resolution and peacebuilding course instructor, and a student and practitioner of Interpersonal Neurobiology. Dr. Strand has a special interest in adaptive, transdisciplinary, and participatory (APT) research methodologies as they apply to collaborative responses to wicked problems- especially in the food system. Her convergent research efforts have focused on: a) the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) policy impacts on producers’ experiences and behavior with antimicrobials in dairy cattle, b) a USDA IDEAS funded grant dedicated to building public trust in the dairy industry c) protecting the human psychological impact of mass depopulation of swine and other animals, d) co-creating a digital peer-based suicide prevention program in the veterinary community, and e) a multiyear mental health and wellbeing benchmarking research study in the veterinary field.

Currently, Dr. Strand serves as a UT One Health Scholar and leads the newly created Consilience Network for the One Health Initiative at UTK. Her three-fold professional mission is to: 1) support the humane treatment of people and animals, 2) attend to mindfulness in all settings and situations, and 3) make every step one directed towards building individual and collective peace.

When will winners be announced?

July 1, 2022 is the BIG day when winners will be personally notified. Then, these innovators will launch into HERO status via social media and all Founders’ communications. The winning idea innovator will receive $2,000 and three runners up each will receive $1,000.