Let’s get these
How will we, TOGETHER, make a seismic shift in our profession?
Here’s how. Because of your efforts and those of your colleagues, BIG ideas have been submitted to answer the Spring Solving Event’s BIG question about mental health and psychological wellbeing. Minds have been opened. Barriers have been broken. Solving TOGETHER has been established. Now it’s time for the next step.
A Solutions Squad been convened to move the BIG idea from our Spring Solving Event into action. The following volunteers from our Founding organizations are rolling up their sleeves, getting to work, and preparing an implementation plan that will soon be available to the entire profession. Want to be the first to know? Register at vv.ideascale.com.
Leann Benedetti, DVM
Certified Physician Development Coach, Certified Compassion Fatigue Practitioner
Dr. Leann Benedetti provides innovative wellness solutions for the humans of Veterinary medicine as ‘The Veterinary Coach,’ which she founded in 2017. As a past practice owner, and a still-practicing (part time) veterinarian with 25+ years of clinical experience, her goal is to support the emotional and mental health of individuals, teams, and organisations; as well as build resilient, agile, positive, psychologically safe veterinary culture. Dr. Benedetti is an ICF Certified Professional Coach, Certified Compassion Fatigue Practitionor, Mentor, Safe Circle Facilitator, Public Speaker, member of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) Wellness Advisory Group, a Peer Advisor for the College of Veterinarians of Ontario, and a passionate advocate for veterinary well-being and whole-hearted living.
Sarah Bernardi, RSW, MSW
Veterinary Social Worker, Ontario Veterinary College
Sarah Bernardi is the veterinary social worker at the Ontario Veterinary College and Health Sciences Centre where she provides support services, resources, and continuing education to the OVC’s Companion Animal Hospital, Large Animal Hospital and Animal Cancer Centres .
She is passionate about supporting the human components of veterinary medicine and routinely collaborates with pet owners, veterinary staff, and mental health professionals around issues including compassion fatigue, anticipatory grief & grief, quality of life, end of life and decision making. She represents the International Association of Veterinary Social Workers (IAVSW) board as their Director of Partnerships; is a member of the Canadian Violence Link Coalition Steering Committee; and facilitates a peer group that brings mental health practitioners working in veterinary hospitals together to share their insights, experiences and support one another.
Virginia Corrigan, DVM, MPH, DABVP, CCRP, CHPV
Program Director, Veterinary Technology, Appalachian State University, North Carolina
Dr. Virginia Corrigan has enjoyed being involved in the advancement of the profession and giving back to the community. She was in one of the inaugural classes of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Future Leaders program and is currently a member of the AVMA Steering Committee on Human-Animal Interactions.
She has served as a facilitator with the Veterinary Leadership Institute and has participated in numerous community volunteer spay and neuter events, including with the Remote Area Medical Society in Peru. She was recently selected to participate in the seventh cohort of the Homeward Bound project, a global leadership initiative for women in STEM careers aiming to heighten the influence and impact of women in making decisions that shape our planet.
Corrigan's interests outside of clinical practice include the human-animal bond, One Health and wellbeing. She believes in empowering veterinary professionals to achieve their full potential and finding innovative solutions to promote positive change.
Coral Doherty, RVT, CPHSA
Workplace Psychological Health and Safety Development Director, Better Mental Health for the Future, Manitoba, Canada
Kathleen Keil, DVM
Veterinary Wellbeing Advocate
Dr. Kathy Keil studied cognitive and neuropsychology in her undergraduate and graduate psychology degrees prior to attending veterinary school at the Ontario Veterinary College in Canada. As a veterinarian she has experience in mixed and companion animal practice in addition to 20 plus years of experience in the veterinary pharmaceutical industry including her current role as a regional services veterinarian with Merck Animal Health Canada. She is a staunch advocate for mental health in the veterinary profession. She has training in Mental Health First Aid, safeTALK suicide awareness, ASIST suicide intervention, Mindful Self-Compassion, is licensed to teach safeTALK, is trained as a Psychological Health and Safety Advisor with the Canadian Mental Health Association and is a certified yoga instructor. She regularly teaches suicide awareness and basic intervention skills to veterinary professionals and mindful strategies to help them take care of their own mental well-being. She is chair of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association Wellness Advisory Group and member of the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association Member Wellness Group and the leading force behind the Merck-Canadian Veterinary Medical Association “It’s Time to Talk about Mental Health in Vet Med” Awareness Campaign. She shares a home with her athletic and accountant husband Tom, two rescue cats, one rescue border collie and finds mental peace and hopefulness in riding her dressage horse Flora.
Heather Kvitko-White, DVM, DACVIM
Founder of KW Veterinary Consulting, and The Pragmatic Professor
Dr. Kvitko-White is a board-certified small animal internal medicine specialist, an industry leader, and a national speaker who teaches veterinarians and organizations a commonsense approach to improving patient outcomes while managing costs. Often helping to bridge the gaps between academia, industry, and practice, she provides expert leadership and project management for veterinary educational events and develops and delivers pragmatic medical content at all professional levels.
Co-founder, Get MotiVETed
Renee Machel has helped thousands of high-performers as a nationally renowned speaker, certified life coach, and certified yoga instructor, guiding people in the practices of mindfulness & meditation.
She is the co-founder of Get MotiVETed, Wellbeing Solutions which aims to positively impact people’s mental health and well-being while enhancing the culture within organizations. As a thought leader and content creator, she sheds light on the solutions people have available to them to manage their well-being personally and professionally.
She has spent 20 years in the veterinary industry as a hospital leader and veterinary technician. Renee is the co-founder and program director of Get MotiVETed University, which is the home of the Veterinary Burnout P.R.E.P. Certification Program.
Michelle McQuaid, Ph.D., MAPP
Dr. Michelle McQuaid is a best-selling author, workplace wellbeing teacher and playful change activator. An honorary fellow at the University of Melbourne’s Graduate School of Education, in addition to hosting the highly acclaimed weekly podcast, Making Positive Psychology Work, which features leading researchers and practitioners from around the world.
Michelle blogs for Psychology Today, The Huffington Post and Thrive, and her work has been featured in Forbes, The Harvard Business Review, The Wall Street Journal, Boss Magazine, The Age and more.
Chief Administrative Officer, Veterinary United
Dana Meske has been working in the veterinary field for over 23 years. As the Chief Administrative Officer at Veterinary United, she oversees inner office development and employee operations at VU. One of her favorite things about being a part of the veterinary world is that every day is new and exciting (she swears she hasn’t worked the same day twice). Along her path, she found her way to becoming a student of yoga, which led to achieving an RYT 200 Yoga instructor certification. Helping others discover the benefits that yoga and meditation can provide in their daily lives (both inside and outside the veterinary world) helps her to share light and love with others. She is the proud parent of her “critter” kid Baxter and enjoys running, walking and getting outside as much as possible!
Addie Reinhard, DVM, MS
Founder & CEO - MentorVet
Dr. Reinhard 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 who focuses on developing and evaluating innovative interventions to support mental health and wellbeing within the profession. Dr. Reinhard 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, 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, CPHSA, CPPC, CCFP
Chief Medical & Wellbeing Officer, Veterinary United
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 and 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, and the MentorVet advisory board. For his service, Dr. Richmond has been awarded the FVMA Gold Star & FVMA Veterinarian of the Year.
Renee Schmid, DVM, DABT, DABVT
Manager, Veterinary Medicine and Professional Services, Pet Poison Helpline Senior Veterinary Toxicologist
Renee Schmid has been with the organization since 2013 during which time she has had the opportunity to lead the team of veterinarians that span across the country and contribute to veterinary outreach and daily operations of Pet Poison Helpline. Dr. Schmid graduated from Kansas State University with a BS degree in Agriculture/Animal Science as well as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree.
While at Pet Poison Helpline, Dr. Schmid has managed over 25,000 cases involving animal poisoning and has presented on leadership and various toxins at both state, regional and national conferences as well as national webinars. Dr. Schmid has published scientific book chapters on the topics of thyroid supplements, diuretic drug intoxication, xylitol intoxication, general poisoning therapy, strychnine toxicosis, Compound 1080 toxicosis, anticoagulant rodenticide poisoning, cholecalciferol rodenticide poisoning, toxicities from human drugs – cardiovascular and poisonous plants: house plants and ornamentals. Dr. Schmid has also published peer-reviewed scientific articles on intermediate syndrome after suspected organophosphate poisoning in a dog, xylitol and mirabegron poisoning in dogs, as well as anesthesia induction in cats (Schmid et al. Suspected intermediate syndrome in a dog after organophosphate poisoning, JVECC. Schmid et al. Acute Hepatic Failure in a Dog after Xylitol Ingestion and Schmid et al. Mirabegron Toxicosis in Dogs: A Retrospective Study, both in Journal of Medical Toxicology. Schmid et al. Comparison of anesthetic induction in cats by use of isoflurane in an anesthetic chamber with a conventional vapor or liquid injection technique, JAVMA).
Dr. Schmid also serves on the Editorial Advisory Board for DVM360 and represents Pet Poison Helpline for AAHA’s Veterinary Visionaries.
Kimberly Schrader West
VP Corporate Affairs, VCA Animal Hospitals
As VP of corporate affairs, Kimberly leads internal and external integrated communications, corporate social responsibility and sustainability. Passionate about putting purpose into action, Kimberly also serves as the President of VCA Charities, a nonprofit dedicated to keeping pets in loving homes.
Before joining VCA in 2020, Kimberly served as director of external communications for Mars Global, and held senior leadership roles at the technology and management consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton and global communications agency FleishmanHillard. She holds a master's from Boston University and bachelor's degree from Vanderbilt University.
Kimberly enjoys being outside and baking with her family.
Executive Director, Veterinary Hospital Managers Association
Christine graduated from the State University of New York College at Oswego with a Bachelor of Arts degree, major in Political Science. Christine started her career as an administrative assistant for the lobbying firm of Shea and Gould in Albany, NY. She continued her career at the New York State Legislature as the Legislative Aid to Assemblywoman Frances T. Sullivan. She joined the association management firm of Capitol Hill Management Services (CHMS) where she served as an administrative assistant to the New York State Association of Renewal and Housing Officials (NYSARHO), Executive Director to the New York State Society of Opticians (NYSSO) and Executive Director to the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association (VHMA). In 2003, she earned the Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation awarded by the American Society of Association Executives. In 2005 she started her own association management company, CQS Management Service, LLC, where she continues to serve as the VHMA Executive Director. In 2017 she earned the Credentialing Specialist Certificate from the Institute for Credentialing Excellence. In 2018 VHMA was presented with the Pioneer Professional Award from VetPartners and received the 2019 Executive of the Year Award from Veterinary Medical Association Executives (VMAE). She currently serves as the Treasurer to the Meadow Ridge Homeowners Association and as a Director on the VMAE Board. She is a trained community volunteer for the North Carolina Guardian Ad Litem program where she serves abused and neglected children by advocating for their best interests in court.
CVPM, SPHR, PHRca, SHRM-SCP, CCFP
Jessica has been the Hospital Administrator of her family’s small animal practice in Southern California since 2002. Truly a family affair, her father is a veterinarian, and her sister is an RVT, all working together in the practice. Jessica completed the Veterinary Management Institute (AAHA/VMI) program at Purdue in 2008; she earned the Certified Veterinary Practice Manager (CVPM) designation in 2010 and achieved the Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certification in 2015 with a specialty certification for California Human Resources (PHRca). Additionally, in 2015 Jessica earned the Society of Human Resource Management Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP). Jessica completed the Certified Compassion Fatigue Professional certification in 2017.
Jessica Strohecker, CVBL, PCM®, CDMP
Veterinary Practice Coach, Veterinary Growth Partners
Jessica Strohecker has over 10 years of experience in veterinary practice management. A creative nerd at heart, she started her career as a client relations specialist in 2006 and quickly identified that veterinary practices needed help with marketing. She put her foundation skills to work and went from a client relations specialist to business manager in 2 years. She is a firm believer that any practice can be unique and enjoys being able to thread creativity through all aspects of veterinary medicine. In her career, she managed 2 small animal AAHA accredited practices and a 24-hour general/emergency practice with resort services.
Jessica graduated from the Pennsylvania College of Art and Design and is a proud to be a Professional Certified Marketer (PCM) and Certified Digital Marketing Professional (CDMP).
Josh Vaisman, CCFP, MAPPCP
Co-founder, Flourish Veterinary Consulting
Josh believes all veterinary professionals deserve to feel fulfilled by their work each and every day. Through his company, Flourish Veterinary Consulting, he combines more than 20 years of veterinary experience, a master’s in applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology, and education in Positive Leadership and Positive Organizational Scholarship, and a passion for guiding leaders to cultivate work environments in which people can thrive.