The 2018 conference, focused on new veterinary graduates in food animal medicine, offered presentations tailored to their information needs.
A specific audience demographic, tailored programming and an interactive platform that encouraged engagement, all served to make the inaugural AABP Recent Veterinary Graduate Conference a resounding success. The conference, held Feb. 9-10 in St. Louis, Mo., was designed to serve the needs of bovine veterinarians who are newer to practice and may not have the chance to attend the AABP Annual Conference in September.
Data from an audience poll demonstrated that 69% of attendees had not attended an AABP annual conference, 22% had attended one conference, and the remaining 9% attended two or three conferences. Attendance at the Recent Veterinary Graduate Conference was limited to veterinarians who graduated between 2010 and 2017, with 68% of attendees graduating within the past three years.
The continuing education showcased experts in beef and dairy medicine with practical topics such as obstetric tips, necropsies, exams, nutrition, immunology, calf diarrhea and more, as well as general topics such as gender bias, mentorship, practice burnout and alternative careers.
“This conference proved to be very valuable to the organization and to the attendees alike,” notes Program Chairman Dr. Blake Nguyen who was the 2017 AABP Emerging Leader. “An impressive array of continuing education was delivered by leaders in the profession including both veteran practitioners and peers from the audience demographic. Opportunities to engage with AABP leadership and one another regarding the rewards and challenges of bovine medicine were plentiful thanks to an innovative participation platform and the supportive, encouraging atmosphere at the meeting.”
The participation platform, Slido, allowed presenters to take real-time polls of the audience, and allowed attendees to ask questions, make comments and respond to polls and questions from their mobile devices. “The Slido technology allowed us to capture information and demographics from this group of recent graduates that will be helpful as the AABP Board of Directors develops future initiatives for our younger colleagues,” says AABP Executive Vice President Dr. K. Fred Gingrich, II.
“I really enjoyed the ability to have instant feedback through questions and comments,” adds AABP President Dr. Mike Apley who also presented at the conference. “By letting everyone have the opportunity to weigh in on a poll or question at our listening session and in the sessions, we were able to gain a lot of take-home concerns and inputs from the attendees.”
Defining obstacles to success
The evening “town hall” session with AABP leadership gave attendees the opportunity to voice questions, comments and concerns they have in their early careers. The interactive Slido platform let attendees anonymously indicate the obstacles to success many of them believe they face in practice; chief among them was confidence, time, clients and experience. More confidence and experience in basic skills such as surgery, nutrition and palpation were also desired. When asked their primary definition of success, attendees overwhelmingly said client satisfaction.
“A critical part of the future success of AABP is our ability to offer member services and value to the next generation of veterinarians,” Gingrich says. “Many times I heard speakers say they were more than confident in the future of bovine practice after networking with these veterinarians. Two areas where attendees identified needs were business management skills and mentorship programs. AABP currently has practice management workshop offerings and the Membership Committee is organizing a formal mentor-mentee match program."
Nguyen agrees. "I think the recent graduates left with new knowledge and skills that will be put directly into practice for the benefit of the patients, clients and production systems they work with, and they also felt energized for the longer view of their career ahead,” he says. “Attendees and more senior guests such as speakers and sponsors echoed the same sentiments after the conference -- gratitude for the opportunity, and optimism for the future."
The recorded presentations from the 2018 Recent Graduate Conference will be available soon to AABP members free through the Beef Cattle Institute (BCI). Visit www.aabp.org and click on the BCI icon on the home page.
The 2018 51st AABP Annual Conference will be held Sept. 13-15 in Phoenix, Ariz.