AABP Recent Veterinary Graduate Conference Turned “Competence to Confidence”

Giving attendees tools to take their competent skills into a confident career was the goal of the 2023 conference
Giving attendees tools to take their competent skills into a confident career was the goal of the 2023 conference

AABP members who are recent veterinary graduates were inspired to confidence at the 2023 6th Annual AABP Recent Graduate Conference held Feb. 10-11 in Knoxville, Tenn. In-person attendance was limited to AABP members who graduated veterinary school eight or fewer years ago. A record high 190 paid attendees were joined by 38 speakers/VIPs, 30 accompanying persons and 24 booths in the trade show. Two-thirds of attendees had graduated within the last three years.

With a theme of “Competence to Confidence” and offering 15.5 RACE-approved CE credits, general, beef and dairy, clinical skills, practice management, and small ruminant sessions were offered, in addition to four preconference seminars. Hands-on reproductive ultrasound and thoracic ultrasound preconference seminars were held at the University of Tennessee dairy. The University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine was the site of the lameness treatment protocols seminar. Also offered was a practice management seminar on starting a practice or buying in/buying out.

Ruminant Presentations Score!

The program committee, consisting of Dr. Tommy Ware (program chair and AABP Emerging Leader), Dr. Kendra Wells (dairy), Dr. Alex Pop (beef) and Dr. Mike Rohde (beef), matched the demographic of attendees. “With the amazing feedback from the 2022 conference, it was great to have the opportunity to provide some different CE,” noted Ware. “The small ruminant talks this year seemed to be a hit! On top of that, the amazing line up for our practice management sessions and preconference seminars allowed conference attendees to explore and learn about the ins and outs of practice ownership.” 

“We are very happy with the record attendance at the 6th AABP Recent Graduate Conference,” said AABP Executive Director Dr. K. Fred Gingrich, II. “The focus on clinically relevant CE for these members is important to not only improve their confidence in bovine practice, but also to connect them to AABP and the resources our organization has to offer all cattle veterinarians.” 

Skill Building

Kicking off the conference program was a keynote by Dr. Eric Rooker, clinic owner and founder of Operators to Owners, and a presentation by Dr. Mark Hilton on developing winning business models. “Recent graduates at this conference have all of the competence in the world or they wouldn't have become veterinarians in the first place,” said Ware. “However, taking one’s competence and turning it into confidence is a battle that each individual has to fight themselves. I believe the 2023 conference was the perfect opportunity for attendees to gain the tools and skills needed to become confident. A lot of amazing speakers added to the fire of knowledge and provided the encouragement needed to fight that fight.”  

The Recent Veterinary Graduate Conference was launched in 2018 as a result of the different needs of AABP members who are recent graduates, many of whom are unable to attend the AABP Annual Conference in the fall.

“As I watched the interactions within and between participants and speakers, and as I talked with many of the participants myself, it was clear that the conference atmosphere was entirely one of positive energy, enthusiasm, optimism, and a ‘can do’ attitude,” added AABP President Dr. Sandra Godden. “These attendees were not just collecting new knowledge and skills that will allow them to succeed today, but were also building on the foundation that will carry them forward in their careers, and in particular building and strengthening the network of friends and colleagues who will support them throughout their careers, and indeed, their lives.”  

Practical Application

At the 2023 conference, topics included c-sections, umbilical disease, tips and tricks for the vertically challenged, “parenting in the vet truck”, practice management topics, bovine physical exams, lameness treatment, euthanasia, cultural awareness for working with LatinX caretakers, mastitis, colostrum management, necropsy, palpation, chute safety, implants, data collection, urolithiasis, anesthesia, genomics, small ruminant parasitology and much more. 

Ware added that the Knoxville location afforded the conference great opportunities for the hands-on seminars as well as top-notch speakers from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine. “This conference offers an amazing opportunity for networking, not only with other recent graduates, but with some of your hero(s) of the bovine veterinarian world,” he said. “This conference removes the invisible barrier that recent grads see between themselves and their heroes who may be speaking. This, to me, creates the perfect environment for a young veterinarian to become more confident and inspired, which elevates the profession.”

For the third year, the Recent Graduate Conference offered a trade show featuring 24 animal-health-related companies and organizations. 

Registrants and AABP members can access the RACE-approved recorded presentations as a free member benefit through the Beef Cattle Institute website accessible at https://aabp.org. 


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