So what is everyone doing this summer?  The MVMA is busy.  We just hosted our first session of the Power of 10 for our future/emerging leaders at MSU the last weekend in June.  A group of us also traveled to Iowa for the Heartland Veterinary Conference to discuss veterinary medicine in the Midwest, future trends of the profession, and how to better our associations.  We had a great time and participated in Meals from the Heartland, a nonprofit group where we prepared over 7000 meals to be distributed to those in need!  Beginning July 22nd we will be hosting our Summer Conference on Macinac Island with 2 fantastic speakers, Dr. Anthony Pease (radiology) and Dr. Fritz Wood (practice management). 

I have been hearing from many of you that things are busier in your practices and that 2012 is a better year than 2011.  If you are looking for ideas to improve your practice don’t forget to check out the Partnership for Preventive Pet Health through AVMA.  The new AVMA website should be up in August after the AVMA Convention and tools to help your practice will be introduced at that time.  There is a great FREE survey that can help you to figure out where you may need to focus your attention and the new tools will help you to make changes to your practice.

Mandatory CE in the state of Michigan has hit a new roadblock, but rest assured we are working hard at MVMA to maneuver around the trouble.  We WILL need help and a grassroots effort to move forward and a task force is working on the issue so that we can mobilize.  We are looking at writing legislation to create mandatory CE.  It will need to be introduced and voted on.  Unfortunately, we are at a bit of a standstill until the elections this fall have been completed as lawmakers will not be taking on new projects until after November.  We will be ready and poised to move forward.  A special Animal Issues Briefing will be held in March 2013 where we will talk directly with our legislators and lobby for our cause.  When we have our legislation written we will get the word out and have as many as we can start talking to legislators as soon as possible.

I would love to hear from you if you have thoughts or questions.


I would like to congratulate the soon to be graduates at the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine!  It has been so much work to achieve your goal and you have persevered and done it!  Please know that MVMA is more than a name.  There are many faces and helping hands that go with it to guide recent and not so recent graduates and answer questions as they arise in the future.  Membership with us gives you a voice and a connection to others in the veterinary community.  OK – This is not an advertisement for MVMA.  I really feel strongly about what membership has given back to me and how it has helped me to become a practice owner, a better doctor, a local leader, and a better person in general.


Take a moment to welcome our newest members to the profession.  We need each other to moved the profession forward and continue our committment to our clients and our patients.  The new grads bring great information and ideas with them that will no doubt shape our future so pay attention and engage!  It can be stressful to see a new doctor come into your area.  Economic pressure can make us feel like we need to keep our “trade secrets” away from newcomers.  I think that sharing ideas is actually much more productive because we then are able to think out of our usual box and come up with great new thoughts and programs that we never could have conceived on our own.  So reach out to a new DVM at your next local meeting and see what they have to share with you!

Graduation is on Friday, May 4th in the Wharton Center Great Hall at 4pm.  I will be there to welcome the graduates to our profession and would love to meet and chat with any veterinarians who have questions or ideas!

Life can be so busy for everyone. It seems that with commitments to family, friends, classes, tests, business, and other groups that many of us participate in, we sometimes get caught in a vortex of just getting through the day, the week or the project. Organizations fall into this cycle of doing what needs to be done too. We all must sometimes take a step back and look at what we SHOULD be doing and think about the future. We have started doing this at our Board of Directors meetings. We are brainstorming to think about what is happening now and what we think might be coming in the future for our profession.  If you have ideas, you can send them to the MVMA via your local director or directly to the office.   (Some of the ideas at our most recent meeting on March 21, 2012 were:  urban poultry farming is on the rise; prevention focus; continued pharmacy concerns; and the “No Kill” shelter movement.)

MVMA will also be having a strategic planning session in September of this year to set some long term goals for the association.  We look at 3-5 years as long term due to the speed of change in the world today!

I believe in taking a few minutes to look forward will help us to stay relevant to our members. I would welcome feedback and brainstorming ideas from any member of the veterinary community to help. We can’t give our members what they want if we don’t know what that is!

Step out of the vortex to get a new perspective and a breath of fresh air!

Email me anytime at :

I welcome ideas or suggestions for Blog topics too!

The MVMA will host the next meeting of the Board of Directors tomorrow in East Lansing. We will be having our PR firm in to do some training on talking with the media in addition to our other agenda items. I will be sure to post some info after the meeting to keep people informed. Hope that everyone is enjoying the beautiful weather.

Over 50 students, practitioners, health care team members and faculty from MSU attended the weekend long session at the DCPAH.  We discussed work life balance and the importance of communication skills as well as exploring the Myers Briggs preferences and how to shift some paradigms.  Dr. Rick DeBowes from WSU led the group and the MVMA was well represented by myself, Dr. Julie Capel (the 2nd VP of MVMA), Dr. Nancy Frank (AVMA delegate from MVMA), and several other members.  It was exciting to see this group of future leaders, many from the 1st year of the DVM program. 

This is the 2nd year of the program and with the guidance of Dr. Sarah Abood and the students who have attended the Veterinary Leadership Experience at Washington State University it grew slightly and had more DVM involvement this year.  It was a great bargain for entire weekend only $100 for DVM and group discounts available for multiple team members. 

I took 4 team members with me to the weekend and had a great team building experience.  We were tired, but had a great time learning more about each other and had great ideas to bring back to our clients and our co-workers.  I know that my team is stronger and has more understanding of how to become a better team and individual after this weekend.  I will be sending others to the session next time!  I have found that investing in my team improves customer service and team member job satisfaction as much as or more than salary ever could.

The Michigan Veterinary Medical Association was well represented at the inaugural Power of Ten conference in Indianapolis last week.  This initiative involves assisting ten recent veterinarians in developing leadership skills.  MVMA CEO, Karlene Belyea, was recognized for her scheduling of the conference and work on the initiative through the American Society of Veterinary Medical Association Executives (ASVMAE), where she currently serves as President Elect.  Karlene helped to get this idea to fruition and plan the events for the three day seminar.

The MVMA was one of six groups to participate in this first time event along with representatives from Indiana, Colorado, Iowa, Oklahoma and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC).  MVMA past President, Dr. Jim Lloyd, was one of the representatives for the AAVMC. 

The MVMA Power of Ten training is scheduled to begin in June.  If you know of a recently graduated, within the past seven years, veterinarian who may be interested please contact the MVMA.

It has been a very busy couple of weeks!  My associate was out of the office for medical reasons so I was “holding down the fort”.  I have spoken to many of you who have been in similar situations lately with maternity leave, new associates or vacations.  What I have been hearing is that people are a bit busier over the last few weeks.  This is a hopeful start, but too soon to have any data about it being a true trend. 

Since my last post I have met with the CVM Class of 2012.  It was a nice dinner with discussion about what happens after graduation.  Most of those at the meeting were looking to take positions in the workforce as associate veterinarians.  A few had jobs lined up, but many are still in the process of interviews and searching for their first job as a veterinarian.  The MVMA provided information on what we do and the programs we have available for all veterinarians, but in particular the recent grad section of the web site.  Dr. Jean Hudson was there to help me out and we shared experiences of first jobs, lessons learned and gave moral support.  We talked about graduation and licensing.  I graduated from MSU in 1997.  Much has changed since that time!  Graduates now have to be fingerprinted for licensure, amongst the other hoops that they jump through.  It is a time of great uncertainty when you don’t know where you will work, what you will be doing or what type of income you will have.  I sympathize with the level of stress they are all feeling right now.

On Thursday, Feb 16th, I met with a group of law students from the MSU School of Law.  Dr. Frank Karmona (MVMA President 2011), Ms. Karlene Belyea (our CEO) and I all answered questions about what we do in our jobs, what type of moral, ethical, and financial pressures veterinarians face, how our association helps veterinarians and the animal owning public, and similarities/differences in our professions.  We were happy to be invited to speak with the Animal Law class of about 21 students.  The students were all very interested in our job.  We had a great opportunity to explain the differences in companion animal and production medicine and the importance of communication with clients.   We talked about the many “Good Samaritan” activities that veterinarians do on a regular basis and the connections with shelters/rescues/animal welfare groups. 

I am getting ready for the Spartan Leadership Weekend (Feb 24-26) as my next MVMA adventure.  I look forward to a great time with 4 team members.  If any of you will be attending be sure to stop and chat with me!   We hope to go out on Saturday evening for some fun socially (not sure where yet).

Time to get back to my clients and patients!  I wish you all a productive and pleasant week to come.  Check back in soon!

Dr. Sayles