Executive Director Looks At The 2001 Western Veterinary Conference And Beyond
As more than 11,000 people gather in Las Vegas, Nev. for the 73rd annual Western Veterinary Conference, Executive Director, Stephen Crane, DVM, is focused on customer service. The customers Dr. Crane is thinking about are the 5,000 plus veterinarians and 2,300 veterinary technicians who will attend the sessions, lectures, hands on programs, exhibits and social events taking place between February 11 and 15 at the conference's new venue, the MGM Grand Hotel. This is the first time the conference has changed locations in 27 years.
"We have a very strong group of professionals who attend this conference," Dr. Crane said. "They are active and interested in the veterinary medical field and it is our goal each year to devise a scientific program that delivers exceptional value for their investment."
The focus of this year, as every year, is very much on the practical aspects of veterinary practice. "This is not a research conference," Dr. Crane noted. "This is a conference for the practitioner and we develop programming and select speakers that can deliver new information and techniques that relate to the needs of the clinician."
One critical area Dr. Crane identified is the subject of fee setting for veterinarians. "This is an area I believe we will be addressing well into the future," he said. "Veterinarians are the most generous and most capable people in the world. But, they also are running a business with the increasing costs and overhead that comes with it. This creates a conflict that may be coming to a collision between providing affordable care and staying in business. At what point do pets become a luxury item for many people?"
He is quick to point out that this is a subject that does not have any easy answers. "We are looking to discussions not always conclusions on this and other tough questions that bother practitioners."
This question is particularly important to Dr. Crane because of his strong commitment to the benefits of pet ownership. "We need to go beyond the human-animal bond and recognize pets' role as therapeutic tools," he said. "We've always recognized that pets can help people who are lonely or depressed and that they can help people relax and lower heart rates. Now we have the science to support what we've known all along." Dr. Crane notes that attendees will see more focus on this subject at future Western Veterinary Conferences.
Among the "must see" sessions at this year's event, Dr. Crane selected canine endocrinology in the medical area, the fee setting and monitoring symposium in practice management and, the session on grief dynamics in human relations. "And, I'd attend the Lunchtime Learning sessions each day for a potpourri of practice tips."
Nearly 350 exhibitors are taking part in this year's conference including 19 specialty educational non-profits. Social events include a party and tribute to veterinary technicians (see story in this edition of goodnewsforpets.com,) a magic show, and alumni receptions. Spouses and guests will be well entertained with programs on the therapeutic applications of music, a look into the "Life of a Las Vegas Showgirl" and meet Chicago Tribune and goodnewsforpets.com's own Steve Dale. Steve will share funny stories from his career as "The Pet Guy" and comment on the miracles animals can perform in our lives.
Between conference sessions, the exhibit hall, parties and receptions, golf and the attractions of Las Vegas itself, attendees at the 2001 Veterinary Conference will not be at a loss for ways to fill their time. Just don't look for Dr. Crane to be at any event for very long, he'll be too busy making sure that his customers are having a productive, thought-provoking and educational experience.