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Loan Forgiveness in Danger!

Tomorrow, House Lawmakers will consider a higher education bill that effectively eliminates the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

This year, the first cohort of participants in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program – which forgives student debt for individuals who have worked ten years in a qualifying nonprofit or government position – is slated to receive their loan forgiveness. Unfortunately, the future of this program is in danger because some lawmakers are pushing to eliminate or reduce the program.

While current reporting requirements make it difficult for us to determine the exact number of veterinarians who are planning to participate in the program, we’ve heard from many of you that this program is key to your career plans. We know that some of you have chosen careers based on this program, and that some of you have made crucial financial choices based on the promise of PSLF. Because PSLF is so important to veterinarians, the AVMA is working aggressively to protect and preserve this program.

Visit the AVMA’s Congressional Advocacy Network and send a letter to your members of Congress in support of PSLF. The AVMA has a pre-written letter available, so all you need to do is fill in your information. It takes less than five minutes!


VETgirl Veterinary Wellness app

This wellness spotlight features something different. Instead of an event offered by a CVM program/group, this spotlight features an app created by VETgirl. From the personal experiences of a veterinarian, VETgirl was started, and now the VETgirl Veterinary Wellness app is here too.  Continue reading to see what this new app is all about, and how it can be helpful for veterinary students. 

“Wellness” is a ever rising topic of conversation in veterinary medicine. Veterinary medicine is a challenging career field that takes years of preparation to even begin training for. Once in veterinary school, students have 4 years of rigorous course work and clinical experience. New graduates are often met with long hours and little recognition of the dedication it took to reach that point. Without awareness of one’s wellness, veterinarians, as well as others in the veterinary medicine field, can face depression or thoughts of suicide.


Veterinarian Justine Lee, DACVECC, DABT, and CEO of VETgirl, a company which provides CE’s for veterinarians, is all too familiar with the struggles of wellness in veterinary medicine. To help prevent other’s from experience the same struggles which she experienced, Dr. Lee and VETgirl have recently released an app “VETgirl Veterinary Wellness app” to encourage wellness every day to those in the veterinary medicine.


Dr. Lee shared with the SAVMA Wellness committee what wellness means to her and the goals behind creating an app dedicated to wellness:


- What does wellness mean to you and why is it important in the veterinary profession?

 Many are often surprised to know that I struggled with insomnia, burnout, and suicide ideation during my 1st year as an ECC residency at University of Pennsylvania. I wrote about it in a Veterinary Team Brief article here. That's why wellness is so important to me - that we take care of ourselves and our colleagues. This is particularly important in our veterinary profession, as our workaholic, high achieving personalty types, along with our stress level, predispose our field to suicide.


- How does your app promote wellness to those in the profession?

We here at VETgirl are very passionate about wellness. We want to make sure veterinary professionals take care of themselves, due to the growing prevalence of burnout, compassion fatigue, and suicide ideation in our field. 


- What was your goal when designing the VETgirl Veterinary Wellness app?

The goal of our VETgirl Veterinary Wellness app is to provide a gentle reminder -  through a daily "check in" tip - on how to  take care of yourself. It's a small way for VETgirl to help give back to a field that we love:  veterinary medicine.


- How can veterinary students best use your app for wellness?

Make sure to check in every day and check out a new simple tip. It could be something as simple as taking 10 deep breaths. Or turning off your phone. Share your favorite tip with your veterinary colleagues, and encourage each other to take care of themselves.


The free app is available on iPhone and android devices (linked below). Students in Colleges of Veterinary Medicine can benefit from a gentle reminder to take care of themselves every day. This can help create healthy habits in students which they can use for the rest of their career.


For iOs devices: click here

For Android devices: click here



Wonders of the West

Peter DeLuca from Western University of Health Sciences sent in these amazing photos capturing the wildlife and beauty of Western United States. 

Curious Holstein, Sedona, AZGlacier Point, Yosemite National Park, CAScavenger, Death Valley National Park, CAFrustrated Sea Otter, Morro Bay, CA


NWRA Veterinary Student Paper competition

This 24th annual competition for veterinary student papers is being held in conjunction with the

NWRA Symposium, and is open to all veterinary students. The 2018 Symposium will be held

27 February – 3 March in Anaheim, CA. The conference will provide lectures, hands-on

workshops (free to students who help with the set-up and clean up afterwards!), discussions,

and networking opportunities to learn about current issues and techniques in wildlife medicine

and rehabilitation. This is also a great opportunity to meet veterinarians working with wildlife

and visit some of the facilities of the hosting rehabilitation organization, the California Council

for Wildlife Rehabilitators.


SUBJECT: The paper may cover any topic related to a veterinary aspect of wildlife

rehabilitation and may consist of a review of the literature, a personal case experience, or a

research project. Titles of winning papers are posted at:

16_Updated_Scholarship_Winners/Hiestand_Competition_Winners.pdf. Details about the

scholarship can be found at:


PRESENTATION: The winning student will be required to give a 25 minute PowerPoint

presentation at the symposium. The first-place paper will also be eligible for publication in the

NWRA Bulletin. Additional information regarding the symposium location, schedule, field trips

and workshops will be available at as the symposium draws nearer.


AWARD: The winning student will be awarded free registration to the conference, free attendance to the awards banquet, and a stipend of $500 toward travel and lodging expenses.


ENTRIES: Interested students should submit a 100-250 word abstract by 15 December 2017, and the completed paper by 15 January 2018, to: Dr. Erica A. Miller; Ph.: 302-743-7799; Fx: 302-234-2845; Em:


Author guidelines may be obtained by at:


Any questions regarding the NWRA or the Symposium should be directed to the NWRA Central Office at or 320-230-9920.


SAVMA Symposium Highlight

Read about another highlight from SAVMA Symposium 2017 from Sheila Villacis from Ross University. Remember, early registration for symposium closes today! Register so you can network just like Sheila.

Going to the symposium for me meant networking but most of all it was a great learning experience. I was able to converse with students from other colleges about their veterinary experience and also talk about some of the same struggles. I was able to relate to students on not just an educational level but also converse about our personal lives. We all spoke to each other as if we have been friends for a long time while enjoying an amazing meal at a restaurant in San Antonio (one of the students knew the area more or less because she currently attends Texas A & M).
One of the most important parts of the trip was attending a lecture on the financial prospects in our veterinary career which gave us an idea of our salary depending on many factors. It helped us understand the trend they foresaw for our salaries based on the economy growth. They even showed a graph between when the economy fell and how that affected us and when it grew and the affect it had on us. Understanding how the economy plays a huge impact on our lives, it is best for us to keep up with the changing of times especially because this affects our clients which in turn affects our patients.
The learning experience part of the trip was attending a lab with other students from different schools. Part of it was practicing some suture patterns but also understanding which were the best suture patterns depending on the area lacerated and what type of laceration occurred, they also told us what type of suture to use. The other half of the lab was working with a live horse and practicing bandaging on their limb (forelimb or hind limb) and the hoof. It was a great experience to communicate with another person which I barely knew to get the job done. That is one thing that will be consistently important in our career as well as personal to be able to communicate with another veterinarian, technician and the owner in order for the patient to receive the gold standard of care especially when it comes to them feeling comfortable when they are in pain.
All in all my trip to the symposium was an amazing experience from talking to other veterinarians, attending a lecture, labs and hearing other student/professor/veterinarian’s experience. This helped me to keep me motivated, to form new friendships and to realize there are different paths in our career and we don’t have to just follow one.
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