The HVMA Executive Board continues to work on improving veterinary services in the islands. There has been an increasing need for veterinary specialists as well as general practitioners, and we look forward to working with soon-to-be-DVMs from the class of 2021. If you know of any students from Hawai’i or those thinking of relocating here, feel free to contact the HVMA for support.
Thank you to those who continue to support HVMA. A lot of this is done through membership dues and volunteer effort. If you haven’t renewed your membership yet, please feel free to do so here. Please continue to stay safe during this pandemic and hope to see you all soon!
My name is Alfred J. Mina. I was born on Kauai and raised on the Big Island. I’m a graduate of Washington State University and have been practicing in Hilo, Hawaii since graduation for the past 20 years. I’m the owner Maika’i Veterinary Clinic, LLC, in Hilo, Hawaii, providing small animal, avian/exotics medicine on the East side of Big Island. I’ve been volunteering on the HVMA Executive Board since 2010, serving as a Hawaii Delegate and President-Elect. I look forward to serving you as HVMA President for the next two years.
2020 was a year of many challenges and changes, and Covid-19 really had an impact on how we provided veterinary care for our clients and patients, and how we interacted as a veterinary community. Our Annual Conference in November 2020 was virtual, so we were not able to meet in person.
The HVMA Executive Board will continue to work hard through this trying time to provide support for HVMA members and veterinary community, as well as the people and animals of Hawaii, keeping you informed on topics of importance to veterinary medicine and coming up with continuing education opportunities.
Please consider renewing your membership. The HVMA Executive Board will still be working hard throughout the year on your behalf and your dues will help keep this organization going through these trying times. Please stay safe.
Aloha from Big Island,
Alfred J. Mina, DVM President, Hawaii Veterinary Medical Association
I write this with a bit of sadness knowing we are missing our usual opportunity to see friends and colleagues at the annual meeting. This year has brought challenges like no other in our lifetimes and our connection to one another has helped us all adapt and find ways to continue our very important work. I hope you can all join us at our virtual meeting Saturday 11/14, and that we can resume in person gatherings in the not too distant future.
The HVMA Executive Board continues to advocate for members and the animals and people of Hawaii. We have continued our meetings virtually and uninterrupted during this time. Your membership dues are essential in maintaining our ability to continue as an organization so please renew if you have not already done so.
Our involvement as a supporting agency to the state and counties during emergencies has also continued. As flights outside the state were reduced in March the opportunities for adoption placement outside the state became extremely limited. Shelters across Hawaii have relied on out of state transport for adoption placement when local opportunities are exhausted. The lack of flights put our local shelters at risk of being beyond their capacity and reducing their ability to help other animals in need. Greater Good Charities responded to a request for assistance to transport pets to the continental US. They have coordinated an unprecedented flight of dogs and cats to animal welfare organizations in the pacific northwest. Many of the pets have adoptive homes already before they even land! This is an effort we have supported closely working with HI-EMA, GGC, Wings of Rescue and shelters from Kauai, Oahu, Lanai, Maui, and Hawaii Island. This has also provided the opportunity for further disaster planning, collaboration and training for the state, our association and local animal welfare organizations.
It has been an honor to serve as the HVMA President the last two years and I will continue to support the association as I move on to the role of Past President. Please do not hesitate to reach out if there is anything the HVMA can do to support your work as veterinarians in Hawaii.
I hope this message finds you all well. This has been a challenging year so far for us all, regardless of practice type. The support from one another has made a significant positive impact on the ability to be more resilient in the face of incredible uncertainty and change.
The HVMA Executive Board has been working hard to provide support for members, the veterinary community in general as well as the animals and people of Hawaii. We are coming up with creative solutions to continue to provide continuing education opportunities, increase connection between members, and are participating in the emergency response in partnership with HI-EMA. Please be sure to renew your membership. Even though the annual conference will not be as we hoped in 2020, we are still working hard on your behalf and your dues help keep this organization going.
Since March HVMA has received donations of 2 containers of dog/cat food as well as coupons for several thousand bags of food from Greater Good. The Humane Society of the United States donated the cost of transportation of a recent shipment. This food is available to pet owners suffering from COVID-related financial hardship through community foodbanks and human service agencies. We have also shared food with local humane societies for their pet food banks. We are currently supporting efforts to secure donations of feed for horses whose owners are also suffering from financial hardship. And during all of this we are working with HI-EMA in disaster response as needed, most recently in the hurricane near miss (thankfully).
While we were trying to flatten the curve, reduce the spread of COVID and continue our practice of veterinary medicine we were confronted with another painful reality. A bystander recorded the murder of George Floyd on a public street and the experience that exists for so many people became impossible to avoid any longer. Some may ask what does this have to do with veterinary medicine? A video recently released by the Multicultural Veterinary Medical Association in partnership with 9 other diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) affinity organizations highlights the existence of racism and discrimination in our profession. The video was shared at the AVMA HOD meeting last week and I highly encourage everyone to watch it. We are fortunate in Hawaii to live in a place with greater diversity than most, but we are not exempt from racism. There is a need to become more informed as individuals and take action to change the lack of diversity and presence of racism in the profession. For more information including resources, links to other affinity organizations, and how to get involved visit https://www.mcvma.org/wakeup.
The American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) has also recognized the importance of increasing diversity and states that “racism is a public health issue, and every sector of society has a role to play in finding a cure.” Visit the AAVMC’s website for more information on what steps they are doing to increase diversity in our profession. They host a podcast shared on a youtube and soundcloud channel for those interested in becoming more informed, links can be found here https://www.aavmc.org/diversity/diversity-and-inclusion-on-air.
If you have feedback on what the HVMA can do to increase diversity, equity and inclusion in veterinary medicine in Hawaii please contact me.
I hope this finds you, your ohana, staff and colleagues in good health. I don’t think any of us would have predicted the rapid changes that have occurred across the planet since the January newsletter. Normal as we knew it and our regular daily operations feel like a bit of a distant memory right now. But thankfully in every dark cloud there are many silver linings.
Veterinarians, like other public health stewards, are trained problem solvers and we have been working hard to solve our problems, from those at home to in our businesses and in our communities. I have been amazed seeing the innovation and effort by Hawaii veterinarians as they work to protect their teams, ensure care for animals in need and service to the people of Hawaii and beyond.
The HVMA has been working hard on behalf of members and the animals and citizens of Hawaii during the pandemic. We have proactively and successfully advocated for more flexible use of telemedicine during this challenging time to maintain care for animals while keeping people safe. We have set up a Facebook group for Hawaii veterinarians to keep in touch and share with one another and have hosted weekly virtual meetings where we discuss the current knowledge about SARS CoV-2, its impact on animals and practices. We responded to a request for assistance from HI-EMA and City and County of Honolulu to support pet owners during this emergency. During this time, we have spent many hours each week participating in HI-EMA and Honolulu Department of Emergency Management calls to ensure animal needs are met. The HVMA was able to secure a grant from Greater Good of 22 pallets of dog and cat food and 4 pallets of litter to be used for COVID-related emergency sheltering or for pet owners in need due to financial hardship so many are currently facing. The shipping to Hawaii was graciously donated by a local business and The Salvation Army was instrumental in coordinating the food delivery from California. It has been delivered to animal shelters and human food service distribution partners on Kauai, Oahu, Maui and Hawaii Island. We will continue to seek support for pet owners in financial distress so that they can continue to care for their family members during this challenging time. We know the importance of the human-animal bond is perhaps more important than ever during this time of social distancing.
I encourage you to reach out to us if there is anything, we can do to support your work and businesses. More than at any other time it is essential that we are caring for ourselves and doing what we can to stay healthy. Get lots of sleep, eat good food, enjoy the beautiful outdoors when you can and make time for self-care. We cannot care for others if we do not first care for ourselves. If you have been contemplating taking up meditation for a long time now and need a reason this is a good one. Just sitting quietly and breathing for a brief time can work wonders to help manage the stressful times a little bit better. Take care of your families and colleagues as well. Be kind to one another and give thanks to all of those working so hard to keep us safe. I feel so fortunate to be in a state that has done so much to protect its citizens. I also feel so fortunate to be surrounded by peers in a profession that is critical to preventing and solving this and the next zoonotic outbreak. The importance and need for veterinarians is greater now than ever.
On behalf of the board I wish you health and well-being in the rest of 2020 and beyond. I hope to hear more from you on what we can do to support you as a Hawaii veterinarian.
Our 66th annual conference was a great success. Thank you to all who attended and those present in spirit. It was a time to catch up with old friends, meet new colleagues and learn in our ever-changing field. The connections with one another are a large part of our “why” as the HVMA and we are fortunate to have such a connected community. If you want to learn more about finding your “why” I highly recommend watching Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk on the subject, or even better, read the book Start with Why. If you have suggestions for future speaker topics, entertainment or anything you think would make the conference even more incredible in the future, please let us know.
Membership renewal is now open and I encourage you to renew early and encourage your colleagues to do so as well. Don’t forget that new graduates are eligible for waived or reduced fees depending on your graduation year! Your dues enable us to host great CE in addition to our other efforts including providing scholarships for veterinary and veterinary technician students, advocate on behalf of the veterinary profession in Hawaii, and give back to our community.
Some of the activities we are working on this winter are monitoring the state legislative session, participating in the AVMA HOD January meeting, judging at the upcoming 63rd Hawaii State Science and Engineering Fair (HSSEF), and reviewing our wellness committee functions. If you are interested in participating in any of these functions, please let us know as we can always use more volunteers!
On behalf of the board I wish you good health and well-being in the upcoming decade and I hope to hear more from you on what we can do to support you as a Hawaii veterinarian.
I hope to see each of you soon at our annual conference at the Hilton Waikiki Beach on November 7-10, 2019. We are fortunate to host AVMA President John Howe and District 10 representative George Bishop at the conference this year. Dr. Howe’s areas of focus for his tenure as president are member needs, veterinary technicians and One Health. Please give them a warm welcome if you see them. Even if you are not attending the conference for CE be sure to join us for our annual meeting at noon on Saturday.
Mental health and wellbeing concerns for veterinary professionals have been in the national news recently. Awareness of the increased risk for burnout, substance abuse, depression and suicide ideation in our profession is hopefully a first step toward finding solutions for this crisis. The AVMA has many resources for veterinarians on personal and workplace wellness, and the HVMA has a wellness committee to assist members in need.
In 1976, Dr. Bill Hettler, co-founder of the National Wellness Institute in the US, developed a model of wellness that included six dimensions of health: physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, occupational, and social. Since then others have added three more to create the nine dimensions of wellbeing: financial, creative and environmental. Each dimension is interconnected and collectively contributes to our overall wellbeing, and when one area is lacking, the others and overall wellbeing are affected. I encourage you to follow the links to read and learn more about these areas and take a self-assessment to identify areas where you might focus your self-care.
For this message I want to focus on the social dimension. One stated purpose of the HVMA is to promote the spirit of community among members of the veterinary profession. Our annual conference is a time to get together and catch up on what is happening with one another: the success and challenges of our friends and colleagues we may not see as often as we would like to. It is also a chance to make new friends and welcome new colleagues into our community. Brené Brown, best-selling author and published researcher writes the following in the introduction to her book Daring Greatly: “the surest thing I took away from my BSW, MSW, and Ph.D. in social work is this: Connection is why we’re here. We are hardwired to connect with others, it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives, and without it there is suffering.” This includes connection with colleagues in the workplace. In Dare to Lead she says this about her research: “Daring Leaders must care for and be connected to the people they lead. The data made clear that care and connection are irreducible requirements for wholehearted, productive relationships between leaders and team members.” She defines a leader as “anyone who takes responsibility for finding the potential in people and processes, and who has the courage to develop that potential.” As veterinarians, we are all leaders and we must strive to build connection in our work and social lives to build resiliency.
I hope you can all take a moment during the next month to talk story and build those connections with one another. By doing this we will be taking a step in the right direction to improve our well-being. Please reach out to a colleague, friend, or professional if you are suffering. We are here to help one another. And if you are interested in learning more so that you can help those at risk, visit the AVMA’s website on Question-Persuade-Refer (QPR) training. There is currently a pilot program that will provide training to learn how to identify and refer colleagues who are at risk.
Aleisha Swartz, DVM President, Hawaii Veterinary Medical Association
Registration is now open for our 66th Annual Conference, which will be held November 7-10, 2019 at the Hilton Waikiki Beach Hotel. We are again offering RACE-approved CE with a great speaker and subject lineup including, dentistry, infectious disease, internal medicine, soft tissue surgery and more. We will also be offering a daylong equine track on Friday Nov 8th for the large animal practitioners. Register early and save.
The annual meeting for HVMA members will be Saturday, November 9 and all members are welcome and encouraged to join us even if you cannot attend the entire meeting. And this year’s cocktail hour and social on Saturday evening will be another great time for all, don’t miss it.
Another thing the HVMA board has been involved with is updating our agreement with Hi-EMA to provide support to those in need in the event of a natural disaster or other emergency. Did you know we participate at the state level as advisors on animal-related emergency sheltering? If you are interested in being involved with disaster assistance and planning, please fill out a quick survey or email us. Even if you are not able to volunteer, prepare yourself, your family and practice in case of a natural disaster. The AVMA has a disaster resource page with many great resources https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/Reference/disaster/Pages/disaster-aid-veterinarians.aspx.
Finally, be sure to visit our classifieds if you are looking to advertise your services as a relief veterinarian or are in need of a veterinarian or other staff member. This is a fantastic resource available for members!
Aleisha Swartz, DVM President, Hawaii Veterinary Medical Association
The 30th annual Pet Expo is coming up on May 11 and 12, 2019 at the Neil S. Blaisdell Center Exhibition Hall. This year’s theme is More than a Pet, More than a Friend … Family. Thank you to everyone who has already signed up to assist with this large event. Volunteers are needed to put on this HVMA sponsored event; please click here to sign up for a shift.
The conference committee is hard at work planning this year’s annual conference on November 7-10, 2019. We have a great lineup of speakers on topics you requested, including dentistry, cardiology, internal medicine, soft tissue surgery, canine rehabilitation and more. Registration will open in July so keep an eye out for early registration. If you would like to assist with conference planning we would love your help! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how to assist.
Did you know that the HVMA supports students in the veterinary field through scholarships? HVMA funds scholarships for pre-vet students at the University of Hawaii, veterinary students at Colorado State University and Washington State University, and veterinary technician students at Windward Community College.
Thank you for renewing your membership which helps us continue our efforts such as Pet Expo, the annual conference, and more.
January is a time to reflect back on the accomplishments of the past and look forward to the goals of the future. Thanks to the hard work of the conference committee we had another highly successful annual meeting in November with internationally recognized speakers in internal medicine, exotics, dentistry, Fear Free practice, disaster planning and more. We are already beginning to plan for next year’s event so please let us know if there are any speakers or topics you would like to see in the future. At our annual meeting we elected new officers to the board and also updated our by-laws. More information on these can be found on the Member Resources page of our website.
As we move into 2019 we look forward to serving members and the community in many ways including disaster planning with HI-EMA, legislative advocacy, keeping you informed on topics of importance to veterinary medicine in addition to opportunities to participate in community outreach. Our website’s About us page has been updated with our purposes as stated in our charter with the state. Please take a moment to read about who we are.
Membership renewal season has begun and we encourage you to renew early. Please see here for all the benefits of membership.
Finally, we want to share our gratitude to Eric Ako for his many years of service to the HVMA as the Executive Vice President. Please be sure to thank him when you see him, as this organization would not be where it is today without his tireless efforts. We are very fortunate that Jill Yoshicedo has agreed to take the reins as EVP, and know she will continue to add value to your membership and advocate on behalf of veterinarians in Hawaii. We also say aloha to Cordell Chang after many years of service as the HVMA representative to the AVMA.
Save the date for the 66th Annual Conference: November 7-10, 2019!