2021 Membership Renewal

Welcome to the new year! The Hawaii Veterinary Medical Association is a not-for-profit organization that depends upon our member participation and dues. Your dues enable us to host regular CE, provide scholarships for veterinary and veterinary technician students, advocate on behalf of the veterinary profession in Hawaii, and give back to our community. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the HVMA has fought for Hawaii veterinarians to be included as essential service providers, provided timely information on COVID-19 updates and resources, and helped to secure multiple pet food donations for affected families throughout Hawaii. We understand that this is a difficult time for many, but if it is within your budget, HVMA would greatly appreciate your continued support.

RENEW TODAY!

Meet A Board Member

Leilani Sim-Godbehere, DVM
Kauai County Representative

Dr. Leilani Sim-Godbehere is currently our longest-serving member on the HVMA Executive Board. She was first involved as an Oahu Delegate, then as President-Elect, followed by President, and currently as the Kauai Delegate.

Dr. Sim-Godbehere received her DVM degree from Kansas State University in 1983. She has been in small animal private practice since graduation – first in Visalia, CA and then on Oahu for 18 years. She also held a four-year stint as a Veterinary Medical Officer for the Department of Agriculture at the Animal Quarantine Station from 1986 to 1990.

She is currently working as a relief doctor on a regular basis at the Kapaa Animal Clinic on Kauai and serves as the main caregiver for her elderly mom. She has always enjoyed the camaraderie and the privilege of belonging to such a lofty yet humble profession. Being involved in organized veterinary medicine has allowed her to give a little back to her colleagues and profession.

Dr. Sim-Godbehere’s other passions include her family, her dogs, horse, tortoises, rabbit, cats, and garden. She loves walking, swimming, horseback riding, and skiing. She is thankful to God for all the blessings he has given her.

HVMA Supports PAWS Across the Pacific

When the pandemic reduced flights to and from Hawaii last spring one little-known impact was that on our local animal shelters. Many island shelters and rescues rely on transport of dogs and cats to the continental US for placement options when no adopters are found locally. The cancellation of flights reduced the availability of space for pets to catch a ride. Shelters across the state made every effort to foster and house the increasing number of animals but many reported this was reducing their capacity to help other animals in need. 

Greater Good Charities (GGC) stepped in to assist and coordinate an unprecedented rescue flight in this time of emergency. GGC had previously supported the Hawaii community by donating thousands of pounds of pet food since the pandemic began. A multi-organization effort supported by HIEMA and HVMA resulted in the safe transport of nearly 600 dogs and cats from Hawaii to Seattle. On October 28 a charter Hercules C-130 cargo plane flew from Oakland, CA to Lihue, then Honolulu, Kahului and Hilo picking up animals along the way. All pets were examined by a veterinarian and given a health certificate prior to the flight and a large team including veterinarians were available at Boeing Field in Seattle to ensure the animals were comfortable and healthy on arrival. Many pets were adopted within days of arrival. For more information and photos and video on the largest ever pet rescue flight visit GGC Paws Across the Pacific Page.

This is the first part of an emergency support effort from GGC that will include providing emergency sheltering supplies, disaster sheltering training and more to area animal welfare organizations.

Mahalo to the sponsors who helped make it happen: The Animal Rescue Site, Banfield Foundation, Royal Canin, VCA Animal Hospitals, PEDIGREE Foundation, Petco Foundation, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Healthy Paws Pet Insurance & Foundation, MuttNation Foundation, Kamaka Air Inc, Air Charter Service, and Jackson Galaxy.

Letter from the President – January 2021

Alfred Mina, DVM
HVMA President

Happy New Year HVMA Members!

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

COVID-19 Vaccination Update

The state of Hawaii has indicated veterinarians and their staff are essential health care providers included in Tier 1b of the COVID-19 vaccination rollout. To receive more information, fill out the Department of Health survey. The Department of Health will directly contact you to follow up. You may also check their website for updates.

2020 Membership Renewal

If you haven’t already done so, it’s not too late to renew your 2020 membership! The Hawaii Veterinary Medical Association is a not-for-profit organization that depends upon our member participation and dues. Your dues enable us to host regular CE, provide scholarships for veterinary and veterinary technician students, advocate on behalf of the veterinary profession in Hawaii, and give back to our community. During the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the HVMA immediately fought for Hawaii veterinarians to be included as essential service providers, provided timely information on COVID-19 updates and resources, and helped to secure multiple pet food donations for affected families throughout Hawaii. We understand that 2020 is a difficult year for many, but if it is within your budget, HVMA would greatly appreciate your continued support.

Social Media and HVMA

by Michelle Barbieri, MS, DVM, HVMA Oahu representative

A few weeks ago, I was chatting with a friend on a run and learned about the Influencers in the Wild page on Instagram. If you haven’t checked it out, and are looking for a laugh and a bit of relief from the realities of 2020, you should. It shows bystander videos of people that are trying to get that perfect video or picture worthy of social media stardom, along with all the really poor decisions they make in that pursuit (I believe this is where TikTok comes in, but that’s really pushing the extent of my understanding!).

Why am I writing about this in the HVMA newsletter? Well, while it shows that I am far from the cutting edge of understanding what’s “in” (especially in terms of social media), I also recognize that there are lots of ways that information gets shared these days. And that is why the HVMA Board decided it was worth trying to start sharing some information on Facebook.

Some of you may have been aware of a private Facebook group called “COVID-19 discussion group for Hawaii veterinarians” that was initiated by HVMA earlier this year. We will be reframing that page to include more than just COVID-19 specific content. It will remain a veterinarian-only page. In order to join, you do not need to be an HVMA member, but we will require that those interested in joining the group answer a short questionnaire and have a current member of the group sponsor them; this helps us ensure that it is kept as a safe space for dialogue between professionals.

We will also soon have a public HVMA page that will allow us to serve as a resource to connect with our community, share information, and show the outward-facing side of the HVMA. I hope that you will all engage as these pages go live and help us maximize the potential that they have for our professional group and our community as a whole.

Letter from the President – Nov 2020

Aleisha Swartz, DVM
HVMA President

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.

Aloha,
Aleisha Swartz

Letter from the President – Aug 2020

Aleisha Swartz, DVM
HVMA President

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. 

Aloha,
Aleisha Swartz

In Remembrance – Dr. Jessica Massengale

Jessica Massengale, DVM

Dr. Jessica Claire Lee Massengale, 34, of Kaneohe, Hawaii, died peacefully on Thursday, July 9, 2020. She was born in Huntington, West Virginia, on May 18, 1986 to Roger and Debra Massengale and baptized as a child at First United Methodist Church, Paintsville, Kentucky.

A life-long learner, Jessi received her high school diploma in 2004 from Virginia Episcopal School in Lynchburg, Virginia, graduated in 2008 from Midway College with her Bachelor Degree in Equine Therapy and earned her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 2014 from Auburn University. She was a dedicated and beloved doctor of animals at Haiku Veterinarian Clinic in Kaneohe. She loved all things pertaining to horses and rode on Equestrian teams for both Virginia Episcopal School and Midway College. She had an adventuresome spirit, was learning to kayak, and especially enjoyed hiking with her dogs.

In addition to her parents, she is survived by her sister, Sarah Anne and brother-in-law Mårten Waern, Stockholm, Sweden; maternal grandmother, Clara Marcum, Ashland, Kentucky; paternal grandmother, Norma Jean Massengale, Wayne County, Kentucky; aunts, Catherine (Fred) Waits, Shelbyville, Kentucky; Linda (John) Lash, Athens, Georgia; uncle, Scott Massengale, Wayne County, Kentucky; and many cousins. Her family, a host of friends, colleagues, clients, and her faithful dog companions, Bodhi and Marley, will miss her.

Memorial contributions may be made to your local animal shelter, pet charity, or allow an animal to adopt you in Jessi’s memory.