Leianne Lee Loy Running for AVMA Board of Directors Representing Hawaii’s District

Message from Leianne K. Lee Loy, current AVMA Hawaii Delegate and candidate for AVMA Board of Directors Representing District X:

Aloha Colleagues!

I ask for your support and vote to be the next member of the AVMA Board
of Directors. You will be receiving an email from the AVMA with a ballot,
my biography and “Seeking Statement”. You will have from March 1-31st to
vote.

I share with you a platform for which I bring my diverse perspective:
a) Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – educating and advocating for our Veterinary Community.
b) Quality of life for the Veterinary Community – raising a family and caring for our elderly family members while working.
c) Retaining and Maintaining AVMA membership throughout your veterinary Career.
d) Support of “support staff” – veterinary nurses/technicians building a career that brings satisfaction.
e) Critique of the AVMA during COVID 19 – how well did we support the Veterinary Community? There are 500,000 Americans who lost their lives to
COVID19; how were animals/veterinarians affected by those lives lost? As the AVMA reviews their response to this pandemic, strategic plans can be made to prepare for future health emergencies.

An email message will be sent to all eligible voters, providing instructions
and a link to a secure voting website. The email is sent from the address
AVMAelection@avma.org. Please vote!

AVMA Update January 2021

AVMA held their first-ever virtual Veterinary Leadership Conference in January. If you are interested in honing your leadership skills, CE is still available on demand through March. 

AVMA House of Delegates also gathered virtually and held the Veterinary Information Form to discuss veterinary medicine during the COVID-19 pandemic and timing of canine spay/neuter. Action was taken on a number of AVMA resolutions and policies, which can be viewed here.

Hawaii’s AVMA House of Delegate representatives are Leianne Lee Loy, DVM (Delegate) and Carolyn Naun, DVM (Alternate Delegate). If you have any concerns regarding veterinary medicine and the AVMA, please contact them at avma_delegate@hawaiivetmed.org.

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.

AVMA News

Veterinary Leadership Conference 2021

Registration for the AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference (VLC) 2021 is now open. VLC 2021 will be held virtually January 7-9, 2021. HVMA is currently accepting nominations for the designated “Veterinary Leader” from Hawaii, due by November 28, 2020.

Past attendees include Drs. David Gans, Jenee Odani, Aleisha Swartz, and Katie Hancock Reed. Contact us for more information. Read more about the VLC here.

Volunteer Opportunities

We invite you to explore the Committee and Council positions available this year and in 2021.  Please visit the Volunteer Opportunities section of the AVMA website to learn more. As a volunteer, travel, lodging and meals are covered by the AVMA.

AVMA COVID-19 Resources

AVMA Webinars

Scam Targeting Licensees

The Professional and Vocational Licensing Division warns of fake calls to Hawaii-registered licensees. These calls have been made with actual Hawaii board phone numbers showing up on Caller ID. A professional or vocational licensee that is under investigation by the department would first be notified in writing from the Regulated Industries Complaints Office (RICO). RICO will also never ask for private or sensitive information over the telephone.

With any suspicious phone call, licensees are advised to hang up before revealing any personal information and initiate a return phone call by calling a number researched on their own (see https://cca.hawaii.gov/pvl/contact/), to ensure that they are speaking with the actual agency. Read more here.

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 – 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

AVMA House of Delegates Updates

Submitted by HVMA HOD Representatives Leianne Lee Loy and Carolyn Naun

The first Virtual Annual House Of Delegate (HOD) Session was held on July 30 and 31, 2020. Regular Annual Meeting Agenda included: Veterinary Information Forum with open mic discussion, candidate introductions, officer speeches, Informational meeting (AVMF, PAC, PLIT, CVTEA, COE), Reference Committee, and the district caucuses.  

Highlights of the meeting:
Discussion, cases and stories of HOD COVID-19
Diversity and Inclusion in Veterinary Medicine
Two Resolutions Approved: Revised Policy on Antiparasitic Resistance and Transportation of Research Animals for the Purpose of Research, Testing, and Education

Election results:
AVMA President Elect 2020-2021: Jose Arce
AVMA Vice President 2020-2022: Sandra Faeh

Continuing Education Opportunity with AVMA

This summer, the AVMA’s first Virtual Convention will take place August 20-22. Take a step back from the day-to-day and rekindle your energy and passion for veterinary medicine—without leaving your home!
Tracks include:

  • Cannabis Symposium
  • Companion animal medicine
  • Food animal / equine
  • Practice management
  • Professional development
  • Public and corporate practice
  • Veterinary technology

Find out more and register here

Diversity and inclusion

As you know, diversity and inclusion has become a salient issue over the past several months. AVMA leadership has listened, and the HOD passed recommendations to the Board of Directors outlining some actionable steps. The Multicultural Veterinary Medical Organization released a thought provoking video that we recommend you watch if you have not seen it already: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7Pl4YX_QNc

Given recent events in Washington involving a Member of Congress who is a veterinarian, we wanted to clear up one misunderstanding we have heard regarding the use of member dues. AVMA does take an active role in advocating for the profession and championing the legislative causes that affect us. This effort is nonpartisan in nature.  However, in accordance with federal law, your AVMA dues cannot be used toward political campaign contributions.

The AVMA’s Political Action Committee is a separate entity supported by individual contributions from members. AVMA PAC does support veterinarian Members of Congress, as they understand the challenges faced by our profession and the issues you care about, without regard to party affiliation. You can reach AVMA PAC to provide feedback or to make a contribution at avmapac.org

Here is a link to the statement from AVMA regarding the reported interaction between Rep. Ted Yoho and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: https://www.facebook.com/avmavets/posts/10163691028363990

Rep. Ted Yoho is retiring from Congress at the end of this year.

What to do when marine wildlife need help?

Submitted by Michelle Barbieri, DVM


There are lots of ways that you can help Hawaii’s marine wildlife, both as an individual and if your clinic gets calls or inquiries. It may be completely normal for an animal (such as a green sea turtle or Hawaiian monk seal) to rest on the beach, but those sightings are informative even if the animal is safe and healthy. You can encourage clients to report sightings or concerns by calling the state-wide Marine Animal Stranding and Reporting Hotline at (888) 256-9840. This menu-based hotline will divert calls to the island- and wildlife-specific point of contact, and if the call comes in after hours, it will be checked first thing the next day, so always leave contact information for follow up questions. This is the best go-to contact number to keep at the front desk of your clinic or stored in your phone.

Many species (especially sea turtles and marine mammals) are protected by law. That means that even if you are a licensed, practicing, and well-intentioned veterinarian, conducting medical procedures on them requires specialized permits and expertise, so it should always be done by appropriately trained and permitted stranding response personnel. If your clinic gets a call about a marine animal in need, it is best to refer them directly to the Stranding Hotline for assistance. Please do not attempt to treat an animal yourself.

It is also important to give wildlife a safe distance, avoid approaching, touching, or otherwise disturbing them because rest is important to their biology, and they can be a danger to your safety. You can also help by advising clients to keep pet cats indoors, which will reduce the risk of disease spread, namely toxoplasmosis.

Between Jan-July 2020, 18 monk seal pups were born in the main Hawaiian Islands: 5 on Oʻahu, 11 on Molokaʻi, and 1 each on Kaua‘i and Hawaiʻi Island. Encountering female seals that are nursing their pups is a situation in which it is important to be especially cautious, as these seals in particular can be aggressive.

The Fishing Around Seals and Turtles program provides guidelines on how to fish safely around these animals and what to do if a fisherman accidentally hooks one while fishing. Again, if someone contacts you about an entangled or hooked animal please refer them to the stranding hotline.

If you suspect illegal or suspicious activity, it can be reported to: (a) the Hawaii DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources (DOCARE) hotline at (808) 643-DLNR, or preferably on the DLNRTip App for your mobile device; or (b) NOAA Office of Law Enforcement Hotline (800) 853-1964. The Stranding Hotline links to DOCARE as well.

For additional information contact: RespectWildlife@noaa.gov
For immediate assistance or to report marine wildlife emergencies call: 1-888-256-9840
If you are interested in having electronic materials with this information that you can print and post at your clinic, please contact Dr. Michelle Barbieri.

Paycheck Protection Program Update from AVMA

The AVMA Advocacy team worked very hard to influence and improve the Paycheck Protection Program. The Small Business Administration recently released data on the loans and the uptake by the veterinary profession has been significant. About 56% of veterinary practices took PPP loans totaling an estimated $2.1 Billion, with over 80% of the loans being less than $150,000.  Over 200,000 jobs in veterinary practices have been protected. A blog posting with data and an infographic can be found at https://www.avma.org/blog/covid-19-loans-are-supporting-veterinary-teams-and-patients.

Congress is working on additional legislation that will impact the PPP, which could include retroactive changes.  It is expected to pass before Congress leaves for their August recess.  AVMA is actively seeking measures to ensure favorable tax treatment of PPP loan proceeds, and for a streamlined forgiveness process for loans below $150,000, which would include the vast majority of veterinary PPP loans. We have a Congressional Advocacy Network Action Alert out on the tax treatment of PPP funds that can be found at https://avmacan.avma.org/avma/app/onestep-write-a-letter?0&engagementId=508320.