C.E. into Practice
income, effective goal-setting and marketing strategies, and a supportive
network of professional peers. These are a few of the benefits attributed
to the Colleges Executive Veterinary Program (EVP) by its participants.
the innovative continuing education program debuted in 1991, more than
150 practitioners have reaped tangible benefitsboth professionally
and personallyfrom this unique two-year learning experience. Originally
designed as leading to a certificate in Swine Health Management, EVP
has subsequently been tailored for small animal practitioners, with
new certificate programs in practice management and business administration
in the works. (See sidebar below.)
Dr. Greg Ekdale (Iowa State 76), owner of Highland Pet Hospital
and Wellness Center in Bloomington, Ill., and a 2000 graduate of the
Small Animal EVP, credits EVP with helping him incorporate new strategies
for change into his practice.
EVP, I would make changes in the practice and hope they would work,
he says. But now he works out on paper the specific steps to be taken.
all cases, Dr. Ekdale says, that has included at some point
assessing our fee structure. EVP has taught me that fees have to be
set to support your goals, rather than be seen as a reason to limit
His EVP classmate
Dr. Linda Randall (Ohio State 81) raised the fees at the hospital
she owns in Ohio while she was in the program. She tracked the gross
practice income of her EVP classmates for a class project and found
that it increased 20 percent by the end of the two years. Net income
increased as well.
According to Dr. Randall, many participants entered the program with
basic knowledge of leadership and marketing, but EVP helped develop
these ideas further.
A lot of
us were working on these things, she says, but not to this
extent and with this confidence. We are vastly more effective now.
Dr. Jill Richardson
(Tuskegee 94) is currently enrolled in the class of 2002 Small
Animal EVP. She has been applying the assignments from class directly
toward her work as a professional and public relations veterinary information
specialist with the National Animal Poison Control Center of the American
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
As a result, she
has designed a series of brochures offering treatment tips
as well as a poster listing antifreeze antidotes that she hopes to distribute
My goal is
to have one in every vet clinic in the nation, Dr. Richardson
also helped plan the ASPCAs National Poison Prevention Week campaign,
entitled Make your pets home poison safe, with guidance
from the EVP marketing module. Dr. Richardson says that the campaign
was better planned and developed than ever.
The EVP Advantage
is designed to fit into the schedule of busy practitioners. Classes
meet in Urbana for three days every other month over a two-year period.
Homework assignments are submitted electronically between modules.
are experts from both inside and outside the veterinary field, offering
a broad range of views.
Dr. R.C. Ebert
(Missouri 70), a partner in Pleasant Hill Animal Clinic and 2000
graduate of the Swine EVP, says he was surprised with the breadth of
the program. He found the program provided help on topics ranging from
herd health management to personal evaluation to financial planning.
Class size is limited,
creating an intimate and friendly atmosphere for learning.
Just as the ideas
and strategies promulgated in EVP continue to benefit graduates long
after the classes end, so do relationships formed among classmates.
The friendships and network of professional peers that develop in the
EVP are frequently cited by graduates as valuable assets.
EVP graduates remain
in touch with classmates through an Internet list-serve, where questions
and information are posted daily on practice and personal issues. They
also meet at least yearly for a program of continuing education and
with my classmates still functions to drive me to perform and achieve
even more, notes Dr. Doug Carithers (Iowa State 84), senior
director of Veterinary Professional Services for Merial Limited and
graduate of the 2000 Small Animal EVP.
Dr. Ekdale agrees.
I am surprised by the strength of the bonds formed among the class
members, he says. My classmates are now my closest friends
in the profession. We are extremely supportive of each other in our
professional and personal lives.
Focus on Business and Management Skills
Two new EVPs are being introduced.
leading to a certificate in practice management begins in September
2002. It will be similar to the Small Animal EVP, and it will
be open to practice managers and veterinary technicians as well
An EVP in
business administration, with a focus on topics such as accounting
and marketing, is being developed in collaboration with the University
of Illinois College of Commerce and Business Administration. It
will be structured to enable participants to spend less time away
from work by shortening the on-campus modules to two instead of
three days and placing more of the material online.
information, visit www.EVPIllinois.org
on the Web or call the College Office of Continuing Education-Public
Service at 217/333-2907.