National conference focuses on animal health in Appalachia

The Center for Animal Health in Appalachia (CAHA), whose mission it is to improve both animal and public health throughout Appalachia, held its first national conference on the campus of Lincoln Memorial University-College of Veterinary Medicine (LMUCVM) on Oct. 14-15.

The conference included presentations and discussions on issues ranging from economic drivers to animal health and one health issues to federal legislation and public policy. AVMA officials participating in the meeting were Dr. Joe Kinnarney, AVMA president; Dr. Michael Dicks, director of veterinary economics; and Gina Luke, assistant director of governmental relations who also serves as a CAHA Advisory Board member.

Dr. Kinnarney congratulated LMU for preparing the future veterinary workforce of Appalachia and for exhorting students to deliver veterinary care in rural America. Dr. Dicks discussed the impact of dense populations on veterinary services. Demand for veterinarians in suburban areas is higher than in rural areas, which can make it a challenge for veterinarians in the region to earn a living. Luke discussed the merits of the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program, the newly authorized Veterinary Services Grant Program and the role that the federal government can play in addressing veterinary care in the region.

Dr. Lonnie King, former dean of The Ohio State University-College of Veterinary Medicine, gave a keynote address on one health and social relevance. His central message was that one health can change the scope, scale and potential impact or relevance of the veterinary profession.

During the conference, the CAHC released the 2015 State of Animal Health in Appalachia report, which shows a distribution of livestock, pets and veterinarians in 420 Appalachian counties in 13 states and a total of 7,178 practicing veterinarians within the region. Within the Appalachian footprint, there are an estimated 13.8 million small animals and 13.7 million large animals with an estimated herd size worth $42 billion. It is estimated that veterinarians practicing in Appalachia provide 57,424 jobs, an average of about eight people per practice. These practices provide an estimated $2.3 billion to the Appalachian economy.

Check out photos taken at the CAHC conference on Flickr.

3 thoughts on “National conference focuses on animal health in Appalachia

  1. Unless the graduates are restricted to practicing in rural Appalachia, they will gravitate to locations where they can make a reasonable living. Why Tennessee needs a second veterinary school is beyond me.

  2. Pure blarney from Joe Kinnarney and more verbal manure from the other speakers who I guess have never actually had to practice in any of these communities and eek out a living while being on call 24/7. Been there and done that myself. This shows how much lying has become normal behavior in the AVMA and veterinary academia. Even the so called statistics are full of holes as some of the areas are already saturated with veterinary practices such as western NC areas around Asheville and Boone or do not have the population to support a practice. I mean if WalMart and grocery stores will not locate in some of these areas because there is not enough business why does anyone think a new LMU graduate will locate in these areas or even be able to secure financing based on “phantom” demand identified by the quack Dicks. Maybe there is some demand for $40 dog neuters and $60 spays along with $100 parvo treatments in these areas but those LMU grads might need to locate their practice in their garage outside their trailer if they can afford that.

  3. Dr. Kinnarney congratulated LMU for preparing the future veterinary workforce of Appalachia

    Awesome! So all of these graduates entering into a saturated field are going to practice in underserved Appalachia. We know this how? Do they have limited licensure to practice only in these underserved areas? Of course not.

    Just another money grab endorsed by the AVMA. Sad.