Welcome to EquiManagement’s podcast Disease Du Jour, which is focused on equine research and current best practices. Disease Du Jour is brought to you in 2020 by Merck Animal Health.
Our guest on today's episode about the AVMA Veterinarian Wellness Survey results is Dr. Christine Royal is the Director of Professional Services for Merck Animal Health’s companion animal and equine business. Merck is the sponsor for the AVMA Veterinarian Wellness Survey.
Dr. Royal earned her Bachelor of Science in microbiology and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Auburn University. She is the liaison between many prominent researchers in university, government and private settings to stay up to date on new trends and developments within the profession.
Dr. Royal enjoys delivering education on topics that improve the health of pets and the people that care for them. She is also passionate about sharing her perspective as a veterinarian, mother and industry veterinarian to raise awareness on issues related to protecting public health and the pet family. She utilizes her experience as a corporate trainer and knowledge of how adults learn to provide interactive education and coaching on the successful implementation of protocols, training of staff members, and finding solutions to help your practice
Dr. Royal holds an active license in Alabama and Tennessee, and she is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, American Heartworm Society, Association for Talent Development, and American Fisheries Society. Her many accolades and acknowledgements include numerous articles in publications, a research award for those contributions, participation in a few television shows aired on A&E, and numerous engagements as a moderator and speaker.
Prior to entering industry, Dr. Royal worked in private practice in Alabama for four years. She then entered industry gaining experience in clinical research, marketing, management, new product development and as a corporate trainer. In 2014, Dr. Royal joined Merck Animal Health.
The Merck/AVMA Vet Wellness Survey results included:
- Despite new awareness around wellbeing and mental health in veterinary medicine, the recent study showed that veterinarian wellbeing on average has not improved since a similar study was conducted in 2017, also done in partnership with the AVMA and funded by Merck Animal Health.
- Veterinarians rated job satisfaction highly, making comments such as: “I’m invested in my work and take pride in doing a good job” and “My work makes a positive contribution to people’s lives.”
- The study found that veterinarians were very concerned about
- high stress levels (92%)
- high student debt (91%), and
suicide (89%) in the profession
- Using the Mayo Clinic Physician Burnout and Wellbeing Scale, the study found that veterinarians, despite working fewer hours, had higher rates of burnout than physicians. Veterinarians scored 3.1 on the 7-point scale versus 2.24 for physicians, a statistically significant difference.suicide (89%) in the profession.
- The Merck Animal Health Veterinarian Wellbeing Study used human medical parameters of wellbeing throughout this study, which is defined as the way an individual feels about his or her life and how it compares to their ideal life.
- The survey found that wellbeing on average was lower among younger veterinarians.
- “Not working enough hours” also had a greater negative impact than “working too many hours” among those surveyed.
- Serious psychological distress:
- much more common in younger veterinarians than in their older counterparts
- half of those experiencing serious psychological distress in the last year did not seek treatment
- female veterinarians experience higher levels of serious psychological distress than their male counterparts with a statistically significant increase from 6.3% in the first study as compared to 8.1% in the recent study.
- The study found that 52% of veterinarians would not recommend a career in the veterinary profession. This was consistent with the first study, citing high student debt, low pay and stress as the main reasons.
- Veterinarians are much more likely to think about suicide than non-veterinarians and are more than 2.7 times more likely to attempt suicide.
- The percentage of veterinarians who considered suicide of fellow veterinarians a critical issue facing the profession increased from 80% to 89% between the first and second studies.
- Female veterinarians have higher rates of suicide ideation than their male counterparts, although male veterinarians are more likely to attempt suicide.
- The study provided techniques and potential solutions to improve veterinary mental health and wellbeing. Individuals are encouraged to:
- create personal stress management plans,
- balance their work with healthy personal activities,
- work with a financial planner (especially if carrying a burdensome level of student debt), and
- limit time on social media in favor of in-person interactions
- Veterinary practices
- should discuss stress and mental health frequently and encourage employees to seek help, if needed.
- mental health insurance coverage should be made known, and
- employers should consider creating Employee Assistance Programs if such programs are not currently in place.
Merck Animal Health is making a second $100,000 commitment following up on the first study commitment to support AVMA’s Workplace Wellbeing program and resources.
Disease Du Jour is brought to you in 2020 by Merck Animal Health.
Previous Episodes of Disease Du Jour
If you missed any of the previous episodes of Disease Du Jour, feel free to go back and catch up!
Episode 23 - Nicholas Pusterla, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, DAVDC-Equine, from the University of California, Davis, on Equine Coronavirus.
Episode 22 - Nathaniel A. White II, DVM, MS, DACVS, on the Equine Disease Communication Center.
Episode 21 - Steve O’Grady, DVM, MRCVS, a farrier with 40 years of experience who owns Virginia Therapeutic Farriery, on White Line Disease.
Episode 20 - Rick Mitchell, DVM, MRCVS, DACVSMR, Certified ISELP member, of Fairfield Equine Associates in Newtown, Connecticut, on Joint Injections.
Episode 19 - Duncan Peters, DVM, DACVSMR, Certified ISELP Member and co-owner of East-West Equine Sports Medicine in Lexington, Kentucky, talks about equine tendon and ligament injuries and treatments.
Episode 18 – Tracy Turner, DVM, MS, ACVS, ACVSMR, Fellow American Academy of Thermology, owner of Turner Equine Sports Medicine and Surgery, talks about the Equitarian Initiative.
Episode 17 – Robert Holland, DVM PhD, who is in private practice in Kentucky, talks about equine strangles.
Episode 16 - Craig Barnett, DVM, Director of the Equine Veterinary Professional Services segment at Merck Animal Health, talks about the Merck Equine Respiratory Biosurveillance program and what it means to veterinarians, researchers and the horse industry.
Episode 15 - Raul Bras, Raul Bras, DVM, CJF (Certified Journeyman Farrier), a shareholder in Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, talks about veterinarian-farrier relationships. Bras' professional focus is on equine podiatry, and he travels from his home base in Lexington throughout the country and the world. He is the 2019 president of the Northeast Association of Equine Practitioners.
Episode 14 - Angela Pelzel-McCluskey, DVM, MS, is a National Equine Epidemiologist for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Veterinary Services. She discussed equine infectious anemia (EIA).
Episode 13 - Michele L. Frazer, DVM, DACVIM, DACVECC, is an Associate veterinarian at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Lexington, Kentucky. She discussed diarrhea in adult horses and foals.
Episode 12 - Jack Easley, DVM, MS, DABVP, DAVDC (Eq), is the owner of Easley Equine Dentistry based in Shelbyville, Kentucky. Easley talks about how much has changed in equine dentistry, the wide variety of dental diseases horses can have, the need for a good dental exam with the right tools, the use of radiographs, and what horse owners expect today in equine dental care.
Episode 11 - This episode—featuring Drs. Ernie Bailey of the Gluck Equine Research Center at the University of Kentucky, and Samantha Brooks of the University of Florida—covers the topic of Genes as Management Tools. We discuss how genetics touches equine veterinarians on a day-to-day basis; adaptation and evolution; fragile foal syndrome; OCD; roaring; reproduction; and infectious disease.
Episode 10 - Angela Pelzel-McCluskey, DVM, MS, who is a National Equine Epidemiologist for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Veterinary Services, discusses vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV).
Episode 9 - Kent Allen, DVM, owner of Virginia Equine Imaging in Middleburg, Virginia, and co-founder of ISELP, discusses lameness diagnosis and ISELP.
Episode 8 – Roberta Dwyer, DVM, MS, DACVPM (epidemiology specialty), discusses biosecurity factors that equine veterinarians need to understand in order to best prevent and control disease spread on client farms.
Episode 7 – Martin Nielsen, DVM, PhD, DipEVPC, DACVM, one of the world’s leading equine parasitology researchers who is an associate professor at the University of Kentucky’s Maxwell H. Gluck Equine Research Center. Nielsen discusses equine parasites and the value of checking the efficacy of dewormers; the evolution of parasites and the science surrounding them; recent papers on parasite modeling; evaluating parasite control programs, combination deworming practices and the science behind them—good and bad.
Episode 6 - Peter Timoney, MVB, MS, PhD, FRCVS, the Frederick Van Lennep Chair in Equine Veterinary Science and a Professor at the Gluck Equine Research Center at the University of Kentucky. Timoney discusses equine infectious diseases, with a focus on factors that compromise normal pregnancy and the adolescent horse.
Episode 5 - Robert Holland, DVM, PhD, a private practice veterinarian in the Central Kentucky area focusing on respiratory problems and infectious diseases, talks about Respiratory Tips from the Field.
Episode 4 - Bonnie Barr, VMD, DACVIM, an internal medicine specialist at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Kentucky, talks about common neonatal problems in this podcast.
Episode 3 - Tom Chambers, PhD, who heads the OIE Reference Laboratory for equine influenza at the University of Kentucky, discusses equine influenza.
Episode 2 - Tom Riddle, DVM, DACT (hon), a founding partner of Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, discusses breeding season procedures that he has developed over his decades-long practice.
Episode 1 - Steve Reed, DVM, DACVIM, of Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, discusses equine herpesvirus and equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy.
Disease Du Jour is brought to you in 2020 by Merck Animal Health.
Editor's note: Disease Du Jour was ranked #15 among veterinary-related podcasts for all species with Feedspot.