Veterinary Professionals Connect Digitally at First Virtual Purdue Veterinary Conference

Friday, October 2, 2020

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In the midst of the challenges posed by the pandemic of 2020, the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine found a silver lining with the success of its first virtual Purdue Veterinary Conference, held September 22-25.  Utilizing an app called “Whova,” along with special events conducted via the Zoom platform, the conference attracted more than 560 registered attendees, including veterinarians, veterinary nurses, and Purdue Veterinary Medicine faculty, staff, and students.

The general education sessions were conducted in a live, synchronous format.  Attendees were able to view the sessions, interact with speakers, visit exhibitor booths virtually, and network with other conference participants while utilizing the Whova app, which also was available as a desktop version that could be used to view sessions from a laptop or desktop PC.

Even in the virtual format, the conference offered a full range of top quality continuing education, including 94 sessions given by 49 speakers.  The virtual Exhibit Hall featured two dozen exhibitors who provided videos, chat opportunities and prizes for attendees who could peruse the exhibits with a simple click or two.  The Exhibit Passport Contest gave points to attendees who visited booths and engaged with the vendors’ digital content.  Congratulations to contest winners Angel Pritt, RVT, of Care-Pets Animal Hospital in Sellersburg, Ind., and Amy Butcher, RVT, ICU/ECC technician in the Purdue University Veterinary Hospital!

Conference participants also found ample opportunities to network through the Whova app.  Attendees utilized the app to share more than 2,350 messages either privately or via community message boards.  There were 37 community board topics, including “What’s your favorite part of veterinary medicine?”, “Where’s your favorite place you’ve traveled?”, and “What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?”  Participants also used the app to share 164 photos.  Congratulations to Dawn Haas, DVM, of VCA West 86th Street Animal Hospital in Indianapolis, and Lara Luke, RVT, dermatology technician in the Purdue University Veterinary Hospital, who had the most likes to win the photo contest.  Additionally, Jim Roberts, DVM, of Allison Lane Animal Hospital in Jeffersonville, Ind., won the Community Engagement Challenge with 131,400 points that were earned by engaging with other attendees, attending sessions, providing session feedback, and visiting exhibit booths.

The continuing education sessions were organized in a variety of tracks, including Equine, Exotics, One Health and Emergency Preparedness, Practice Management, Ruminant, Small Animal, Swine, and Veterinary Nursing.  The registrants were able to earn up to 24 hours of continuing education by virtually attending the presentations.  The outstanding line-up of industry experts and hot topics included keynote lectures on wellness and diversity and inclusion, presented by Dr. Mia Cary and Dr. Kemba Marshall, respectively.  In addition, Dr. Andy Roark served as the lecturer for the practice management track and gave the Dr. Jack and Naomi Stockton / Class of 1971 Keynote Lecture, while Dr. Zenithson Ng kicked-off the conference with the Elanco Human-Animal Bond Lecture Tuesday evening.

In addition to the continuing education offerings, the conference included virtual special events.  The Awards Celebration Wednesday evening, September 23, honored recipients of the college’s Distinguished Alumni Awards and awards for outstanding faculty during a presentation conducted via Zoom.  Congratulations to the following award recipients:

  • Dr. Tom Troxel (PU DVM ’81), Distinguished Alumnus Award
  • Dr. Debbie White (PU DVM ’94), Distinguished Alumna Award
  • Dr. Stephanie Thomovsky (PU MS 2010), Raymond E. Plue Outstanding Teacher Award
  • Dr. Nickie Baird, Alumni Faculty Award for Excellence
  • Dr. Marxa Figueiredo, Alumni Outstanding Teaching Award
  • Dr. Timothy Bentley, Excellence in Research Award
  • Dr. Sarah Steinbach, Excellence in Service Award
  • Dr. Sandra San Miguel (PU DVM ’93, PhD ’97), Excellence in Scholarship of Engagement Award
  • Dr. Tiffany Lyle (PU PhD 2016), Faculty Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Award
  • Dr. Andrew Woolcock, Resident Mentor Award

In lieu of the customary annual conference reception, the virtual trivia night “Pursuit!” held on Thursday, September 24, pitted teams of alumni, faculty and staff against each other in a contest of who had the best command of facts and figures involving themes and subject matter ranging from Purdue history to movies and TV shows.  Congratulations to the winning team, called the “Gas Passers,” led by team captain Elisa Hostetler, RVT, anesthesiology technologist in the college’s veterinary hospital. 

Special thanks to this year’s conference sponsors:  IDEXX, Banfield Pet Hospital, the Indiana Board of Animal Health/Indiana State Department of Health, Nutrena, Purina, Zoetis, Elanco, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, and Coyne Veterinary Service.  And a big thank you to everyone who participated!

Writer(s): Purdue Veterinary Medicine News |

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