SFVMA Newsletter: September/October 2016
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Welcome to our new digital newsletter!
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      President's Message

Happy Fall South Florida!  I’m sure each and every one of you is eagerly awaiting a little cool down of these hot summer temps as we approach the Holiday Season (and final quarter of the year) – amazing how fast another year is wrapping up !!

In regards to the Holiday Season, do not forget to mark your calendars for this year’s annual party to be held Saturday, December 3rd at the Biscayne Bay Yacht Club (2540 S. Bayshore Drive, Miami). As always, this event promises to be great – filled with lots of wonderful food, dance and fun with friends!  More details to follow soon.

As you can see by reading this newsletter, our board decided several months ago to improve our member outreach by discontinuing our printed newsletter and introducing a more modern, user friendly digital format. This allow us to share and communicate with more people, more often, more affordably and more efficiently. We hope to expand our education and information outreach while being better supported by veterinary and other industry sponsors. 

As we make this transition, please feel free to make positive suggestions on how we can continue to improve. Kudos to Dr. Marc Kramer for also working to modernize our webpage. We hope these changes will provide more useful information for member veterinarians and our community at large.

While we are excited about our new communication strategies, it comes a little bittersweet as we must also say goodbye to our long term newsletter producer, Ms. Jacqueline Preston, who has provided 18 years of service to the SFVMA. She has played an important role in the growth and communication of the SFVMA and her time and efforts are appreciated. 

As always, please feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns (  Enjoy these months……and don’t forget to vote!
  • Robert Swinger, DVM, DACVO
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Congratulations to Project PetSnip!
Project PetSnip, a non-profit spay and neuter organization co-founded by SFVMA member Dr. Marc Kramer, was just awarded a $10,000 grant from Florida Animal Friend for their upcoming spay/neuter campaign, “Snip ABC”.

Their targeted effort focuses on the spay and neuter of “All Bullies and Chihuahuas”. The funds will be used to help reduce the overpopulation of the dog breeds that have the highest intake and euthanasia rates in Miami area animal shelters. Ultimately, this will help save the lives of hundreds or even thousands of dogs and help keep homeless dogs off the streets.

Florida Animal Friend, Inc. grants are funded by sales of the Official Florida Animal Friend Spay and Neuter license plate, available through the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles. Through the sales of these auto tags, the money raised helps organizations like Project PetSnip increase their spay and neuter surgeries to help animals that otherwise might never get "snipped".

Competition for this award is high and PetSnip was one of only 23 organizations throughout the State of Florida to receive this prestigious grant. Their goal is to use the awarded funds to fix over 100 at-risk dogs in Miami.
Upcoming SFVMA CE Courses
September 21,2016
Sponsored by: Blue Buffalo

"Current Concepts and Practical Approaches to Immune-mediated Diseases"

Speaker: Jeff Toll, VMD, DACVIM (SAIM)
Free for members

October 26, 2016

Sponsored by: MVS

"Neurologic Disorders of the Spine: When to Cut"

Speaker: Dr. Natalia Andrade, Dipl. ACVS
Free for members
See upcoming CE
Humane Society News

12th Annual Vets FORE Pets Golf Tournament!
Friday November 18, 2016
Melreese Country Club
1802 NW 32 Ave
Tee Time 12:00pm--Banquet to follow

Hosted by: South Florida Veterinary Foundation
For More Information:
 UF Health Communications
1600 SW Archer Road
Communicore Building, Room C3-025
P.O. Box 100253
Gainesville, FL 32610

New collaboration between UF and
Miami-Dade animal shelter will enhance care for homeless animals

August 18, 2016
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Homeless animals in South Florida, their caretakers, University of Florida veterinary medical students and Miami-Dade County residents all will benefit from a new agreement that will add faculty and staff to support operations in the Miami-Dade County animal shelter.
            The innovative collaboration is one of the first of its kind in the country and creates a means for the UF College of Veterinary Medicine, known for its world-class shelter medicine programs, to partner with a leading government-operated animal shelter. The collaboration will enhance the adoptability of shelter pets in South Florida, while UF lends academic expertise to shelter operations and provides unmatched learning opportunities for veterinary medical students.
            Up to six students at a time will be able to participate in a new course, through which they will spend two weeks at the Miami-Dade shelter as part of their clinical training. The students will be supervised by a UF faculty member who will be permanently based at the facility, along with a UF veterinary medical technician.
             The expanded relationship builds on an existing student externship program through which UF veterinary medical students have the opportunity to study off-site at various shelters throughout the state.
             “We are thrilled at the opportunity to combine what we offer in academic veterinary medicine with the day-to-day needs of the animal welfare community in South Florida,” said the college’s dean, James W. Lloyd, D.V.M., Ph.D. “Although the pet adoption rates being achieved by the Miami-Dade Animal Care Department are already commendable, particularly for a shelter of its size, partnership with UF will further strengthen its success.”
Lloyd noted that the collaboration was made possible thanks to the efforts of the Miami-Dade County Commission; the county’s mayor, Carlos Gimenez; its animal services department and the South Florida Veterinary Medical Association.
             “We all recognize that this important new collaboration will be a win-win-win for all, most importantly the homeless animals, veterinary medical students and ultimately the people of Miami-Dade County,” Lloyd said.  
            Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz, who sponsored the legislation and in whose district the shelter is located, championed the new agreement.
“I am extremely excited knowing that the Miami-Dade Animal Services Department will help provide veterinary medical students with hands-on experience they need,” he said. “This partnership with the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine, the state’s only veterinary college, will help the county achieve its goal of eliminating shelter kills by humanely reducing the pet population through spaying and neutering.”
The shelter medicine program at the University of Florida is multifaceted and manifests the college’s mission of teaching, research, clinical service and community engagement through a variety of services. In addition to collaborations with shelters across the state of Florida, UF veterinarians work with local shelters from Alachua and nearby counties to provide spay/neuter and other needed medical and surgical services to homeless pets and provide consultative as well as continuing education and graduate-level training to shelter veterinarians and staff from all over the world.
The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine is supported through funding from UF Health and the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
Sarah Carey
Director of Public Relations
UF College of Veterinary  Medicine
December 3, 2016

SFVMA Holiday Party
Biscayne Bay Yacht Club


President : Dr. Robert Swinger
Immediate Past President: Dr. Maria Oliveira
President Elect, CE Chair: Dr. Claudia Valderrama
Recording Secretary: Dr. Patty Khuly
Treasurer: Dr. Maria Oliveira
Website: Dr. Marc Kramer
FVMA District VI Representative: Dr. Marta Lista
SFVF President: Dr. Irving Lerner
Executive Director: Maria Reyes

Dr. Gerardo Diaz
Dr. Rick Diaz
Dr. Sharon MacIvor
Dr. Kenny Snyder
Dr. Barbara Tomaras

Join us online September 19 – November 11 to learn six strategies to help you transform your experience with compassion fatigue.

Compassion Fatigue Strategies is a unique online class designed to support people who work with animals. This course is taught by a Certified Compassion Fatigue Educator, Jessica Dolce who will guide you through this four module self-paced class. In this course you will establish a foundation of knowledge to help you better understand and transform your experience with compassion fatigue.   This course is eligible for 15 CE credits.

Registration is open through September 26, 2016.
Learn how to:
Recognize signs and symptoms of compassion fatigue
Manage your stress levels and increase your self-care practices
Connect with the rewards of your work
Build your resiliency
Commit to making successful changes in your life and in your organization
 By the end of class you’ll have six strategies to help you manage and transform your experience with compassion fatigue, your personal mission statement and goals to help you make lasting changes, a better understanding of yourself and how to engage in self-care that works for you, and the tools you need to be well, while you continue to do good work!

Register here!
For more information, contact:
Phillip Buchyn
Student Services Coordinator|352-294- 4509
Relief Veterinarians:
Dr. Karen Ashby     Dr. Keiko Hirokawa  
(305) 401-1266     (734) 730-1059  
Dr. Doly Baquero        Dr. Angela Guevara Nieveen
(786) 234-1946     (352) 318-1703  
Dr. Pierre Bland     Dr. Cyrena Rose  
(754) 265-5176     (305) 439-5411  
Dr. Katarina Boros      Dr. Mark Steele  
(305) 981-4721     (954) 942-7193  
      Dr. Claudia Valderrama
      (305) 297-8893  
Summerfields Animal Hospital Proheart6 Video
Click to view the video!


Dear Colleagues,
As we move into the fall of 2016, the Foundation continues to provide programs and initiatives that support the mission of the Foundation. The mission of the Foundation is to increase access to quality veterinary care, promote responsible pet ownership, increase awareness of the importance of the human-animal bond in our community and support the effort to reduce pet overpopulation in our community.

In keeping with this mission the Foundation supports many endeavors and continues to work with collaborative partners to help accomplish goals that the individual parties might not otherwise achieve alone. Through the support and efforts of our
Board of Directors and our fantastic growing Friends of the Foundation, together we are able to increasingly provide programs and services that directly effect the quality of life for not only pets in this community, but for their two-legged friends.
The Friends of the Foundation is a collection of like-minded individuals who support our mission. Our Friends include veterinarians, veterinary technicians, local business owners, varied professionals and non-profits, veterinary supply companies, and students all working together to fulfill our missions. Friends donate time, funds, resources, expertise, and anything else they feel will be supportive. Please join our family of friends; we would love that.
Some of the programs that bring our mission to life are:
Project Unleashed-Free wellness care, and spay/neuter surgery for pets of homeless and for pets of veterans at the Camillus House Homeless Shelter in Overtown.
Friends of the Foundation Free Lecture Series- educational lectures on various veterinary and pet care topics, free to anyone wishing to attend
MVC PUP E Program-focusing on the reduction of euthanasia based on behavior problems; works closely with Felix Varela High School and Pre-Vet societies at FIU and UM.
MDAS/SFVF Spay Neuter Program-brings low cost spay neuter services to income qualified families, approved rescue groups and community(feral) cats in local veterinary hospitals.
University of Florida Endowment Scholarship-awarded each year to a needful Miami-Dade Co. resident veterinary student.
As I mentioned in the last newsletter, the South Florida Veterinary Foundation decided to change our name to the Miami Veterinary Foundation starting next year, 2017.  Keep a look out for MVF because next year SFVF will be obsolete.
It is a pleasure and honor to serve on this great Board as President. The Board members share values and are working together to bring exceptional programs to light.  Please let us know if you are interested in joining the Foundation and helping us accomplish our goals. We can be contacted via e-mail at or
Irving M. Lerner, D.V.M.
SFVF President
Thursday, November 17th, is Give Miami Day for 2016!
Give Miami Day will always be the Thursday before Thanksgiving! A day of giving during the season of giving sharing and gratitude. 

The Foundation continues to offer programs that fill needs for the local pet community. Funds raised from Give Miami Day support programs like Project Unleashed, our no cost veterinary clinic hosted from Camillus House homeless shelter, Friends of the Foundation Lecture series, our free lecture series for all pet lovers, and administration of the Spay Neuter partnership with Miami Dade Animal Services, offering low income surgeries as well as other programs to benefit the owners and their pets in our community.
Please include us in your giving on Give Miami Day!
Amazon Smile 
Are you familiar with Amazon Smile?
Amazon will donate .5% of your purchase price to the charity of your choice. While the % is small, if you are an amazon shopper, it's at no cost to you, you simply shop as usual via the site and you designate us as being the benefactor of your shopping. 
Please register the Foundation as the benefactor of your Amazon purchases! Remember this is at no cost to you! We really appreciate you taking the moment to arrange this! to go directly to our link that allows you to designate us as your chosen charity.

Please note that because South Florida Veterinary Foundation is a d/b/a we are registered as Dade County Veterinary Foundation on Amazon Smile

AIM to Lead
Problem-Solving a Veterinary Practice

By: Michelle Guercio-Winter, CVT, CVPM
Education Development Specialist
Patterson Veterinary

There are problems in every workplace. Problems come in many forms and sometimes can be an obstacle to getting things done or to moving towards your goals when left unaddressed. The frequency that a veterinary practice experiences problems or obstacles is largely affected by how quickly the problems are addressed and by how well leaders navigate the solutions to problems. Whether you're solving a patient-care related problem, keeping the peace between team members, or working to improve financial performance, the problems you face are real and have the potential to affect the team, clients and the business.

Often obstacles can be minimized if leaders know how to address them. Using a problem-solving technique will help frame thoughts and actions while helping to remove obstacles. The problem-solving technique being introduced in this article is called ‘AIM to Lead’. It provides a framework that is broad enough to allow the flexibility to use it across many different categories of problems while being specific enough to allow you to dial into solving the most common problems found in the veterinary practice setting.

This particular technique is different than many because it forces the problem-solving facilitator to approach changes by using both management and leadership. The appropriate blend of management and leadership may be different from one problem to the next. But it should be noted when problem solving, management structure is a necessary facet for leadership to be most effective.

The AIM to Lead problem-solving strategy is made up of four important steps:

A = Acknowledge
The first phase of problem solving, acknowledging there is an issue, may sound obvious but often requires more thought than one may assume. At this point you’ll need to evaluate symptoms. Just like in medical cases, when there are symptoms, there is an underlying problem.
Symptoms of a problem can come in many forms; gossip, high employee turnover, cash flow strains, inventory mismanagement, poor performance, a drop in client numbers, or many, many others. Just as in medicine, recognizing the symptoms is an important part of making a diagnosis. Acknowledge each symptom you have already seen or learned about.

I = Investigate
During the investigation phase, it’s important to know that the goal is to find the source of the symptoms, in essence the actual problem causing them. There is one sure fire place to start; in the mirror. Ask yourself these: “What have I done to contribute to this?” and “What haven’t I done that may have contributed to this?”  Both your actions and inactions may have contributed to workplace issues and starting at this humble point will do wonders for moving toward a quicker resolution.
After self-examination, further investigation may involve team or client feedback, data mining, reviewing reports and/or simple observation. The goal of this stage of problem-solving is to find the problem through an investigation and analysis of the symptoms you found because for the best results, it’s important to treat the problem, not the symptoms.

M = Manage
With the actual problem now defined, some sort of a change is likely ahead. It may be a change in behavior, change in protocol, change in training, etc.  When handling change of any sort, management is needed as changes are rolled out.
Change management is a structured approach to ensure changes are thoroughly implemented, and that the lasting benefits of change are achieved. During implementation, management is an important part of the initiative. The management activities to consider with new initiatives include things like:
  • Clarification of mutual expectations
  • Job, task and responsibility analysis (update job descriptions, training programs and employee manual as needed)
  • Creation and communication of new protocols
  • Alignment of external education necessary for team members to fulfill their roles
Management activities are most commonly focused on protocols and procedures. Management activities are heaviest on the front end of change when.

Lead = Lead
Your role as a practice owner (or manager) is to first see the need for change, then provide the management structure for clarity in expectations, then move into leading which supports the continuation of change efforts. Leadership is a more natural and fluid process when management structure has been put into place.
Once you have been through the AIM steps, you will spend much of your time leading. Providing continual support during change can involve many different facets of leadership and each situation may require something a little different depending on the desired outcome. Leadership activities to consider may include these as well as other activities:
  • Check-in
  • Act as a mentor
  • Remain vigilant to goals and continually communicate them
  • Provide honest and meaningful feedback
  • Keep an open door
  • Communicate and celebrate successes
  • Walk your talk – you must act in a way you expect others to act
Using the AIM to Lead problem-solving strategy will work across many sources of problems. The power in this technique comes from taking action when symptoms suggest a problem. There is also power in instilling both management and leadership at the right times during change. The truth is, there are times when management is needed and there are times when leadership is needed. Using each appropriately during problem-solving and initiating change contributes to a favorable outcome. 
Dr. Debbie Colker, past president of the SFVMA and past Board member of the SFVF, passed away on August 2, 2016.

Dr. Colker had an infectious love of life touching all who knew her. She was loved by her clients and practiced the highest quality medicine at Kendall Animal Clinic until she could no longer. Debbie's outer beauty was only surpassed by her inner beauty. Her noble life has made this community a better place. We have lost a very bright light. Dr. Debbie Colker will be missed. 

Donations in her memory can be made to Bet Shira Congregation Musical Fund or the General Israel Orphans Home for Girls at 132 Nassau St. Suite 275 N.Y., N.Y. 10038.IN MEMORIAM

Are you interested in renting out clinic space on a day your practice is closed or slow? Project PetSnip is seeking use of veterinary clinic space in Miami for high-quality spay & neuter work once or twice monthly. Contact Dr. Marc Kramer at or 305-387-0721.
Members: Up to 7 lines at no charge
Non-Members: 5 lines $20.00/issue
Contact Maria Reyes

Copyright © 2016 South Florida Veterinary Medical Association, All rights reserved.

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