Oct 11, 2022, 00:00 AM
Dr. Linda Fineman
As my time in the role as the ACVIM’s CEO draws to a close, I have been reflecting on what our organization has accomplished in the last three years. Having come into the role just three months before the pandemic hit, much of my tenure has been during a time of massive disruption to our operations. You’ve all felt that in your own lives and seen or experienced firsthand the impact this has had on the ACVIM.
As Diplomates, we’ve seen our residents struggle when exams were cancelled the first year, then delivered electronically thereafter. While moving to virtual exams was a planned change, it was never intended to happen over such a short period of time. You are all likely aware that our exam processes are still in transition, and while we are through the hardest times, our staff remain committed to prioritizing exam redevelopment and refining the delivery processes over all other work.
"I’m particularly proud of how the ACVIM is leading these efforts and influencing change across veterinary medicine."
Our signature event, the ACVIM Forum, was also moved to a virtual environment the first and second years of the pandemic, with a hybrid model combining in-person and virtual learning offered this year. The amount of work that went into making those shifts so quickly cannot be overstated, as staff typically book locations for the conference five years in advance. The logistics for planning a conference of our size are staggering, and I’m proud of how our staff successfully transformed the event under very difficult circumstances.
Behind the scenes, we completed a thorough audit of the ACVIM’s systems and processes, resulting in saved staff time and money. We’ve shored up our insurance coverage and revamped our governance practices, reducing organizational risk. We also sold our office condo, freeing up nearly a million dollars in assets to add to our investment accounts. Doing so allowed us to move to a co-working facility, giving our Denver staff more flexibility and allowing us to hire remote workers, broadening the staff candidate pool. While these are not the most glamorous accomplishments, they are the foundational pieces our organization needed to allow us to build upon.
I am also energized by the way the ACVIM has convened a collaborative group of specialty association executives to tackle some of our profession’s biggest challenges. We are focusing now on the small animal specialty shortage, with future projects examining the unique challenges of large animal internists, the role of telemedicine in the profession, broadening our educational programs, and many other important issues impacting specialty medicine. I’m particularly proud of how the ACVIM is leading these efforts and influencing change across veterinary medicine.
"While the path forward has been rocky at times, I feel confident that we are headed in the right direction."
The work of our diversity, equity and inclusion consultant partner, The Equity Project, will help us tremendously as we progress toward becoming a more inclusive organization. While the path forward has been rocky at times, I feel confident that we are headed in the right direction. It is gratifying for me to see how we have already made some needed changes, including implementing processes to increase the diversity of our committees and Board in our volunteer selection and leadership opportunities.
Looking ahead, I am excited to hand the reins to Shannon Carter in 2023. Having collaborated with her as the ACVIM’s Chief Strategy Officer over the last three years, I am confident that she understands our profession and the mission, vision and values of the ACVIM. She brings a wealth of experience and skills into the CEO role and I don’t believe there is anyone better to lead the organization forward.
I have been truly honored to work alongside the Board of Regents as the ACVIM’s CEO. I look forward to continuing to be involved through a consultative role next year and am excited to see how our organization continues to evolve in the future!
Linda Fineman, DVM, DACVIM (Oncology)