The Concept of Decade One
As the managing partner of a fairly big equine referral practice, I interacted with a lot of interns over the last decade; our practice had four interns each year. Especially during and after the great recession, I began to feel that new equine practitioners really needed a “leg up” in order for their careers to be successful. As I transitioned into a consultant role and left clinical practice, this became my focus and passion. I really wanted (and want) to help those that will be the future leaders of the equine veterinary profession. My experience as a member of a VMG group for 10 years made me very cognizant of the value of having a group of peers as an advisory board; veterinarians experiencing the same challenges can be invaluable. Because of this experience, providing networking with a regional group of colleagues became the cornerstone of the concept as I developed the Decade One groups.
The Decade One groups are designed to be regional, with 20-25 members within 8 hours driving time of the meeting location. This helps keep them affordable and local. The curriculum is designed to be workshop based and interactive, with opportunities for the members to help each other. The meeting facilitators provide some didactic content but include many workshop elements. Each meeting is evaluated through an online survey, allowing members to shape future content. A Facebook page limited to the members (plus the facilitators) is set up for each group, and the members interact throughout the months between meetings, asking each other questions and reporting on changes they have made to their practices as a result of the meetings. Homework assignments are given from time to time to allow preparation for upcoming meetings.
Each regional meeting also has one hour set aside for our sponsors to have a focus group or presentation about value added offers for members (not sales based). For example, at one of the first Decade One meetings, Merial sales representative Christine Donnelley gave a wonderful presentation on Communication Styles.
Decade One groups are planned for multiple regions throughout the United States, and will begin to meet when they have filled with a minimum number of members (20). Patterson Animal Health and Boehringer Ingelheim are dedicated to the future success of young equine veterinarians, and have partnered with me to provide sponsorship of the Decade One groups. I am excited to have the opportunity to help make the careers of equine veterinarians more satisfying and successful.
Amy L Grice VMD MBA