Wellness Committee

The Wellness Committee charges are:
  • To provide a readily accessible and confidential resource of peers to assist veterinarians and their employees with incidents of substance abuse, personal wellness, life/work balance, and burnout/compassion fatigue.
  • To find ways to insure IVMA members are aware of this.
  • To prepare periodic articles and informative documents for publication in the Update concerning recognition, prevention, controlling and intervention strategies.
  • To prepare a document that summarizes drugs commonly found in veterinary clinics that may be abused.
Minutes of IVMA Wellness Committee
Wednesday, October 10, 2018 @ 1:00 pm
ISU CVM – Commons Conference Room 2

The Wellness Committee was called to order by Chair Dr. Harlyn McGuire with the roll call at 1:00 pm on Wednesday, October 10, 2018.  Attending were Co-Chair Dr. Laurie Meythaler-Mullins, Drs. Chris Mondak, Brenda Bright and Executive Director Dr. Randy Wheeler. Guests included IVMA President-Elect Dr. Amanda Fales-Williams, IVMA Public Health Committee Chair Dr. Kristen Obbink and Lauren Youngs – ISU CVM Student Mental Health Counselor/Clinical Therapist. Unable to attend were Drs. Bruce Ennen and Diane Noll and CVM student members Cody Sacquitne and Abbey Smith.
Lauren Youngs addressed the committee with her background and position as the ISU CVM Student Mental Health Counselor/Clinical Therapist. She will be sharing these duties with Shelley McQueeney, another ISU counselor. The group discussed ideas with Ms. Youngs including newsletter articles, speaking engagements, sharing of information between the two entities, and offering of well-being information/books for CVM students. The group thanked Lauren and she departed.
A motion was made, seconded and passed to approve the Minutes of the March 21, 2018 meeting.
Dr. Mullins gave an overview of the 2018 Annual Meeting’s Wellness session which featured the AVMA Wellness & Diversity Director Jen Brandt. It was recommended to have the Public Health session on a separate day than Wellness session or combine the two sessions, due to overlap of the similar committee objectives and undertakings. The Annual Meeting evaluations will be summarized for the Wellness and Public Health sessions and provided to each committee in electronic form.
The committee was provided with 3 new veterinary wellness-related documents in earlier agenda documents for added reference material.
There was a discussion of potential subjects and speakers for the 2019 Winter Conference.  The committee, with concurrence from Dr. Obbink, agreed to hold a combined session with Public Health. The combined 6 hour session would be held on Thursday, February 14th. Potential topics may include:
  1. Coping with Euthanasia and Emotional Distress
  2. Ethical Fatigue vs. Compassionate Fatigue
  3. Mental Wellbeing
  4. Public Health subjects
Potential speakers may include:
  1. Dr. Heather Fowler – National Pork Board, IVMA member and PH committee member
  2. Dr. Linda Lord – Merck Animal Health
  3. Lauren Youngs – ISU CVM Student Mental Health Counselor and Clinical Therapist
  4. Dr. Betsy Charles – national speaker with Veterinary Leadership Institute
  5. Drs. Carrie Jurney and Barry Kipperman (MightyVet sponsored)
There was a discussion of combining the Public Health and the Wellness Committees. It was mutually agreed to keep them separate but collaborative with each other. 
The group recommended consideration of utilizing a keynote speaker for the first hour at Annual Meeting which Benton Auditorium would accommodate. Then breakout into 5 sessions and use that speaker in one of the following sessions to defray costs.
The meeting adjourned at 3:00 pm.

Minutes of Wellness Committee Meeting
Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 12:00 pm
IVMA Headquarters, Ankeny, Iowa

On Wednesday, March 21, 2018, the Iowa Veterinary Medical Association’s Wellness Committee meeting and working lunch was called to order by Chair Dr. Harlyn McGuire at 12:10pm. Attending were Co-Chair Dr. Laurie Meythaler-Mullins, Drs. Chris Mondak, Diane Noll, Brenda Bright, Executive Director Dr. Randy Wheeler, Administrative Assistant Tracy Grodnitzky and CVM student member Cody Sacquitne. CVM student member, Abbey Smith, was unable to attend. Dr. Dewayne Rahe has been invited but no response. Dr. Wheeler will follow up.

New members Drs. Bright and Noll were introduced and shared a little about themselves.

A motion was made to approve the Wellness Committee meeting minutes from January 26th. The motion was seconded and passed.

Possible topics for the 2018 Annual Meeting, Friday, September 21st Wellness session were reviewed and discussed.  They prioritized these topics as followed:

Ethical Fatigue/Compassion Fatigue

  1. Mental Wellbeing

  2. Substance Abuse

A list was prioritized for potential speakers who could possibly cover all the topics (Dr. Randy Wheeler agreed to contact the speakers):

  1. Dr. Jen Brandt with the AVMA Wellness program.

  2. Dr. Elizabeth Strand from Tennessee – KY & TN VMAs recommended her.

  3. Dr. Cherie Buisson – featured and very well received at the joint SAVMA/IVMA session in March.

  4. Dr. Andy Roark was also mentioned, his honorarium is costly and we would need to budget for that, so the committee will revisit him in 2019.

If these speakers are not able to present we will ask them for suggested speakers and review as needed. If Dr. Brandt is available to speak, it was suggested to consider a ½ hour session at 7:30am in Benton Auditorium before the morning 5 breakout sessions. She could provide a brief overview of the AVMA Wellness program. 

There will be 1 hour of Tai Chi with Dr. Rod Bagley.  Cody will contact Dr. Bagley to see if mornings or afternoons work best for him. 

For future wellness sessions at Scheman, it was suggested to feature a keynote speaker (Dr. Andy Roark possibly) first hour of Day 1 to be held in Benton Auditorium. 

Tracy is working on a Wellness brochure. She suggested flyer or card with resources to contact that clinics could post in their office.  She will work on several options for the committee to review.

The IVMA website Wellness page was reviewed.  It was suggested that more information could be put on there (rather than a brochure) and easily updated to stay current on events and resources.  The committee will review and email Tracy any suggestions or recommendations.  Cody suggested looking at UC Davis Vet Med Wellness site for ideas.
The floor was opened up for other topics to discuss.

  • Dr. Wheeler brought attention to current legislation regarding support/service animals in Iowa. He reviewed Iowa HF2369 and will keep the committee abreast of any action.

  • Tracy will add the 211 information to the IVMA website resource page in light of the tragedy in Oklahoma and AVMA’s suggestions for counseling.

The meeting adjourned at 1:15 pm.

Action Items:


  • Rework the brochure and condense into a flyer of resources.  Send out several options to the committee to review.

  • Continue to improve the IVMA wellness page.

  • Committee members are encouraged to send ideas and feedback to Tracy.


  • Contact Dr. Bagley to see if mornings or afternoons (after lunch) work best for his schedule to give his hour presentation on Tai Chi.

Dr. Wheeler:

  • Contact the following speakers to see if they could present all day (5 hours) at the Annual Meeting:

  1. Dr. Jen Brandt

  2. Dr. Elizabeth Strand from Tennessee

  3. Dr. Cherie Buisson

Minutes of CIVIC Committee Meeting
Friday, February 26, 2018
On Friday, February 26, 2018, the Iowa Veterinary Medical Association’s Wellness Committee meeting (previously the CIVIC – Concerned Iowa Veterinary Iatric Committee) was called to order by Chair Dr. Harlyn McGuire at 9:00 am. Committee Members attending the meeting were Co-Chair Dr. Laurie Meythaler-Mullins, Dr. Christine Mondak, Executive Director Dr. Randy Wheeler, Administrative Assistant Tracy Grodnitzky and CVM student members Cody Sacquitne and Abbey Smith.
Addition of new committee members was discussed. The State Public Health Veterinarian, Dr. Ann Garvey will be invited because of her official position. Dr. Meythaler-Mullins has a member of the Iowa Board of Veterinary Medicine that may be interested in serving but it was agreed that the current number of members was sufficient.
The committee charges were reviewed. Revisions will be made to include mental, physical, wellness and emotional issues, in addition to substance abuse.  Tracy and Dr. Wheeler will rework and the committee will review during the next meeting.
The committee discussed ideas to improve its awareness within the IVMA, which includes its purpose and the resources available.  Options discussed:
  • Mental Health Calling Card – an example was provided of the SAVMA Recreation and Stress Relief group information card by Cody Sacquitne.
  • Review articles from the AVMA and look at republishing pertinent ones in our IVMA Update.
  • Check with the new CVM wellness/mental health counselor about writing some articles for the newsletter.
  • Dr. Wheeler will ask Dr. Garvey for additional resources from the Iowa Dept. of PH.
  • Review the IVMA website Wellness Resource page.  Update the page with a statement or introduction of the Wellness Committee’s purpose.
    • Dr. McGuire would like have a flow chart or system in place to help committee members (and IVMA members) be prepared to guide someone who asks for help. 
      • It was discussed that it is helpful for persons seeking help, to have a contact from this chart who has dealt with the same issue(s) that they are currently going through.
Abby Smith gave an update on the upcoming March 1st CVM/IVMA Wellness Program.  The committee will help get the word out to IVMA members through the following avenues:
  • IVMA Update & Communique`
  • Feature slider on the IVMA website
  • Ask Tracy Raef to place a slide on the CVM monitors
  • Promote on the IVMA social media channels
  • Dr. Meythaler-Mullins provide bulletin to GDVMA members
  • The event will be added to the IVMA Calendar of Events
  • Fliers will be placed on the lunch tables during the IVMA Winter Conference
  • Create a slide for the Winter Conference monitors
  • Look at sending a mass fax out to clinics.
The group discussed ideas on a new Wellness Brochure for IVMA members.  The previous CIVIC brochure was reviewed as a guide to what they have done in the past. The goal is to have a new brochure ready for distribution at the IVMA Annual Meeting in September.
  • Suggestions included:
    • Quotes from IVMA members
    • Photos of IVMA members on the brochure
    • Statistics
    • Statement about confidentiality
    • Let members know these are common issues and how to identify them in themselves or others in the profession
The committee was provided with an overview of the speakers and topics from previous presentations on wellness and substance abuse at IVMA meetings. 

The floor was opened up for other topics to discuss.
  • Dr. Wheeler brought attention to current legislation regarding support/service animals in Iowa. Definitions were handed out from the ADA website for reference.  He will also email the committee members the bills currently in the Iowa legislation to review.
The meeting adjourned at 10:30am.
Dr. Harlyn McGuire - Co-Chair
Perry Animal Clinic
14580 J Avenue
Perry, IA  50220
Office: 515-465-5626

Dr. Michael Anderson
Dr. Brenda Bright
Dr. Tara Miller
Dr. Christine Mondak
Dr. Diane Noll
Cody Sacquitne
Abbey Smith