VMAE and SAWA Engage in Collaboration Summit

The SAWA | VMAE Collaboration Summit was convened on March 19-20, 2018 in Tempe, AZ. With 31 individuals in attendance — including board members from both organizations, key staff from both organizations, an expert facilitator, and Dr. Roger Haston and Dr. David Haworth of PetSMart Charities, the primary funder of the Summit — we enjoyed rich dialog and sharing of expertise, experiences, and insights. The agenda was structured to move from¬† getting acquainted and setting ground rules (namely, focusing on the opportunities possible through collaborative effort) to presentations (by Drs. Haworth and Haston) about the changing landscape of animal welfare and veterinary medicine, to identifying success stories of collaboration, to defining keys to success and exploring promising ideas, to identifying goals for improving the relationship between SAWA and VMAE as well as between state veterinary medical association executives and local animal welfare organization executives.

The group identified 15 statements of commonly held goals and one overarching goal of collaborative effort — to enhance the health and quality of life of companion animals through improved access to medical care. SAWA and VMAE have subsequently appointed members to serve on a Joint Action Team (thank you Deloris Green Gaines, Candace Joy, and Dan Tjornehoj!), which is responsible for preparing the summary report from the Summit, creating a white paper that can be circulated in both the veterinary and animal welfare communities, leading joint educational efforts, and developing an action plan around additional strategic opportunities that were identified during the Summit. The positive tone of dialog, the embrace of opportunity, the articulation of common goals, and the formation of a joint team to carry the effort forward certainly met our anticipated outcomes for the Summit.

Ralph Johnson, CEO | VMAE