On Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020, Dr. Heather Loenser, AAHA's Senior Veterinary Officer, joined GeniusVets Co-Founder, David Hall, for a wide-ranging discussion that was both well attended and well received. For anyone who missed it or for those who'd like to watch it again, the replay is now available here:
Dr. Loenser is a self-described extrovert, which is rare for a veterinarian. After she graduated from Iowa State University in 2003, she spent 10 years in emergency medicine. Since joining AAHA in 2015, she's been serving her colleagues in the profession through creating AAHA's guidelines and taking on the role of MC of AAHA’s big annual Connexity conference. Dr. Loenser, thank you so much for joining us today.
Can you share a bit about your lightning in a bottle - your personal habits, your tips, tricks you use to keep yourself on track, to keep your energy up so you can push forward on all these amazing things you're doing for AAHA, for the whole profession?
I would say for a very long time, the lightning you would have caught in a bottle was adrenaline. And, that's what being an ER doctor is most of the time. And my adrenal glands probably started to slowly give out towards the end of my stint at 10 years, which is frankly like 100 years, in emergency medicine. And so, the lighting that's in the bottle now is more made of lightning bugs and less adrenaline.
I'm able to take time to take care of myself and my family, and the biggest thing I'm doing now is I'm running and I am not fast at all. I live in New Jersey which doesn't sound pretty because of what you see on TV and what the Newark Airport looks like when you fly over it. But I live in a very pretty place in New Jersey. And so I run every day with my dog Calvin, and we go pretty far. We easily do six or eight miles a day which I never thought I would do.
I started off listening to music on my runs because I thought that I needed the beat to keep me going, keep my face going. But I started switching over and I don't know what this means about me as a person, but I was multitasking to the point where I had music in one ear to keep up the beat, and then I had a book in the other ear.
So I was learning but also had like dance music going on at the same time. So, over the past couple of months, I have taken out the music one, and just have books and podcasts in my ear now. And so when I go for my runs every day, I am learning. I'm focusing a lot on books, authors, and resources that help me be a stronger and healthier person. She doesn't know this, but my very best friend is Brene Brown, and I wish I could meet her someday but I love all of her work and I listen to Brene all the time. But that's what Calvin and I do most days.
Brene Brown. What are some of the titles that you really like from her?
Well, she has a podcast right now. That is called Unlocking Us. And, she does a lot of very timely work on anti-racism, lots of awareness around sexism, transgender support, LGBTQ support, and all things that as a very white Canadian who grew up in Iowa, I didn't have a lot of diversity in my life and so I'm learning a lot about that. She's introducing it to me and then I'm seeking other resources as well. So, I really do feel stronger and better at the end of my runs.
When did you get into running? How long has it been?
It's probably been about three years. I ran in high school because our track team in Iowa didn't... That's the only thing you can do that didn't cut you from the team. And, I was not fast then and I'm not fast now but fell back into it as a way of coping with life. It's very, very soothing for me.
You've gone from the intense world of emergency medicine to the equally intense world of being on stage and guest appearances on national TV shows including Dr. Oz, the Today show, Fox, Martha Stewart, Meredith Vieira Show, Live with Kelly and Michael, NPR, CBS New York, The Couch, Rachael Ray, Hallmark, Shepard Smith, Bloomberg News. You've contributed to the New York Post and many others. Your career seems to have already traveled a few incredible paths. Can you tell us a bit about how that all played out and what caused you to take the turn and go the direction you're going now?
It sounds like it's a cop-out when people say this, but I think it's true for most of the people that say it. I was in the right place at the right time. I was In my kitchen with my baby boy Caleb, strapped to me in one of those little baby carriers, and I was flicking through Facebook posts and found a post looking for an emergency veterinarian who would be willing to be part of a reality TV show. And I worked at the time at a beautiful brand new ER hospital and I am, as you said in the intro, a true extrovert. I really do get energy from being around people and I really get energy from being onstage. I'm a theatre kid at heart.
I grew up in the theatre and I'd missed it. So I'm like, "Yeah. Let me try that." So to make a very long story short, through that post and through responding to a random post about, “Would you want to be an ER doc on a reality TV show?” I met my media trainer and this media trainer worked with Martha Stewart the whole time that Martha was on TV. And this woman, Barb, taught me everything I know about how to do television. So everything you just listed out was all because of her and learning with her. And, we did so much television together to promote veterinary medicine and the great care of pets. And, I could not have replicated it another time.
If I hadn't met Barb, if I hadn't responded to the Facebook post, if someone hadn't backed out of a show on emergency medicine or a segment on emergency medicine on a national show, Barb wouldn't have found a slot for me. I winged it and they thought I did a really good job and assumed I did TV all the time and kept asking me back and things just grew from there. And there's a very odd amount of credibility that you get when you go on television. It’s sort of like writing a book. As soon as you do that, you are kind of elevated from a wisdom standpoint, and I'm no wiser than I was initially. I just had a lot of those really neat opportunities that allowed me to learn a lot about the media that I wouldn't have learned otherwise.
A lot of people would just go, “I have my own show about me on TV.” But you didn't do that. You chose to go with AAHA. Why was that?
I did. I did. It was actually a very interesting fork in the road where opportunities were aligning so that I could have my own show. And I thought about what it would look like. And as an ER doc, one of the things that we're very good at doing is figuring out what could go wrong because so many of our cases that come in, we have to evaluate them really quickly to figure out if they're going to die on our shift. And sometimes they do. And if we don't come in with that perspective, we miss something. So, I immediately started looking at what could go wrong if I entered into the true television world. And there were two different scenarios that bubbled up to the top.
And the first one is I could get a show and that would be fun. But what if the way it was edited or the way the case turned out was really negative and put the profession in a bad light? And we see that happening with shows about veterinary medicine, where the people that have the platforms are taken out of context, or maybe they've made choices they wouldn't have normally made if the cameras weren't rolling. And it is detrimental not only for the individual person but for the profession.
So the more I thought about that I'm like, “Well, I don't know if I want to have that happen.” And then the other end was, “Well, it could go really well but it will end at some point. So how will I feel…” I remember how I felt when my plays were over in high school and college. It was devastating to have the show be done and you didn't have your group anymore. And I didn't know if I wanted to put myself through that. So, I had gained all this experience, and all this networking and all of this is goodwill. And the opportunity at AAHA popped up, and I was already thinking which direction I would go and I chose to go the AAHA route, and I don't regret it at all.
I've had to shift that previous mindset as I grow inside AAHA because figuring out how projects are going to die is not necessarily the most inspiring and creative way to go about one's life. Right? So, I did. I'm glad that I used it in that scenario. It definitely proved to be very helpful. And, I still do use it but I also am starting to imagine, "What if it went right? What if it went right? Who could we help? How can we influence others if we were brave and focused on things going right instead of wrong?” I definitely default to, is it going to die on my shift?” But I do try to work towards a more positive mindset.
Can you talk about what really drew you to AAHA?
Oh, it's the people. It was absolutely the people. I had the opportunity to be on the board of directors. It was one of those things that kind of like the Facebook post in the kitchen with the baby. One of my mentors called and said, "Hey, AAHA has openings at the board level." And I'm like, "Well I've never been on a board." But they were looking to add more. I'm going to say this word and then roll my eyes, but I add diversity to the board, because at the time there were starting to become a lot of women in leadership, but we could still have more of positive momentum in that way.
And so I was picked to be on the board of directors, and that is a volunteer position. And so many of our boards in veterinary medicine are done by very dedicated volunteers, and these people are just a special breed that want to give back to a profession that is so good to us. So, I met board members that changed my life, that mentored me and taught me what it was like to serve, and really did some interesting writing on different position statements and that kind of brought me further along, and there was an opportunity to join the staff, AAHA staff, which is not volunteer, and I was so eager and just honored to be able to do that.
And the people again are who keep me there. And initially, the people were the board and now the people that keep me there are definitely still the board because we have a wonderful board of directors. And then it's our members, right? We have over 4,000 hospitals that have chosen to go through a high accreditation and they're a very special breed of veterinary leaders. And, then it's my staff.
I work with incredibly talented and passionate designers, writers, marketers, and finance people, and people that work with our sponsors, and I just love working with them. It's just a really neat group of people. And there aren't very many veterinarians on staff at the actual AAHA headquarters. So I get pulled into a lot of really interesting veterinarians' perspectives on this and I really enjoy that part too.
Can you talk a bit about what AAHA is doing to really promote the importance of accreditation both to veterinary practices and to pet owners?
We have been working on that exact issue since our inception in 1933 because there's a very big difference just like you said, between the initiating the uninitiated. So, we are trying to, first of all, have our practices brag about themselves. And, I think part of what you like so much about veterinarians and how kind they are is they're also excruciatingly humble. And, it can be very difficult for them to want to put themselves in the spotlight or brag about what they've done.
And being accredited is something that's brag-worthy, but we're a little uncomfortable about talking about it. So, for our members we do have, we call it a publicity toolbox, and we have a whole bunch of resources on our member-facing side of our page that has resources to help them promote their accreditation.
So we’ve got the plaques that they have hung up, and the window clings that you've seen, but also we've tons of great information on social media posts, and tons of great images where people can put up on their website and in their social media feeds. And then also, we help them with press releases when they've gone through the accreditation. We have tokens there for them.
So first of all, we're trying to get veterinarians to brag about themselves.
And then second, we do try to do a lot of public-facing outreach. And that was part of what I did with television is I did try to incorporate AAHA accreditation within the television segments that I did. But it's really hard to say, AAHA accreditation and explain that in a very short period of time. You think about how long TV segments are, and they're about three minutes. So, it's very hard. And I tried my best but even with my amazing media trainer, it was really hard to get the message out and have it resonate through television. So, we do a lot of work in social media to try to increase the understanding not just the awareness of the brand. They see the letters and the logo, and the public is learning more and more and more what that logo means or what the logo is, but they aren't necessarily understanding what that brand is and what it means to go to a practice that's AAHA accredited.
What are the benefits that you would share with non-members to get their interest?
There are a ton of financial incentive incentives. The membership ultimately pays for itself. The fees associated with the evaluation pay for themselves in all the discounts that you get from our different products, conferences, and books. And, we have companies such as your own that are preferred providers, that have discounts associated with using their products and it all ends up paying off. So, using all of those resources means that you have this net-zero at the end.
You've used all of the benefits that you can for your membership, and you do come ahead from a financial standpoint. And, there's a certain group of people that really resonates with the financial benefits of being an accredited hospital. And, we do have data showing that accredited hospitals tend to be more profitable. That changes from year to year but in general, that's something that we've discovered to be true.
But the thing that... I'm more of a touchy-feely person so for people like me, what I'm really noticing and what our members really speak to, is going through that evaluation process. You can't do it on your own. So, one person cannot get the hospital accredited because, as you said, there are so many things you have to do.
Our hospital leaders are finding out that if they start delegating a little bit to their surgery tech, a little bit to those up and coming receptionists, let's give something to one of the kennel assistants to work on different projects, all of a sudden the accreditation is complete, and they have accidentally uncovered a whole bunch of leaders that they didn't know they had because you can lead wherever you are in the hospital. You don't have to have a certain title. Lead from where you are. Especially our younger team members don't necessarily feel comfortable with that, being brave with sort of self-identifying as a leader.
But once they've gone through a portion of the accreditation and they own… Having the surgery suite ready, for example, or having inventory lined up a certain way, or getting the medical records organized the way they should be. They do have a sense of pride. So from a touchy-feely standpoint, from a leadership standpoint, it really is a huge, amazing team-building opportunity to be able to identify these new leaders, and then come together and have accomplished this amazing goal together as a team.
In light of COVID, all the events are pivoting being re-imagined. What are your plans for AAHA’s big Connexity event this year and into the future?
That is such a good question. It really is because Connexity is a really interesting and unique experience. The in-person conferencing was just magical. I was heavily involved in the content gathering which is something I love to do. I enjoy gathering experts and key opinion leaders, and up-and-comers to share their wisdom—not just in the scientific realm of our world but also in leadership, management, finances, marketing, and I just loved doing that.
And the people that went—we call them guests, not attendees—our guests were just blown away by how it felt, how they felt taken care of, listened to, how they felt that the content really applied to them and was super, super applicable if they wanted to make their hospital a healthier, happier place to be. They were just blown away by it. And, I just left it just on a huge high, not just the usual extrovert.
I've been on a stage high but not one of like, “Wow, we have really helped our members just go to the next step when it comes to their own leadership.” So, this year the content is still absolutely incredible. I just got two calls today before our call together, and I'm just on fire with what they've been teaching.
Can you give us a Connexity sneak preview?
We've got three keynotes. Every day we have a different keynote. And our first keynote on day one is a gentleman named Johnny Cupcakes. I highly recommend googling him, Johnny Cupcakes. He does not sell cupcakes. I'll just say that. He does not sell cupcakes. And, he is going to be talking to us about how to build an incredibly memorable experience for your clients. And that's something… When I started talking to him about how the veterinary world has pivoted, we're talking about check-in and curbside service, and he was just… His mind was blown with all the different, really exciting ways we could make that into something that's really positive and really memorable.
I won't tell you what they all are, but there are a whole bunch of really neat stories of how your hospital has had to adjust. That’s something that's super special to pet owners, especially new pet owners. We had so many animals that were adopted in early spring 2020 that are going to continue to need tons and tons of veterinary care. So, that is day one. All of the other speakers are going to be tying into Johnny Cupcake’s theme of creating memorable experiences, not just for your clients, but also for your staff. So there'll be a lot of focus on training, mentoring, supporting your staff, and then really retaining clients through really unique customer service methods. So that's day one.
Day two, we have an incredible speaker. Her name is Heather Younger, and she's an expert on improving cultures in businesses. And, we have beaten the word culture to death in our organization, we were hyper-focused on it and to the point where some of our members were getting sick of it, but they're not… We shouldn't be done with it yet. We have much more work to do. She also happens to be a black professional, and we're really excited to hear about how she is going to tie in discussions on race that will really help us as colleagues in one of the widest medical professions, if not any profession, on how to be more empathetic, and compassionate, and creative when it comes to diversifying the way that we think of our staff and our clients.
And then the last day… and this is by who I just got off the phone with is, Michelle Poehler, and she is going to be talking about how to address your fears and become braver. And she's got a lot of great stories of how bravery has really changed her life, and she offers us tools to identify what our fears are and how we can work towards eliminating them. And on that day, that whole day, we'll be talking about prioritization, taking care of yourself, identifying how you can interact with clients—even those tricky ones that are draining, We’ll talk about how you can take care of them in a way that doesn't suck your soul dry. And then on all those days, we'll be having scientific CE as well. We'll be focusing on our AAHA canine life stage guidelines, with a huge focus on the age-old question recently anyway, of when to spay the large breed dog which is… You don't know how complicated that decision is, David. It's incredibly complicated right now.
Five years ago, 10 years ago, we would have said, "Get that off in six months." And we're not saying that anymore. So, we've broken down some of those recommendations as well. We also have anesthesia guidelines, discussions, and we're in Denver, that's where this would have been. And so, we do have a lot of cannabis discussions as well. So we've got some master classes on how to incorporate it into your practice, as well as some really good nerdy sessions on how the compound works.
Can you tell us what the experience is going to be like in terms of not just the platform, but the experience for attendees and the experience for vendors because we're not doing the face to face?
I love Zoom, love me a good Zoom call, right? And Zoom breakouts and all that. But we're not using Zoom. We're using a platform that is specifically designed for virtual conferences. So, we have an opening page that looks just like you're walking into a conference center with an information desk, and the different lecture hall setup, and the exhibit hall and we have a Zen zone, which is a wellness area.
And then also we have what we call AAHA Central, which is a place where you go to get all your questions answered about AAHA. And this time this year, we're actually opening up registration to non-members. We want to take this opportunity to introduce them to Connexity and to the benefits of accreditation, and we're excited to see how they'll be able to hopefully meet people virtually and network with them. We have something that we just love that we've started at the beginning, I don't think we'll ever get rid of this.
It's called the human library. And you can rent or check out a book which is actually an expert, and you can talk to them. It's free. And they can help answer questions that are kind of weighing on you. So we have a lot of our sponsors that will be acting as books to learn more about their products, and their services, and then we also have other experts as well. So, it's always heavily utilized and we just love it. It's a lot of fun.
We think it's a great service for everyone to be able to connect them that way. We'll also have… The past couple of years we've had connection groups which have been… The first year they were mandatory. I snuck that in. And that had mixed results because introverts only enjoy small group work all so much. The second year we had them be optional, and we had a lot of people bummed that they weren't mandatory.
And in those groups, there are people from different areas that they can come together and solve problems and connect with each other because we all know that the lectures are wonderful, the sessions are great, but the bulk of the learning is done outside of the lecture hall. And we want to do all we can to connect members with each other, and now, connect non-members with members so they can learn more about AAHA and how to move their practice to the next level.
What is the experience going to be like between the sponsors, the vendors, and attendees since it is such a critical opportunity for us that serve the industry to get in front of veterinary practice owners and managers?
I hear over and over again from our sponsors that this meeting with AAHA members is the highlight of the year because these are folks, again, that I've talked about have voluntarily chosen to go above and beyond. And so, they typically send decision-makers to these conferences because these decision-makers want to get better and better and connect cities for a more advanced audience.
I talked about the virtual hall with AAHA Central and the lecture halls, but there is a virtual exhibit hall that you can click on, and it brings you into the hall and you can actually go to virtual booths. And our sponsors will be manning or womaning people in the booths so that they can answer questions from our members.
So, it's not going to be exactly the same by any means but it's… We're not just sending people to the website of the company. We are making sure that they can interact with our sponsors so that they can learn about all the solutions that they can provide. So I'm really excited about it.
Can you tell us some of the ways AAHA’s been supporting its members throughout COVID?
March was crazy. Late March, early April, was nuts for everybody. And our role within AAHA, we were working so hard to A, make sure veterinary care remains essential. So we put out position statements and we're working with our partners like the AVMA to make sure that the decision-makers and the government understood that veterinary medicine was essential. And so, check, we got that.
But then we had to really ramp up all of our education around infection control. In 2018, the AAHA published infection control, prevention, and biosecurity guidelines. It's a very big mouthful for how to keep your staff and your patients safer from diseases that people can get and give to animals, or what animals can give to people, and animals can give to other animals. So, there's a lot of discussion in there about how to put on PPE appropriately. And I've got to say, there were probably a fair number of practices that didn't know what PPE even stood for. We knew what masks and gloves were, but the idea that there was this overarching term was something that I think a lot of people had to learn about.
So, AAHA spent a huge amount of resources from a staff perspective in diving into education and keeping people up to date on what was happening. I remember when the tiger tested positive, it was on a Sunday. And this was the first… One of the first animals they did. And I'm like, “Oh, my gosh. What's this going to do with pet cats.” So, we were constantly watching the FDA and the CDC and putting out as much information as possible. So the other thing we did that we’d never done before is we now have accreditation evaluations, which normally would require a person from AAHA to go into someone's practice.
We aren't sending people in person anymore. We're doing them virtually. And so with the use of webcams and smartphones, they are getting evaluations done which is phenomenal. We had to completely change how we're going to do our accreditations. We didn't want to push them off because we knew that next year was going to be nuts, and so we really wanted to try to get as many accreditations in if hospitals wanted to.
And I was surprised by the number of hospitals that even in a pandemic were like, “Yeah. Let's do this.” We postponed some of them but there were a bunch that were like, "Yeah. Let's do this. We know we're going to pass, we do a great job every day. Let's just do this." And then the other thing we did is our accreditation. Every July is when our memberships have to be renewed and we offered payment plans for the first time.
A lot of practices have taken us up on the payment plans, especially since initially we didn't know what the economic impacts were going to be. None of us would have guessed that everyone and their brother would have gone out to adopt COVID rescues. And, that has been good for the animals and it's good for the profession. So, it's a wonderful positive consequence.
What we didn't know is from a public health perspective, large animal medicine has a very strong tie to public health because of meat production, right? And even though people don't necessarily remember that there are large animal veterinarians there because they don't see them all the time, they're an incredibly important resource to our food supply. So we figured that that would be okay, and that would keep moving from a food supply safety standpoint, but we weren't sure what was going to happen with small animal medicine.
Is that essential or not? Our legislators did agree that it was and so we stayed the way we are. And AAHA worked on it, but we also… We had a ton of help from other organizations. So this was a true overall veterinary community coming together to do good for our whole profession. I'm very proud of everyone for that.
What types of things do you think are really contributing to challenges and staffing right now and what potential solutions do you think people should be considering or as an industry we should be moving towards?
Oh, my gosh. It's such a great question that can be a whole other conversation. But I'll summarize it with what I'm wondering is happening and without being political. That the stimulus that was given to people of $600 a week, I know was lifesaving and kept people in their homes and kept people fed period. If you are a lower wage worker though, which, unfortunately, a lot of our veterinary teams do fall in those lower wages, they have to be wondering whether or not they can stay home with their families protected and safe, and receiving support versus going out into the field and potentially risking getting infected themselves.
So I definitely understand why our people with the ER and the teams that are hourly workers, why they may be reluctant to go back. But not only the ones that are currently in the field, but we do have such a high turnover rate because it is a very stressful job. And so going to the pool of workers that we would have chosen to be kennel assistants, receptionist assistants, greeters, that type of group, we are not finding a lot of them right now.
So, I think we're like a lot of small businesses with lower-wage workers, it can sometimes be hard to entice people out of their homes right now. So I'm confident that there will be a rebound, but it's never been easy to find staff for veterinary hospitals because the difference between what people think it is, and what it actually is, and what they think it might pay, and what it actually pays is significant.
And people do not go into this profession to make money, but they do have to decide what the best use of their time is and I respect that. I do look forward to going back to normal, real normal, where we can have… When people can be able to move freely. But that's not looking like that's going to be the case for a while. So, we're asking practitioners to think outside the box even more, perhaps by adopting more telemedicine or telehealth, tele-advice, tele triage, different ways of keeping people connected to the practice without having to do the curbside or more face to face interactions.
And I think we're seeing more of an uptick on that. So necessity is the mother of invention, and I have a feeling that not having access to the staff that we want right now will definitely be challenging initially, but I know we'll be able to rise above it and innovate.
What's the message you have on the telehealth issue?
My dear practitioners, you're already doing telemedicine. You are giving people advice over the phone, you are helping them, you are triaging whether or not an animal should come in or not. Under the umbrella of telehealth, there are two buckets of areas that require a veterinary-client-patient relationship, VCPR, where you have to be able to diagnose and treat. That part is still pretty solid where there are some states where we can establish a VCPR virtually, but there are other states where you still can't.
And then there's this other group in telehealth, which we're already doing, and I think we could do such a better job in and this is the area of advice-giving, of triaging whether or not that limp is a serious limp or not whether that rash is a simple rash, whether or not that reverse sneeze is really a reverse sneeze or is it something more serious?
And there's a bunch of work we can already do in that tele-advice, tele-triage space that doesn't require VCPR. And, it's just the same as when your client calls you up on the phone and says, “Should I bring my pet in?” And a lot of the time the answer will be yes. But if there's some that they are, “No, you don't need to”, you have helped alleviate the pressure on your team, and you've also provided an excellent service to your clients.
So, you're actually already doing it. Just because you use the word “tele” doesn't necessarily mean it automatically means you're doing FaceTime with a dog and trying to evaluate gait and all that kind of thing. It can just be by communicating virtually and you're already doing it. You've been doing it ever since you got a phone, and so now it's just picking out what else you could add to what you're already doing to improve efficiency and decrease the burden on your staff and improve service to your clients.
Is AAHA working on putting out resources on telehealth?
Yes. We are actually working with our friends at the AVMA to do telehealth guidelines for small animal practice. So they are in the works right now. And we have an incredible taskforce of experts that are writing them and will be consolidating their wisdom. And we hope to get the guidelines out sooner rather than later so that we can really help our profession and we're very excited about it. So, stay tuned.
Before you go, I'd really like to play a little game. We play this game with every guest that comes on the show. It's for me and everybody watching to get to know you a little better. It's a game we like to play called “Would You Rather?” So I've got this book here, it has 3000 Would you Rather questions. What I'll do is I'm just going to flip randomly through the book, I'm going to pick a would you rather question, and all you have to do is be honest in telling us which of the options you would prefer. Would you rather find a kindred spirit or a soulmate?
Kindred spirit. Because for me that matches up with both genders, frankly, having really deep girl conversations and girlfriends. And a soulmate to me means my husband, and so I love him. He's wonderful. He is my soulmate but I've already got him so I think looking for more kindred spirits, my soul can always use more support. So, I would look for girlfriends there.
Would you rather be great at sports or trivia?
I'd rather be great at sports because I'm not. I am so not sporty. I run but not well or fast. But we have a whole bunch of athletes in my family … basketball actually. My brother-in-law coaches with the Chicago Bulls. He's incredible and I feel like there's so much that I don't appreciate about how cool that is because I'm so not sporty that I think being better at sports would help me with that. Because I never know if something's a big deal or not like, "Is that good or is it not good? Do you want penalties? Do you want to be traded? Do you want… Is having time on the bench a good thing? Are fouls good, and why are some fouls good and...I don’t know...So yeah, sports.
Would you rather get too little sleep or too little to eat daily?
Too little to eat. I need my sleep, man. After working overnights for 10 years, I understand the importance of sleep. So, I would rather have too little food than too little sleep.
Would you rather live among the clouds or beneath the ocean?
Beneath the ocean because I am a scuba diver. I got certified in Iowa of all places when I was in college. I know. We did the certification in a pool and then you have to get below 30 feet in order to get your card, your dive card. And so, I actually got my… Did my final dive certification in Florida but I did all my training in Iowa. And, there's nothing better than floating about 25 feet where you can still... You still have the light coming down, right, you still have all the colors, you've got the fish around, and you can just get your buoyancy right, and then just kind of float with the current. Not like this because I do get motion sick underground underwater, but just flow with the current and look at the fish.
Where have you gone diving then?
North Carolina. Yeah. North Carolina. Did wreck dives there. Those are really scary because I keep thinking I'm going to get stuck inside the ship. I did cavern diving in Mexico. That was terrifying because it was really cave diving and I'm not certified in cave diving, but the rules are a little looser there. But my favorite was in Jamaica. That's where my husband and I got married. And the day we got married, we peeled off all of our wedding garb and we went on a great dive. And it was just like that, just like I said, about 20 feet, the great current, you barely had to kick and just kind of pulled you through seagrass, and coral, and the water temperature was perfect. So, yeah. Jamaica is my favorite.
Before we sign off, is there anything for our viewers that you want to share? You really call attention to… How do people register for Connexity number one, and is there anything else you think people should be paying attention to and doing right now?
I would love people to visit aaha.org. So A-A-H-A.org and check out our guidelines because we've got lots of resources there that will help veterinary teams care for animals with diabetes, pain management issues, and dentistry is a huge area. Please check out our guidelines. I'm biased because I helped make them but they're great. And our Connexity conference, again, we're open to everybody now and I'm so glad...from the practice leader, the owner, to anyone in a leadership space, you'll really enjoy the conference. And we do have one-day passes, and we do have some really neat opportunities.
We have an Emergency Medicine Boot Camp on Wednesday. That's September 30th. And that is hosted by Vetgirl’s Garrett Pachinger, which I'm so excited about. And it’s not posted yet but it will be soon—on the same day there will be another workshop on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the profession, and we have an incredible lineup of leaders in diversity and lots of different organizations that represent veterinary professionals in minority groups. We’re really excited to hear and learn from them.
So if anything, check out even a day rate for that, and you can go to aaha.org/connexity and @ C-O-N-N-E-X- I-T- Y. Please, we'd love to have you join us. And for our AAHA accredited members, if you're not already on our Facebook page, please join there. We have almost 4,500 of you there and you guys are a great resource to each other, and that's open just to our members. So, please join us. And, I think that's it. Just stay safe, stay sane, stay kind, and take care of yourself and your teams.
Thank you so much, Dr. Loenser. Thank you everybody for tuning into webinar Wednesdays. Check your email tomorrow morning for a link to the replay, and we'll include links that you mentioned here, Dr. Loenser, and we'll also be sending out an invitation to the next Webinar Wednesday along with a lot of great information about the veterinary industry and how to best market your veterinary practice. My name is David Hall, it's been an honor to have you join us. Thanks so much.