Dr. Lydia Gray Installed as President of the Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association

What a whirlwind weekend! It all started Thursday with an ISVMA board meeting followed by dinner at Jim’s Steakhouse in Peoria, IL. Imagine my surprise when the waitress read off our three choices for entrees: ribeye steak, orange roughy, or Chicken a la Lydia!

Then it was Friday, and time for the Equine Neurology Wet Lab at a local mixed practice clinic. A “wet lab” is a hands-on teaching experience where veterinarians work in small groups with real patients, receiving one-on-one instruction by the facilitator to improve their clinical skills. We were thrilled to be able to bring in world-renowned Dr. Stephen Reed as the instructor.

I arrived back to the convention center just in time for the Welcome Address, Keynote Speaker, a few awards, and an opening reception in the Exhibit Hall. My favorite exhibit this year was Chesire Partners, who brought a remote control bird on a tricycle and startled attendees!

Illinois puts on an incredible state veterinary convention, so in addition to sitting in on a few of Dr. Reed’s equine neurology talks (herpesvirus, EPM, Wobblers), I also went to presentations on supplements in the Complementary and Alternative Medicine track and communication in the Business Practices track. But that still left a second Business Practices track, Exotics, three Small Animal tracks, three small animal wetlabs and a Vet Tech program. There’s just no way to get to them all!

For me, though, the highlight of Saturday (and in fact, the whole convention) was the ISVMA Annual Meeting, where the current president, Dr. Shelly Rubin, gave an address and turned over leadership of the organization to the new president (me!) What made this year’s installment particularly poignant was that Oprah (yes, Oprah Winfrey) heard about her personal veterinarian’s retirement and sent a taped message about how much she appreciated Dr. Rubin over the years.

During my president’s address, I thanked my husband, who had kindly informed me beforehand that his new title is the “First Gentleman.” As only the second female president of the Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association in its 127-year history, I am actually the first married female president (and youngest, but we don’t have to discuss age).

So the next year will be a busy one for me–attending regional meetings as well as national meetings on behalf of ISVMA, presiding at board meetings, reviewing the budget of the Association, developing a strategic plan, naming volunteers to committees, and so on–but it will be a fun one. Don’t worry though, I’ll keep writing blog answers as long as you keep sending in those questions!

Lydia F. Gray, DVM, MA SmartPak Staff Veterinarian and Medical Director Dr. Lydia Gray has earned a Bachelor of Science in agriculture, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), and a Master of Arts focusing on interpersonal and organizational communication. After “retiring” from private practice, she put her experience and education to work as the American Association of Equine Practitioner’s first-ever Director of Owner Education. Dr. Gray continues to provide health and nutrition information to horse owners through her position at SmartPak, through publication in more than a dozen general and trade publications, and through presentations around the country. She is the very proud owner of a Trakehner named Newman that she actively competes with in dressage and combined driving. In addition to memberships in the USDF and USEF, Dr. Gray is also a member of the Illinois Dressage and Combined Training Association (IDCTA). She is a USDF “L” Program Graduate and is currently working on her Bronze Medal. Find Dr. Gray on Google+

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