Sometimes I’ll take the quick flight to Sacramento, so I can join our field veterinarian visiting the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis. After all, there’s nothing like remembering your friends from veterinary school, and seeing how things have/have not changed in a college town you once knew so well.
But I’d been to Davis a couple of times this fall already, so I left Dr. Kristen Britton to do her job without my reminiscences. And as part of that visit, she chose Meg Richards (2022) to be our featured student.
Some day, Meg will be wandering through the town of Davis, remembering her own time there!
Will you please share something unexpected you discovered on your path into veterinary medicine?
I was surprised to discover the lack of public knowledge surrounding many aspects of veterinary medicine. Frequently when people learn I’m in veterinary school, they are shocked to discover it is a four-year degree! Opinions on health care issues can be equally disparate between the public and the veterinary community, with grain-free diets as a prime example. Production medicine currently has the huge challenge of interfacing between public concern, veterinary recommendations, and producer interest regarding animal welfare.
I am excited that, as a veterinarian, I will have a lot of opportunities to engage in education. I aspire to make my clients — and the non-animal owners in my community — feel like they are a part of a team and have the knowledge to make informed decisions about the animals they interact with day to day.
What is your vision for the future of veterinary medicine and how does it influence the way you’re preparing?
It is an incredibly exciting time to be a veterinarian! My generation is embracing their role as “pet parents” and becoming increasingly involved in their pet’s medical care. This, along with the growing presence of pet insurance and advancements in medical and other pet-care related technology, is changing the way veterinarians are able to care for their patients. This will definitely present challenges, but I believe it will also open up opportunities to increase the baseline level of care many animals are receiving routinely.
I am preparing by training to become a better communicator and leader. I am involved in my local chapter of VBMA on the officer board, which allows me to develop business acumen and constantly challenges me to improve my leadership skills. I also volunteer at Mercer Clinic for the Pets of the Homeless, a free student-run once-a-month clinic in Sacramento, as a way to expand my client communication experience (and clinical skills) outside of my prior experience and our UC Davis’ client communication labs. I continually realize how much I have to learn, but it encourages me to keep looking for these kinds of experiences!
Can you tell us one thing about yourself that would surprise your veterinary colleagues?
I spent a summer working on a kiwi farm (the fruit) in France! I’m also an avid hiker and enjoy dance and yoga.
Thank you, Meg and Dr. Britton!