College of VetMed cancels 2010 conference

PULLMAN – The WSU College of Veterinary Medicine announced it is cancelling its 2010 Annual Conference for Veterinarians and Veterinary Technicians slated for March.
Several factors figured in to the cost-cutting measure for the college.

“The economic downturn and its affect on veterinary practices and supporting industries have made it fiscally unwise to try and hold a large conference,” explained Steve Martinez, a veterinary surgeon and director of WSU veterinary college’s Office of Continuing Education.  “Revenues from attendance are important for offsetting our costs as well as committed corporate sponsorship for such meetings and right now veterinarians and corporations are both continuing to cut costs to save dollars.”

Martinez said corporate sponsorship, critical for many continuing education activities, continues to fall from last year and it is affecting professional meetings nationwide.  “For all the right reasons, corporate sponsors are tightening their belts and reducing costs as well.”

The college hopes to bring back its regional conference in the future as the economy improves and because Washington veterinarians need at least 30 hours of continuing education every two years to maintain their license.  The conference’s value compared to its costs will be assessed annually to determine the best time to bring it back.
“Certainly there are a number of commercial and non-profit venues for veterinary continuing education statewide in the meantime,” said Martinez.  “Also, so that we can continue to fulfill our continuing education commitment to the region’s veterinary profession, this college is preparing to conduct several short, day-long meetings in strategic locations around the state to help practicing veterinarians and technicians reduce travel and lodging costs as well as time away from their practice.”

The college typically has spent more than $160,000 to put on the conference with most of that amount recouped in corporate sponsorships, exhibitor fees, and registration revenues generated.

“Without committed corporate sponsorships and with projected low professional attendance, regrettably, this was the most responsible thing to do for our college and the university,” said Martinez.