As Avian & Exotics Education Manager for WVC, Teresa Lightfoot, DVM, DABVP feels that her role is to acquire the best speakers in their specialties – those who will deliver the topics of maximum interest to Conference attendees – and to offer informative instructional approaches that are enjoyable. She believes that constantly seeking what’s “new” is critical, whether that applies to a new subject of interest, an emerging yet well-received speaker, or a novel learning approach. Smiling, she says, “Believe me, new ideas are extracted from the Education Managers by the WVC Board and Staff almost before we conceive of them!” Brainstorming sessions are scheduled several times each year and are followed by meetings with the WVC Directors to discuss implementation.
According to Dr. Lightfoot, WVC is clear about the contribution it expects from an Education Manager and offers excellent support and encouragement to those who assume the responsibility. She notes, “With Avian & Exotics, I find regular reevaluation critical to determining which species are of the greatest concern in veterinary medicine.” The Conference has the potential for increased educational space and additional programming, which she hopes will enable expansion of the Avian & Exotics agenda (including more wildlife topics). More in-depth information is planned in the current core areas of small exotic mammals (including rabbits and ferrets), reptiles, and birds – and the number of hours devoted to zoo and wildlife topics will increase.
Dr. Lightfoot genuinely enjoys two presentation formats in particular and believes that attendees do as well. She is urging WVC to offer both more frequently in the future:
Since attending her first Western Veterinary Conference in 1981, Dr. Lightfoot has missed only three of the annual meetings. She has been a speaker or Hands-on Lab instructor at least 15 times in her 32-year association with WVC and was honored to serve on the Board of Directors from 2004 through 2008. “There are so many special aspects to WVC, and they all reflect back to the attitude and dedication of the Board and Staff,” she adds.
After receiving her DVM degree from the University of Missouri, Dr. Lightfoot completed an externship at the St. Louis Zoo and has been practicing in Florida since 1980. She has served as staff veterinarian for the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary on the Gulf Coast of Florida from 1987 to the present. A diplomate and past president of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners, she served on the Florida Board of Veterinary Medicine from 1995 to 1999 and was its chair from 1997 to 1999. Since 2011 she has been Director of BluePearl Science, the clinical trial division of BluePearl Veterinary Partners.
A frequent lecturer on avian and exotic medicine and surgery, both nationally and internationally, Dr. Lightfoot has authored more than 100 articles on avian and exotic species. In addition, she is author and editor of Clinical Avian Medicine (2006, Spix Publishing) and Exotic Pet Behavior (2006, Elsevier Publishing) as well as reviewer for the Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine.