Stephanie Onken

Stephanie Onken

The sounds of bus breaks squeaking and children laughing as they get off the school bus mean only one thing – it’s September! With September comes an assortment of holidays and observations you can make mention of on your veterinary clinic’s social media platforms.

Below are additional suggested social media posts for veterinary clinics this month. To use the posts on your page, copy and paste the text into your post. To save the image, first click it, then right-click on the enlarged image and select “Save As”.

On Wednesday, August 14, Veterinary Hospitals Association and Dalco, Enterprises, hosted "Oh No, OSHA is Here: What You Need to Know in the Veterinary Industry," led by Peter Kuzj, Industrial Hygienist and Workplace Safety Consultation for the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry.

In this presentation, attendees reviewed common hazards in the veterinary industry and learned about what OSHA Enforcement does. Attendees also learned how to prepare for an audit and what an OSHA Consultation does.

Click to download the presentation and applicable handouts.

Please note: The information shared during this event is applicable to veterinary practices in Minnesota. If you have questions, please contact your local OSHA offices.

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If you are outside the state of Minnesota, please confirm with your local state licensing board to clarify if they accept Minnesota CE for your certification needs. We are not responsible for credits not accepted by state licensing boards.

If you have questions, please email Stephanie Onken at

August 13, 2019

Thank You

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erin berthelsenName: Erin Berthelsen

How long have you been with VHA? Since 2019

Tell us about yourself: I’m from Grand Forks, ND and graduated from the University of North Dakota with a Bachelors of Accountancy. I worked in public accounting for three years preparing small business tax returns but decided to pursue my passion and returned to school where I graduated from North Dakota State University with a Bachelors of Science in Veterinary Technology. I worked as a CVT and the office manager of a four-doctor practice in Fargo, ND, before moving to Ithaca, NY, for my husband to attend graduate school. I became the first Clinical Trials Coordinator at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine where I participated in several research projects across the college, including being a co-author on the first published research paper for the use of cannabidiol in dogs with osteoarthritis.

After moving to Minnesota for my husband’s job, I completed my 15th tax season before starting at VHA. Our house includes a Maltese-mix named Squiggy and his therapy cat, Tanooki.

What's one interesting fact about you that very few know? I worked at the Magic Kingdom in Disney World for a college internship where I was a “merchandise hostess” and sold “tangible memories.”

If you could have one super power, what would it be and why? To freeze time à la Zach Morris in Saved by the Bell. I could get so much done that way!

What's one thing you like about working at VHA? It’s such a great opportunity to be able to provide financial services to various clinics across the Midwest and beyond.


mn board of veterinary medicine sealOn June 14, 2019, the following communication from the Board of Veterinary Medicine was sent via email to all veterinarians with an active license. To download the official PDF from the Minnesota Board of Veterinary Medicine, please click here.

There are 4 important sections of new law which go into effect on July 1, 2019 that practicing veterinarians need to be aware of.

While August is a slow month for national holidays, there is still much to be celebrated and discussed throughout the month. For a full list of holidays and observations throughout the year, download our free Social Media Marketing Calendar for Veterinary Clinics. Don’t forget about our free Beat the Heat download, too!

Below are additional suggested social media posts for veterinary clinics this month. To use the posts on your page, copy and paste the text into your post. To save the image, first click it, then right click on the enlarged image and select “Save As”.

1200px LifelinelogoAs a busy veterinary professional focused on the wellbeing of your patients and clients, your health and wellbeing may be put on the backburner. We've compiled a list of helpful resources for you, your colleagues, friends, family, and clients in the event you're feeling burnt out, overwhelmed, and at a loss.

If you are having thoughts of suicide, text 741-741 to connect with a trained crisis counselor right away or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

AVMA Resources

AVMA Wellbeing and Peer Assistance

Health and wellbeing is an essential component to thriving individuals and practices. It's critical that we take steps to care for our own emotional and mental health. Get started with the AVMA's self-assessment tool, and then use the following resources to begin nurturing your emotional wellbeing.

AVMA Wellbeing Gatekeeper Training for Veterinarians

Gatekeeper training teaches people without professional mental health backgrounds to recognize the signs that someone may be considering suicide, establish a dialogue, and guide the person to seek professional help. It is not a substitute for professional assistance, but it can be a critical tool to save lives – and it's something that any veterinary professional can learn to do.

AVMA Wellbeing Assessment

The Professional Quality of Life (ProQOL) assessment is a widely validated, self-administered assessment tool that measures the negative and positive effects of helping others who are experiencing suffering and trauma. It can be used as a guide to assess your balance of positive and negative personal and work-related experiences. The tool is designed to provide introspection about oneself and one’s environment, and can become a starting point for change. Please note that the assessment is not a diagnostic test, and therefore no official diagnosis can be determined based on the results.

AVMA Work & Compassion Fatigue

Compassion fatigue and burnout are similar but not interchangeable. Compassion fatigue – also known as "vicarious trauma," "secondary traumatic stress” or “secondary victimization” – is the result of a medical caregiver’s unique relationship with a patient, through which empathy allows the caregiver to “take on the burden” of the ill or dying patient. Veterinarians are very much at risk for compassion fatigue.

AVMA Get Help Resources

Knowing when to reach out for help – and doing it – might be the most important part of your wellbeing plan. No one can do everything alone, and this is especially true where mental health is involved. As medical professionals ourselves, we know the importance of both preventive care and treating illness. It’s important to remember that this applies to our own mental wellbeing as well as physical health.

State Resources

TXT4life (Minnesota)
Text "Life" to 61222 to be connected to trained, compassionate counselors 24/7/365.

Minnesota Mental Health Crisis Response Phone Numbers (By County)

Wisconsin Crisis Response Phone Numbers (By County)

Minnesota Health Professionals Services Program

Minnesota's Health Professionals Services Program protects the public by providing monitoring services to regulated health care professionals whose illnesses may impact their ability to practice safely. The goals of HPSP are to promote early intervention, diagnosis and treatment for health professionals with illnesses, and to provide monitoring services as an alternative to Board discipline.


Suicide Prevention Lifeline Online Chat
24/7 Phone: 1-800-273-8255

We can all help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
24/7 Phone: 1-800-662-4357

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s helpline offers information in English and Spanish to people facing addiction, substance abuse problems and mental health concerns. Callers from the United States and U.S. territories can get free help finding nearby physicians and treatment centers specializing in addiction and mental health disorders.

Alcohlic Anonymous General Service Office
24/7 Phone: 1-800-622-2255

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence and its network of affiliate organizations provide assistance to people struggling with substance use disorders, such as alcoholism and opioid addiction. NCADD can help you assess your situation and provide information on treatment options. The Hope Line can connect you with a nearby treatment center and other helpful resources in your community.

Alcohlic Anonymous General Service Office
Phone: 1-212-870-3400

Alcoholics Anonymous is a worldwide fellowship of men and women who have struggled with alcoholism. People in recovery attend AA meetings to receive nonprofessional support from peers who understand their personal struggles with alcohol and maintaining sobriety. The organization hosts thousands of meetings for anyone who wants to work on their problems with alcohol. To find a meeting near you, call the Alcoholics Anonymous General Service Office or visit the AA website.

National Alliance on Mental Illness HelpLine
Phone: 1-800-950-6264 (Monday - Friday: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM EST)

The National Alliance on Mental Illness HelpLine offers free and confidential assistance to people with mental health disorders, their family members and their caregivers. The advocacy group provides information about mental health conditions and refers callers to nearby treatment and support services.

LGBT National Hotline
Phone: 1-888-843-4564 (Monday - Friday: 4:00 PM - 12:00 AM EST; Saturday: 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM EST)

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender National Hotline offers one-on-one support, information and local resources to members of the LGBTQ+ community. The free and confidential hotline helps callers of all ages with mental health problems, coming-out concerns, relationship problems, bullying and more. You can also call to find LGBT-friendly support groups, religious organizations and sports leagues.

Al-Anon Family Groups
24/7 Phone: 1-888-425-2666

Al-Anon Family Groups offers a supportive community for teens and adults affected by another person’s alcoholism. People attend Al-Anon and Alateen meetings to share support, coping strategies and stories of hope with others who are suffering because of a friend or family member’s addiction. Call the Al-Anon hotline to find meetings in your area.

Nar-Anon Family Groups
Phone: 1-800-477-6291 (Monday - Thursday: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM PST; Friday: 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM PST)

Nar-Anon Family Groups is a fellowship for people affected by a loved one’s drug addiction. Nar-Anon hosts weekly meetings where members discuss the challenges of addiction and share support. Members learn the Twelve Steps of Nar-Anon, which can help them cope with personal problems related to a friend or family member’s addiction. Call the Nar-Anon hotline to locate meetings in your community.

Mental Illness

Depression & Addiction

Depression is more than feeling sad or stressed. It’s a continuing condition that can interrupt regular activity. If untreated, depression can become more severe and develop into a serious illness. It can affect performance at work or school and interfere with personal relationships. In the worst situations, depression can lead to suicide.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Established in 1987, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is a voluntary health organization that gives those affected by suicide a nationwide community empowered by research, education and advocacy to take action against this leading cause of death.

Drug Abuse Resources

Prescription Drug Abuse

Prescription drugs have soared in popularity in the past two decades and are now the most abused substances in the world behind alcohol and marijuana. Access to prescription drugs is plentiful in the United States, and the rate of prescription drug addiction has reached epidemic levels.

Signs & Symptoms of Drug Abuse

Signs of substance abuse include smelling like alcohol or other drugs, getting in trouble, blacking out. Changes in behavior and appearance are also common. People who use drugs tend to do things they wouldn’t normally do while sober.

For some, there’s nothing better than boating, camping, and spending time outside when the weather is beautiful. For pets, that can be a recipe for disaster. Remind pet owners of the dangers of hot weather for their pets by checking out this helpful free “Beat the Heat” download for veterinary clinics.

beat the heat coverThe first day of summer is Friday, June 21, 2019, but that hasn't stopped temperatures from reaching the high 80°'s in the Midwest, and even higher in other parts of the United States.

relief dvm cvt

Are you a relief DVM or CVT interested in reaching a broader audience with your services? Fill the form below to place your information on our Relief DVM and CVT page for free!

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