CLEVELAND—Almost half of women associates surveyed cite an interest in practice ownership/partnership despite speculative fear that
the next generation will avoid the management headaches.
The findings were part of an exclusive DVM Newsmagazine survey that was mailed to 2,500 veterinarians and posted 844 useable responses. The survey achieved a 34-percent response
rate. (See "Practice characteristics", p. 35.)
The results come in the wake of projections by the American Veterinary Medical Association-sponsored KPMG mega study that
projected 2004 as the landmark year that women take the majority in veterinary medicine. The trend itself poses some significant
professional issues. While most women are opting for small animal practice, the demographic changes have placed significant
pressure on a profession that has its direct roots in agriculture. As a result, organized food animal groups are funding studies
to determine the long-term impact as reported in DVM Newsmagazine
Table 2 Plans 3-5 years from now?
In small animal medicine, the anecdotal fear that women will not pick up the torch for small animal practice ownership has
been a cry echoing among practice owners for more than a decade.
The DVM Newsmagazine survey sought to answer this question as well as gauge the professional and personal wants of men and women when it comes
to balancing the question of practice ownership, work-life balance, compensation and volunteerism in organized veterinary
Table 3 importance of understanding business
According to the survey, about one-quarter of the respondents cited a need to either own the practice or become a partner
in the existing practice when asked about their career plans in the next three to five years.
When the data were analyzed by responding associate veterinarians, some interesting differences emerge in the ownership category
(Table 1, p. 1). Of those responding female associates (171), 21 percent say they would like to own their own practice, while
another 30 percent would like to move into partnership positions. Of the male associates responding to the survey (69), 23
percent would like to become owners, and 44 percent have partnership aspirations.
Table 4 Importance of understanding business for female Associates
Dr. Marsha Heinke of Marsha L. Heinke, CPA of Grafton, Ohio, says: "I don't know that there has been factual information one
way or another. Historically, all you have been able to do is point to anecdotal evidence or in 'my humble opinion' commentary.
It appears women are very interested in owning practices, but my impression is they have a different style for doing it, and
they have a different timeline for accomplishing it."
Heinke says the generation of veterinarians from the mid-70s started the pendulum swinging toward more women in veterinary