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BIG Ideas Forum Overview

CVMA holds BIG Ideas Forums twice a year—spring and fall. The conferences are vital to the health of CVMA because they bring the association’s members and leadership together to:

  • Explore issues relevant to veterinary medicine in Colorado
  • Identify desired outcomes
  • Develop recommendations for board consideration
  • Review progress on action plans, and build community

While a basic framework exists for the conferences, the structure is dynamic and open by design so that the Forum can chart a course it deems appropriate for current circumstances.

At Issue - Advancing Cat Health and Welfare: Issues, Solutions, Opportunities

Complex problems with polarized opinions are an essential reason why CVMA created the BIG Ideas Forum — and this edition, focusing on cat health and welfare, is no exception. The landscape seems different today, reflecting changes in perceptions of cats and experience gained through new strategies and collaborative approaches to cat health and welfare. Thanks to the participation of a stellar set of issue illuminators, we will hear insights from experts and share perspectives amongst colleagues about cat health and welfare as we probe questions such as:

  • Do Colorado communities have a community cat problem?
  • Do we have a common understanding of what a community cat is?
  • Why are animal welfare professionals so passionate that cats are THE animal welfare issue?
  • How are the special needs of cats addressed in the sheltering environment?
  • What do data tell us about trends in Colorado cat health and welfare?
  • What research exists to inform decision making about community cats?
  • What innovative solutions have been implemented in Colorado to advance cat welfare?
  • What have we learned about effective strategies in cat population control?
  • What models are emerging that create “win-win-win” outcomes for cats, adopters, and veterinarians?
  • Are we collectively making progress in changing the value perception of cats?

We will address these questions through presentations, panel discussion, and audience dialog, thanks to an all-star line-up of experts in cat health and welfare.

Our Issue Illuminators

We are pleased to welcome these experts in cat health and welfare to lead our exploration and discussion:

  • Jane Brunt, DVM, Executive Director, CATalyst Council
  • Julie Justman, Director, Pueblo Animal Services
  • Linda K. Lord, DVM, PhD, The Ohio State University
  • Katie Parker, Executive Director, Animal Assistance Foundation
  • Lisa Pedersen, CEO, Humane Society of Boulder Valley and President, Colorado Federation of Animal Welfare Agencies
  • Anna Murrin, Project Manager, Metro Denver C.A.T.
  • Bob Rohde, President and CEO, Dumb Friends League
  • Apryl Steele, DVM, Chief Operating Officer, Dumb Friends League
  • Sarah Swanty, Executive Director, Fort Collins Cat Rescue & Spay/Neuter Clinic
About BIG Ideas

Over the years, after each leadership conference, we’ve heard members say “Wow, I wish I’d been there! I didn’t know I could attend, I thought it was just for CVMA leaders and not for members.” Realizing that we needed to let members know they are welcome—and enthusiastically encouraged to participate—CVMA began brainstorming and strategizing how to better structure and present the leadership conferences. The result? The CVMA BIG Ideas Forum.

The biggest change—besides the new, more descriptive name—is the schedule. Rather than a two-day event that mandates an overnight stay, the Issues Forum, Commission meetings, and Board meeting (which all voting members are encouraged to attend) will all take place on Saturday, wrapping up around 6:00 PM to allow everyone to head home rather than spend the night. The Executive Committee meeting will still be held on Friday afternoon, and a reception that is open to all will follow. Anyone interested in attending is welcome to come and spend the night if they wish. CVMA secures a reduced rate at the hotel for attendees.

So you might be asking, “What’s it all about? Why should I attend?” Each conference has a dedicated focus where we tackle important subjects that span all practice types and look at emerging issues that affect the veterinary profession. We carefully select the discussion leaders, inviting the best and brightest to share their knowledge, insight, and expertise with our members. Another reason to participate is that you have direct access to CVMA leadership and issues, and can help guide CVMA, generating ideas that direct our continuing education offerings, shape our position on legislative and regulatory issues, and lead to task forces or work groups for specific issues we decide to pursue.

Event Schedule

Friday, March 31

9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Executive Committee Meeting
2:00 – 4:00 PM
Power of Ten Meeting
4:00 – 5:00 PM
Chapter Communications Boot Camp (open to CVMA Chapter Representatives and other chapter leaders)
5:30 – 6:30 PM
Welcome Reception

Saturday, April 1

7:00 – 8:00 AM
Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:00 – 8:15 AM
Issue Forum – Welcome and Introductions
8:15 – 8:45 AM
The Challenges and Opportunities With Cats in Our Communities
8:45 – 9:35 AM
Research Findings on Public Attitudes Toward and Perceptions of Community Cats
9:35 – 9:45 AM
9:45 – 11:00 AM
Pioneering Solutions in Colorado Cat Welfare – with Panel Discussion
11:00 – 11:50 AM
Connecting Cats to Care
11:50 AM – 12:15  PM
Q&A with the Presenters
12:15 – 1:30  PM
Lunch and Board Liaison Updates
1:45 – 3:15  PM
Commission Meetings
3:30 – 5:30  PM
Board of Directors Meeting
Location & Lodging

Cheyenne Mountain Resort
3225 Broadmoor Valley Road
Colorado Springs, CO 80906
(719) 538-4000

CVMA group rates start at $109 per night plus tax and an $8.00 nightly resort fee. King-bedded rooms available upon request and based on hotel availability. CVMA rate available until March 9, 2017 or until sold out.

Resort Fee waived for CVMA attendees on March 30, March 31, and April 1. Resort fee includes wireless in-room internet access, newspaper, in-room coffee and tea, fitness center access, and parking.

Rates are available until March 9, 2017 or until sold out.

Reserve Your Room

Come early to BIG Ideas or stay late – bring your family and take time to restore, rejuvenate and have fun with any of the following activities at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort:

  • Golf reserve a tee-time and surround yourself with majestic mountain views at the 18-hole Pete Dye designed golf course.
  • Spa – escape, unwind, and renew with a massage or facial at the full service Alluvia Spa and Wellness Retreat.
  • Swimming and tennis can be enjoyed all year long at the indoor/outdoor Aquatics Center and 17 tennis courts, including five indoor and two outdoor clay courts.
  • Enjoy yoga, spin and other fitness classes in 9,000 square foot Fitness Center.
  • Gourmet S’mores Bar on Friday and Saturday evenings from 6:30-9:30pm on the Mountain View Terrace.
  • Complimentary Movies on Saturday from 2 – 10pm in the Amphitheater Room.
  • Zoo Breakfast – bring the family for breakfast on Saturday morning in the Mountain View Terrace and visit with your favorite animals from the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo afterwards! Free to interact with the animals, but there is a charge for breakfast.

And be sure to save time to enjoy any of these local area activities, all within about a 20 minute drive of the resort:

CE Credits

The Colorado State Board of Veterinary Medicine typically approves three continuing education credits for each BIG Ideas Forum. In order to earn the CE credits, veterinarians must participate in each of the presentations and activities on Saturday. As a service to our members, CVMA updates and maintains the continuing education credits for all CVMA programs. CVMA will distribute a sign-in sheet at each meeting to help us maintain an attendees CE list for each Forum. This information can be accessed at any time. Please call CVMA at 303.318.0447 if you have any questions.


 Register by March 20. Rates increase after this date.
Final day to register is March 24. Registrations after this day will be accepted on a space-available basis.

Register Online


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Send a Student!

Cultivate the next generation of veterinarians!

As you register for BIG Ideas Forum, please consider sponsoring one or more Colorado State University veterinary students to participate. You can designate your donation to be used to send a specific student, such as the person you mentor or another promising veterinary student.

Students benefit through student-to-professional learning opportunities during Issues sessions, social event networking with colleagues and veteran professionals, and most importantly – developing leadership skills by observing their state and national role models in action!

Your gift doesn’t just send a student to a CVMA leadership program – it builds the future of veterinary medicine.

YES!  I want to be a sponsor and Send a Student to BIG Ideas Forum!


Contact Kristin Payne, Director of Learning at 303.539.7264 or email


Or call the CVMA offices at 303.318.0447