Rarebreed Further Champions the Pursuit of Excellence in Patient and Practice Team Care by Naming Veterinary Leader, Dr. Heather Loenser, Chief Veterinary Officer
We are excited to welcome Heather Loenser, DVM, Rarebreed’s new chief veterinary officer! Dr. Loenser, formerly chief medical officer of the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), joined our community on September 27, 2021. She is a passionate champion of veterinary hospitals and strives to improve the health and well-being of patients and practice teams.
No question we asked could stump Dr. Loenser. Read on.
Innovation is synonymous with the Rarebreed Way. How has your experience in general practice, emergency medicine and teaching shaped you into the innovative veterinarian that you are today? And how will those experiences help you in your role as Rarebreed’s chief veterinary officer?
I’ve had the honor of working with and for some incredible veterinary teams in general practice, in emergency/specialty medicine and with AAHA. I realize that the success of practicing medicine is a “team sport” that depends on the collective wisdom of that team and their willingness to share that wisdom with each other. My experiences have made me a more curious person – humble and open to learning, knowing there are endless ways to solve problems and accomplish goals, and that everyone has something to offer that can benefit the group. Under the umbrella of innovation, I look forward to brainstorming and exploring with our talented business partners who are dedicated to using technology to improve the quality of life of our patients and the people who care for them. I’m not afraid to ask a lot of questions and to wonder – how can we do things better? What can we do differently to better serve our team, our clients, and our patients? And how can we effectively share our knowledge across our practice families? I’m open to all the possibilities.
How will you help Rarebreed practices advance the quality of medical care they provide?
Veterinarians and technicians are a very humble group. There are centers of excellence among the Rarebreed community, quietly and unassumingly excelling in dentistry, surgery, preventative care, early disease detection and so on. Part of my role is to identify these centers of excellence, highlight them, and make sure the rest of the Rarebreed family knows what their brilliant colleagues are doing and how they are doing it. And then, taking that excellence and figuring out how to scale it throughout the Rarebreed family of practices. My experience at AAHA has taught me the value of working in a systematic way before establishing standards, and I intend to do that at Rarebreed by seeking feedback from teams who are very proficient in what they are doing and those who want to improve.
What are you looking forward to in your role as chief veterinary officer?
I haven’t met a group of people this purpose driven in a long time. I’m looking forward to fulfilling Rarebreed’s purpose of reimagining the veterinary experience from every angle. There was a time when veterinary medicine was predominantly focused on the patient and client experience. I love the fact that reimagining the veterinary experience has shifted its focus to include the well-being and resiliency of the practice team. This holistic approach of caring for our team members as well as our clients and patients is crucial, and the lesson learned from the pandemic highlight that if we don’t focus on our teams, they will simply dissolve, and with devastating results. Supporting veterinary teams in becoming healthier, happier and more efficient providers of outstanding patient care has always been my reason for getting up in the morning. I am so excited that I have found my tribe in Rarebreed and am confident that our team will be able to do that here. The wisdom and expertise we need to elevate medical standards are already in place; I’m here to make sure our teams know how to tap into those resources throughout the Rarebreed family and ensure that we know how to implement them.
Lastly, fun is a core value at Rarebreed. Tell us some fun facts, please!
I’m Canadian-born, Iowa-raised and New Jersey-strong (which means I apologize a lot, work really hard, and talk really fast)! My Border Collie is obsessed with running with me so if I ever leave the house without him, I need to make a big show about how I’m NOT wearing my running shoes. I have a tiny flock of very geriatric chickens who come running from the forest when I call them – think awkward Snow White. I’ve been riding horses since I was in kindergarten and have managed NOT to buy one. And my main driver for when I scuba dive (which is not nearly as often as I’d like) is to not only find an octopus, but also befriend one.