“A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
This quote from Margaret Mead embodies the life of Heather Kvitko-White from childhood to adulthood. From big adventures to even bigger dreams, her idyllic nature paved the path throughout her own accomplishments and experiences into a focused view of an industry that is practically begging for change.
Heather grew up in Columbus, Ohio, in an adventurous and entrepreneurial family. Her Dad was a professor at the Ohio State University’s dental school, and an entrepreneur who is still a practicing dentist today. Her Mom was a stay at home mom who supported the family through time, devotion, and encouragement. When her Dad had time off, they traveled all across the east coast of the United States in an RV. It was this sense of adventure that brought out her creative and free spirited side from an early age. She was well known for her love of animals, and was insistent from the age of five that she would be a veterinarian one day. And while many children profess this in youth, most bow out as soon as they learn that being a vet sometimes requires the unthinkable reality of putting an animal down.
Heather remained true to her passion, and attended college and grad school to become a Veterinarian, then an Internal Medicine Specialist. After residency, she was faced with a decision of whether to stay in academia and become a professor or go into private practice. Deciding to go into private practice was a defining moment because it provided the real world experience and foundation that she is known for today. Her experience for the next seven years as a practicing veterinarian and board certified specialist spanned both private and corporate hospitals. At times, as the only specialist in the practice, she didn’t have access to the fancy toys and equipment. This is when she learned to use creative, cost-effective, and common sense methods to help her patients, especially those whose families didn’t have the money for the care their pets needed.
As a result of these experiences and some of her early consulting work, she faced a harsh reality that she had not expected.
She quickly learned that veterinary schools struggle to train ‘practice ready’ veterinarians. Additionally, veterinary medicine as a whole is a cost negative career, and with the financial stress comes aggressive competition and emotional stress. Having discovered that herself, she left private practice after only seven years and began her bold journey to educate the industry about the benefits of pragmatic medicine.
This focus, and her outspoken efforts for change, is how she became known as
“The Pragmatic Professor”.
Today, Heather is an industry activist and national speaker who promotes a creative and common sense approach to caring for animals without sacrificing quality. She teaches a pragmatic approach that helps fellow veterinarians run a profitable business while keeping their sanity. She also mentors veterinary students in an effort to better prepare them for real world practice, and develops and delivers content for continuing education at all industry levels.
When Heather isn’t influencing change and promoting new ways of thinking in her industry, she’s spending time with her husband, Corey, and their two daughters, Evelyn and Avery. They enjoy traveling and exploring almost any destination together. Her hope is that her daughters will see that thoughtfulness does indeed affect lasting change, and that it will empower them to one day carry a torch for their own adventures and passions.
Dr. Kvitko-White is a speaker on the topic of pragmatic medicine for the health of animals and the industry as a whole.