Not An Original, But An Opportunity

For most people reading this, you are probably aware of the tragic news of Dr. Sophia Yin’s death. This is truly a tragic loss for our profession on multiple levels. While many others who knew her better have written powerful tributes, I could not help but document how this event has affected me.

How to greet a dog- Sophia Yin
How to greet a dog- Sophia Yin

As a 4th year vet student, I still vividly remember all of my classmates and I scrambling to get our hands on a Nerdbook prior to clinics. The Nerdbook is one key in surviving 4th year. It condenses all the small animal information you spent learning for 3 years into a thick pocket size reference. It is indispensable! Dr. Sophia Yin created that book as a student to help future students.

In my mind she was a veterinary celebrity and role model. She demanded the profession fulfill her dreams and she fulfilled the profession’s needs for so many veterinarians and students.

I got the chance to be introduced to Sophia last year at NAVC through my mentor Dr. Carol McConnell. While she was very quiet, I thanked her for all she has done and shared with her my career direction. She thanked me for supporting the cause of practical professional education for veterinarians. She was in a hurry to attend another event, but took the time to listen to my story. I was so enamored I started skipping down the hallway and running up to my friends, saying “I met Dr. Yin I cannot believe it.”

This summer at AVMA I missed her behavior lectures and promised that the next convention that would be my focus. Sadly, I will never have that opportunity.

Suicide in veterinary medicine is far too common. How could we let a beloved, talented, giving colleague and person travel so far down? Why weren’t the resources there to help her or to teach her close friends how to help or intervene. I read one tribute that said so not ask why, just honor her. I disagree and I chose to honor and ask why. A loss this great must be prevented.

Please watch these videos on suicide and compassion fatigue. But, don’t just watch and take notes…take action for yourself or someone else. That would be the real tribute to Dr. Yin.


One thought on “Not An Original, But An Opportunity”

  1. Well said. I think its especially important to help each other know that when we feel anxious or depressed, that we’re not alone, that a lot of people in this profession deal with this, and it doesn’t make us a “bad vet” and it’s not necessarily a signal that we’re in the wrong profession.

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