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.
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.