Veterinary Emergency Preparedness in Colorado

Coalition Workshop 2024| Regional Business Continuity & Emergency Planning

Date: Tuesday, January 30, 2024 | 8:00a-12:30p

Location: Adams County Human Services Center | 11860 N. Pecos St. Westminster, CO 80234

Participate in Regional Planning & Best Practice Design

This workshop will provide those involved in veterinary care and leadership with an opportunity to learn about emergency preparedness and planning.  Participants will connect with regional stakeholders and emergency preparedness experts.


This workshop will facilitate discussion and learning in continuity planning tailored to veterinary practices with the aim of increasing operational and team resiliency and industry health.

Participants will share and collaborate on adaptable best practices that are applicable across practice sizes – from solo-doctor clinics to multi-doctor, multi-site clinic groups.

Registration is limited to 50 seats. 

Workshop objectives: 

Examine the need for emergency planning and preparedness in the veterinary field and share best practices.

Consider how strategies currently in place in the human-service healthcare sector can be translated and adapted to the veterinary medical field.

Discuss what veterinary teams can do to bolster their own continuity as well as opportunities to support in an emergency response.

Create connections and identify opportunities for enhancing regional capabilities in veterinary emergency preparation and response.

Strong relationships & connections are at the core of resilient communities.  This workshop is for you:

Licensed Veterinary Professionals & Clinic Leadership

Executive Leadership & Strategic Decision-makers across the Colorado veterinary industry

Veterinary Industry Leaders & Business Continuity Planners

Veterinary Emergency Preparedness, Response & Recovery Leadership

Emergency Preparedness, Response & Recovery Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)


Coffee & Networking | Standard Process

A huge thanks to our community partner Standard Process!

Standard Process supports the resilience of the veterinary community through nutrition and whole-food supplements.  A staunce supporter of practitioner and patient wellbeing, Standard Process is a proud member of the Coalition of Animal Supportive Businesses (CASB) in support of animal care in disaster on the Front Range of Colorado.


Welcome & About Medical Reserve Corps (MRCs)

Kristen MacDonnell |Rocky Mountain Medical Reserve Corps of Colorado (RMMRCCO)

Kristen MacDonnell serves as the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the Rocky Mountain Medical Reserve Corps of Colorado (RMMRCCO). As a Senior Product Manager at Spectrum Enterprise, Kristen is adept at analyzing market dynamics, streamlining processes, and developing go-to-market strategies to drive substantial revenue gains. With a proven track record of exceeding sales targets and fostering cross-functional collaboration, Kristen leverages her expertise to advance the mission and impact of the RMMRCCO in serving the community’s needs.

Kristen will provide attendees with an overview of Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) units in the United States and the history of the RMMRCCO in Colorado.  These opening remarks provide participants with a high-level overview of how MRCs function within the federal and state emergency response plan(s) to allow medical professionals to be effectively leveraged in emergencies and disasters.  Kristen outlines the role of MRCs in supporting federal, state, and local emergency managers and the MRC’s role in cultivating community engagement and preparedness.


Business Continuity in the Veterinary Industry

Russ Laughlin, BS, MA, MBA, CBCP, CISSP, PMP

Exercise & Training Coordinator | Front Range vMRC

2024 Chapter President | Association of Continuity Professionals – CO Rocky Mountain Chapter

Russ is a retired Information Technology, Business Continuity, and Crisis Management professional.  Over the last 50 years he has acquired wide experience in multicultural and geographically dispersed environments supporting hardware infrastructure, software development, compliance, operations, and data center administration.

Russ’s final role was in Business Continuity first at ADT Security and then Oracle. In these roles, he planned for and managed response to a wide variety of incidents including uncounted application outages, a myriad of data center outages, earthquakes, hurricanes, blizzards, wildfires, a war, and a pandemic.    

Russ Laughlin provides perspective on the importance of business continuity planning to enhance emergency preparedness in the veterinary industry.  Russ discusses taking a proactive stance when planning for large scale disruptions and the need for practicing disaster plans in table top or full-scale exercises.


Idea-sharing & Lessons-learned from the Human Healthcare Sector

North Central Region Healthcare Coalition Logo

Michelle Deland MA, CO-CEM, MEP | Executive Direcotor, NCR-HCC – Trailhead Institute

Chelsie Burdick, MA | Readiness & Response Coordinator, NCR-HCC – Trailhead Institute

Michelle Deland and Chelsie Burdick introduce the North Central Region Healthcare Coalition (NCR-HCC) and describe their roles in the operation of the NCR-HCC.  As subject matter experts on disaster planning and community engagement, the speakers share information on the role of healthcare coalitions within the human healthcare sector.

The speakers discuss the NCR-HCC Ancillary Healthcare Committee and lessons-learned while managing groups of healthcare professionals with a very diverse range of organizational sizes…similar to the wide variety of practice sizes and organizational structures within the veterinary industry.

9:20a – 10:00a

Veterinary Engagement in Disaster Preparedness, Response & Recovery

State of Colorado "C" logo with Evergreen tree and the CDA logo with a barn on red and blue circle

Dan Frazen | Agriculture Emergency Coordinator, CO Dept. of Agriculture

Anne L. Walton | Emergency Management Coordinator, Douglas County

Dean Berenbaum | Emergency Management Coordinator, Adams County

Dan Frazen outlines the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s (CDA) engagement plan to bring all veterinarians, operating across all levels of the veterinary industry, into disaster preparedness, response, and recovery.  The CDA frequently references the affected community’s “trusted veterinarian” in their planning for disaster response and recovery.  From their role in guiding animal emergency and contingency planing to their engagement in providing veterinary medical care in response to a disaster, licensed veterinary medical professionals provide essential services in Colorado’s disaster preparedness and response plans. 

Together Dan Frazen, Dean Barenbaun, and Ann Walton discuss the importance of animal emergency response coordination at a state-wide level within a response network. Together, the speakers discuss how the licensed veterinary professional community in Colorado can support the existing resources and infrastructure for animal care in disaster and identified gaps across the state.

Dan Frazen is the Agriculture Emergency Coordinator for the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA). He leads the emergency management and critical infrastructure protection programs for the eight (8) divisions of the CDA. Dan is also the primary for Emergency Support Function (ESF) – 11 Agriculture and Natural Resources for the State of Colorado, and makes contributions to the state’s integrated preparedness plan, hazard mitigation plan, and homeland security strategy.  Dan is a Colorado Certified Emergency Manager and a graduate of FEMA’s National Emergency Management Advanced Academy (NEMAA).

Anne Walton, Douglas County OEM Coordinator, has managed the Douglas County Animal Emergency Response for over 13 years.  She is the current Chair for the North Central Region Mass Care Committee, and participates in the NCR Animal Emergency Sub-committee.  Through her 16+ years at Douglas County, she has cultivated and maintained relationships with numerous governmental agencies, NGOs and VOADs that have successfully supported animal emergency response throughout numerous incidents.

Dean Berenbaum is an Emergency Management Coordinator for the Adams County Office of Emergency Management (OEM), specializing in plan development and logistics projects. His commitment to the people of Adams County and the field of Emergency Management has led him to earn the designation of Colorado Certified Emergency Manager.




 Existing Models for Veterinary Industry Disaster Preparedness

CU Anschutz Website

Jori Leszczynski DVM, DACLAM | Assistance Vice Chancellor for Animal Resources, OLAR Director, University Veterinarian

Garrey Martinez | Campus Director of Emergency Management, Anschutz Medical Campus


Dr. Jori Leszczynski and Director Garrey Martinez discuss existing models of veterinary and animal care emergency planning and preparedness.  The speakers will discuss how contingency planning and disaster preparedness is currently implemented in a large scale veterinary operational setting while concurrently advocating for animal wellbeing and humane medical oversight. 

Jori K. Leszczynski, DVM, DACLAM, is the assistant vice chancellor for animal resources, director of the office of laboratory animal resources and attending veterinarian at the University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus. She is also a professor of pathology in the School of Medicine. Dr. Leszczynski has been serving on the emergency operations team for CU Denver | Anschutz for 15 years and is the primary person in charge of disaster planning and response for the animal program at the University.

 As the Director of Emergency Management at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Garrey is responsible for the Campus Emergency Operations Plan, continuity of operations, leading the emergency operations center and campus emergency response team, community preparedness outreach, mass care, and crisis communications.  

Garrey Martinez earned his BS from the Metropolitan State University Denver in Criminal Justice and Political Science and MPA from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs with a focus on Homeland Security and Emergency Management.  As an Army veteran and Emergency Management leader who has responded to disasters such as hurricane Laura, the Cameron Peak fire, the COVID-19 pandemic, and hurricane Ian, he understands the complexities and importance of effective training strategies that influence response capabilities and enhance community resilience.


Veterinary Disaster Support on the Front Range – 2024 Mission Ready Packages (MRPs)

Casara Andre DVM, cVMA | Veterinary Medical Director Rocky Mountain MRC of CO, Branch Director Front Range vMRC

Russ Laughlin | Exercise & Training Coordinator Front Range vMRC, Chapter President Association of Continuity Professionals


The Front Range Veterinary Medical Reserve Corps (FRvMRC) supports veterinary disaster preparedness and response in the Front Range and Plains regions of Colorado.  The role of the FRvMRC is to connect county, state, and federal disaster response organizations with local Colorado veterinary community resources.

The speakers introduce the Coalition of Animal Supportive Businesses (CASB) in support of vMRC’s existing veterinary disaster services.

1. Veterinary input during planning for disaster response & recovery

2. A distributed network of cache sites to access veterinary medical equipment & supplies

3. A trained, coordinated force of licensed professional veterinary volunteers

4. Support of working animal teams during training & deployment

The veterinary medical industry is experiencing a mental health crisis that threatens the capacity and resiliency of the volunteer veterinary force on the Front Range.  The FRvMRC prioritizes psychological resiliency in training and pre / post deployment care of volunteers.  The speakers describe the unit’s psychological resiliency curriculum, embedded mental health support and referral plan. 

This lecture addresses the region’s current needs for maintaining a provisioned and resiliency veterinary volunteer force on the Front Range of Colorado. 


Building Region Continuity & Preparedness – What’s Next?


David Woods, DMin | FEMA, Region 8

Dr. David Woods will lead a guided discussion on implementing and creation of next actions steps among stakeholders and community partners within and outside the veterinary community. 

David will facilitate a collaborative strategy session to collect the identified struggles, gaps, strengths, resources, and opportunities that exist in the advancement of the Front Range veterinary community’s disaster preparedness and continuity planning. Through leveraged best practice insights this conversation can offer significant strides for advancing in our preparedness.


Networking & Continued Conversations

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