Meet Dr. Lisa Lippman, she helps run a house call practice in NYC, does a weekly podcast called Pets and Punchlines, and graduated from Western University in 2013. Dr. Lisa Lippman didn’t get into vet school on her first application cycle but she did not let that stop her from trying until she did get in.
While in vet school she played a big part in changing a California state law to include a rabies exemption for sick, elderly, or chronically ill dogs. It’s called Molly’s Bill.
Who are the animals that you share your life with? (You can hear many mentions of Dr. Lisa Lippman’s dog Chloe if you listen to her podcast Pets and Punchlines.
I live with Chloe, a 6 yr FS Rhodesian Ridgeback. I love her so much it’s not normal!
Where did you attend undergrad and what was your major?
Syracuse my major was public relations and minor was biology. I had always thought I wanted to do veterinary medicine but I wasn’t ready to commit at the time. So I went back to college and did a post-baccalaureate pre-med program at the University of Penn.
How many schools/application cycles did you apply to before being accepted?
Three, I lived in Philadelphia and Washington DC during those years working as a vet assistant/nurse.
Were you waitlisted at any schools?
Yes, at Ohio.
How many of those gave you an acceptance letter?
Western, University of Tennessee, and RVC. The year I finally did get in, I now had choices, whereas the previous years, I wasn’t getting in anywhere. It was sheer persistence.
I interviewed at all three schools. I definitely think if you want to get in anywhere you have to interview.
Since you were accepted to more than one school, what were some reasons for your choice of school?
This was such a hard decision, so stressful too. I ultimately am a city girl so I felt the opportunity to live near LA was a cool one. I hated the time difference with my family who was back on the east coast but also felt that with Western’s program I was only obligated to be in CA for three years. Most of my fourth year I planned to (and did) the majority of my rotations back around my home on the east coast.
What did you do that strengthened your application between not getting into any schools to being accepted to three?
I’m not sure! It is crazy how I went from not being accepted at all to all of sudden being accepted to three schools and waitlisted at two others. So much of the application selection process is unknown but I believe persistence was a key factor.
Do you remember any specifically challenging interview questions?
The interview process was really different at each college.
At Tennessee, it was very personal questions and then a few questions about laws.
At western it was all behavioral questions, so there were no knowledge-based questions, it was really devised to see who you are as a person. The behavioral questions can also be challenging because you are always looking for a unique way to answer them. I think they are really looking for you to answer honestly and be personable.
Since you interviewed at three vet schools, what did you wear to the interviews?
I wore black suit pants and a flowy dark blue shirt underneath. Cuter than it sounds!
What was your GPA (in undergraduate)?
3.7, when I went to U Penn to get my post-baccalaureate, I did a summer semester, which turned out to be quite challenging and brought my overall GPA down a tiny bit.
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What was your GRE score? GRE at Magoosh.com!
I took the GRE around five times and my best score was around 1300. So I finally got a score that was considered good for vet school applications. I was not afraid to keep taking it and try to get a better score than my previous one.
Did you have exotic, large and small animal experience prior to applying to Veterinary School?
I worked as a vet tech at a small animal hospital and I did not have any large animal or exotic experience prior to applying to vet school.
Did you volunteer? If so, where?
Since high school, I had been volunteering at an animal shelter.
How many people read your personal statement before submitting it?
I hired professional people to look at my statement as well as having everybody in my family read it.
When did you decide to become a Vet?
I had always wanted to be a vet for as long as I can remember but I was hesitant because I wasn’t sure that I could handle the classes.
I wasn’t a great high school student, I was more concerned about being social. I had always wanted to do it but wasn’t confident that I could. So when I got to college I did really well and thought to myself let me take biology and see if I can do it. When I wound up getting all A’s in college biology and started to flourish in undergrad, I knew that I could do it.
Then right after undergrad, I just went right back to college to get the rest of my prerequisites for vet school.
Dr. Lisa Lippman, did you interview any vets before starting the application process?
Since I worked at a few animal clinics as a tech, it was easy for me to pick their brains about the process.
Were you a member of any clubs at your undergraduate school? If so, which ones?
Honors club and delta gamma sorority are the two that I remember.
Did you join student clubs in your DVM program? If so, which ones? Were they helpful?
I was really active in veterinary school I was president of the holistic club, VP of the internal medicine club, events coordinator of the surgery club, and part of a research program.
They have helped to shape who I am as a Doctor today.
Who gave you your letters of recommendation? Did you know them well?
I believe that I got a recommendation from someone who did not write me the best one. Your letters really have to be amazing, stellar, and spot on. I think this person gave me a good recommendation but it wasn’t excitable enough. During one of my interviews, I was told that this particular letter counted against me. Really know that the letters you are getting will be amazing.
You need to ask people outright if they will write you an extremely positive recommendation.
Don’t just ask for a recommendation, ask for an extremely positive recommendation.
Did you find the application process stressful? Why or why not?
Yes because each school has different requirements, and you need to figure out what each school wants before applying. There is that book called VMSAR veterinary Medical School Admission Requirements, that is updated and published every year. This book was really helpful.
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Are you happy that you chose this career? What makes you most happy about this career choice?
While in vet school I was a serious gunner. I thought that I could do this 100 hours a week every day and now I realize how important having a life is. Your first job is really important, make sure that it is a good fit and a good environment. I didn’t have this at first. Now I am finding my way and realizing what makes me happy in this career. I am part of a house call practice here in NYC. I do media relations and I love my clients. So what makes me happy is having
I am part of a house call practice here in NYC. I do media relations and I love my clients. So what makes me happy is having relationships with clients, and getting the word out about taking care of animals. This is a difficult job and I am finally finding my own way.
Getting to spend time with people who love their animals, makes being a vet worth it for me.
Do you have any advice for students, once accepted?
Try to make friends with everyone in your class, have a good support group, a good study base, and get help if you need it.
Have there been any classes, within your DVM program that were especially relatable to your current position?
Vet Issues was a class where we went over pertinent issues to the veterinary medical field as well as topics that people expect the veterinary profession to be up to date on. The media training in this class was also helpful given the fact that I am a vet in NYC who does participate in media events. This class was very pertinent to me and my current life but I think it can help all vets be aware that people expect us to be up on issues and have opinions about them.
What was the most challenging class, in your DVM program?
We had problem-based learning, we didn’t really have traditional classes or get notes but we did have a test on everything every 8 weeks.
So every 8 weeks, it was like a mini board exam.
So just knowing what to study was sometimes a challenge. We didn’t get traditional class notes but instead were given problems to solve.
As a student, did you have to take out loans for your education?
Yes, I am currently paying them back.
Dr. Lisa Lippman, was there anything in particular about the Western DVM program or the school itself that you liked?
You got to know all of the classmates, Western University of Health Sciences encouraged us to work in small groups, they discourage competitive behaviors (you don’t get to see everyone elses average) and fostered closeness.
I made a small group of friends that I talk to almost every day on a group text thread.
Western also fosters closeness with your Professors, my Professors knew me one on one and if I had a problem I always felt I could go to them.
As a Doctor, have there been any particular cases that were your favorite?
Some of my favorites may not have been the ones I did the best at. For example, one dog who came into me looked weak and neurologic, I sent the dog to the neurologist. The neurologist also thought it was a neuro issue and did an MRI but it turned out that neuro really wasn’t his problem and he had a massive pleural effusion in his chest.
At first, this dog had an ultrasound by an ultrastenographer that said it was his heart and when he got an echocardiogram, it showed not to be his heart. It turned out that his chest was filled with fluid. I learned a lot from that case, the dog did pass away but the people now have a new puppy and they are one of my best clients today. Even though the case didn’t go as I had hoped or thought, we weren’t able to diagnose the dog right away, and multiple people missed what was wrong, the people were so thankful for how I walked them through. I was in communication with them every step of the way.
Being in NYC, I have gotten to do a lot of fun things with Instagram famous patients. I never thought that veterinary school would take me here.
Do you have a specialty or are you working towards one?
I now do a podcast called Pet and Punchlines, it is comics with pets talking to vets, I recommend every one to listen to it.
How did you, Dr. Lisa Lippman, get into the podcast world and come up with the idea?
My boyfriend is a professional standup comic and had his own podcast. His comic friends would call me all of the time for vet advice and hilarity would ensue. With his knowledge of how to work and run a podcast, his funny pet-loving friends, and my veterinary knowledge we got the idea to put something out there that both fun and informative.
Is doing the podcast fun? Does it take up a lot of time each week?
The podcast is so much fun! It definitely takes more time than you would think. Getting on a cool network, uploading, editing, finding new guests weekly, coordinating schedules, posting on social media in clever ways. I don’t even know how to use the podcast equipment, I leave that all to him. : )
Do you frequently have to research cases, on off hours?
Yes, all of the time. What I love so much about the house call business is that I can spend the time with my patients, and really give them the time and care that they deserve. I am always looking up, researching, and consulting with specialists on a daily basis.
Have you read or listened to anything worth sharing?
Do you have any last words of wisdom?
If this is really what you want then don’t give up, nothing stopped me even though I had to apply 3 cycles, I stuck to it and got it in. Work hard, make sure to talk to a lot of vets, make sure this is really what you want, and understand the pros and cons.
You can find Dr. Lisa Lippman by following any of the links below.
*****I love Dr. Lisa Lippman’s podcast if you want to take a break from studying and laugh, this podcast will not disappoint!*****