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Personal Protection
Seminar to Teach Safety Skills

Megan Grobman, DVM, a second-year internal medicine resident, organized the Oct. 18 seminar to teach protection skills to MU College of Veterinary Medicine faculty, staff and students.

Personal Protection Seminar
Oct. 18, 2014
Adams Conference Center
8 to 11:30 a.m.: Protection “software” skills; free
1 to 5 p.m.: Physical skills; $30
Afternoon session participants must have attended the morning session.
To register, email Connie Sievert at

Nearly 2 million American workers report having been victims of workplace violence each year, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Outside law enforcement, health care workers are more likely to experience workplace violence than any other profession.

To teach practical protection skills to faculty, staff and students, the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, in conjunction with Havoc Enterprises, will offer a one-day seminar on Oct. 18.

The daylong seminar aims to teach participants to recognize aggressive behaviors, defuse and de-escalate a situation, and extract themselves. It will be split into two portions. A morning segment will focus on what the organizers call “software” skills, such as situational awareness and how to avoid dangerous situations. In the afternoon, attendees will learn “hardware” skills, or the physical approach for managing potential threats.

Megan Grobman, DVM, a second-year internal medicine resident, organized the seminar, which will be led by David Rice. Rice has worked in state law enforcement since 1996 as a uniformed trooper, polygraph examiner, homicide investigator and SWAT team paramedic. He holds a black belt and instructor rank in several martial arts including aikido and ground fighting. Grobman, who has performed situational risk assessment in Northern Ireland specializing in paramilitary organizations, also has trained in martial arts.

Increasing safety skills is an effort Grobman finds particularly important.

“This is my personal passion and soapbox,” she said.

Risk factors in a veterinary setting include access to controlled substances, being open late or 24 hours, and especially heightened emotions, Grobman said.

“Their best friend is sick,” she said. “The language we speak is completely foreign. We’re all going to deal with an upset client.”

These factors, coupled with a lack of skills for recognizing and de-escalating potentially dangerous situations, can lead to trouble, she said.

“Ninety percent of personal safety is awareness and the ability to recognize your own vulnerability and address it,” Grobman said. “The best thing we can do is train people with the tools and hope it never becomes an issue.”

Physical tools are a last resort, she said.

Funded in part by the CVM Office of Academic Affairs, the seminar is appropriate for any adult regardless of physical ability. Attendees should wear comfortable clothes and closed-toed shoes.

To register, email Connie Sievert at


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Last Update: February 29, 2012