Profiles in Veterinary Medicine: Dr. Randa Macmillan, a “one-woman cheer squad for veterinary medicine”

Profiles in Veterinary Medicine: Dr. Randa Macmillan, a “one-woman cheer squad for veterinary medicine”

In our Profiles in Veterinary Medicine column, CVMA President Ashley Ackley, DVM profiles a well-loved CVMA member who has made a lasting impact on countless veterinarians in Colorado. 

By Ashley Ackley, DVM (CVMA President 2021-2022)

Do you ever think about who inspires you in your veterinary career? Is there someone out there that reminds you of the “why” behind your professional choices?

If you’ve ever met Dr. Randa Macmillan, you remember her infectious smile and her laugh, which carries through any room. Randa is one of the most enthusiastic people you will ever meet, especially if you want to talk veterinary medicine.

Thinking about my veterinary influences, it naturally made sense to sit down with her and chat about her path and storied career as a veterinarian in Colorado. Randa has been a successful practice owner and a past CVMA president, all while supporting a family, raising two wonderful children (one a veterinarian herself), and traveling the world. Randa loves both her life and her profession:

“For me, it was a profession that fulfilled my life.”

Randa has spent the past several months recovering from yet another joint replacement surgery with her soulmate and similarly-built bionic dog Darwin curled up by her side. But she is not discouraged by her recovery, the state of veterinary medicine, or even the pandemic. She focuses on the future and continues to smile.

“I’m a very optimistic person. I always look at things on the bright side and I think that just comes from a personality type more than anything,” she says.

Describing herself as “booky,” Randa notes she didn’t want to be a veterinarian growing up. Coming from a large family of siblings, foster children, and animals, she entered the research world and was encouraged to go to vet school to be a lab animal veterinarian. When she got to her clinical years, she knew she was meant to practice. “It was a light that turned on,” she says with enthusiasm. “It was what I was meant to do.”

How Randa acquired her practice says a lot about the type of person she is. After practicing at an established clinic for a few years, she cold-called her accountant’s aging veterinarian to see if he was interested in selling his practice. They hit it off, leaving her with a small practice that quickly grew with Randa’s love of dentistry and her way with clients and patients.

As Randa puts it, “I really like people, and I especially like people who take good care of their animals. They’re the cream of the crop.”

Randa admits that things were not always roses and peaches during her time in practice, but she remains a one-woman cheer squad for veterinary medicine. From traveling to Africa and Mexico for spay/neuter trips, to being a veterinarian for the Iditarod, she notes that traveling and seeing the world and different perspectives has helped keep her grounded.

“Get out there and travel. See the world. I’m not leaving a penny to my kids. I’m just going to take them on trips.”

Everyone needs a Randa in their veterinary career—someone who exudes happiness with the profession and reminds those around her of the “why” behind what they do.  I am so thankful she has graced me with her presence, as a veterinarian and a friend.

Consider thanking the Randa in your veterinary career. Someone who reminds you of the good, the hard, and the meaning in our practice. And if you are still in need of a Randa, she just may be available to chat while she continues to heal from surgery and plans her next big trip—an Amazon River boat adventure.

“I still have part of the world to see,” she says with a wide smile.

After our conversation, I promptly called my own parents to discuss our next trip together.