Do you hear it? New Orleans beckons. The clanging bell of the St. Charles Avenue street car is calling. The musicians at Preservation Hall are tuning their instruments. A wisp of sultry sea air is settling over an outdoor patio, where your friends are waiting for you to pull up a chair and join the conversation under the Southern night sky.
The Crescent City is welcoming us with open arms for our 145th AVMA Annual Convention July 19 through July 22. Everything New Orleans has to offer – as well as hundreds of hours of top-notch continuing education – awaits you. Have you made your plans? If not, sign up today, because our Advanced Registration deadline is April 21. By taking advantage now, you can save money on convention costs and reserve your accommodations before the crunch. Our Convention and Meeting Planning Division has made it easy by providing multiple registration options. For quick, easy and secure online registration, go to www.avmaconvention.org. Or, if you prefer to register by mail, turn to page 73 of your Preliminary Program, fill out the forms and drop them in the mail or Fax them to us.
New Orleans is back – just as you remember it. So, why not start making some new memories today?
One of the nice things about our Annual Convention is the one-stop shopping you can enjoy by having so many CE options available in one place. That same approach is the driving factor behind the new AVMA Collections, which made its debut April 1. And boy, did it make a splash! The current topics, “Obesity in dogs” and “Zoonosis Updates,” have generated significant interest, both here at home and abroad. The number of international visits to the site recently doubled in just a few days, with people from faraway places such as Thailand, Grenada, Singapore, Kenya, Colombia and Hungary taking a look at what we have to offer. Even the Smithsonian Institution dropped by.
In fact, so many people have visited the new Web resource that we have decided to open it up to the entire AVMA membership and to the general public. When we announced that news to the media April 9, outlets such as FoxBusiness, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle publicized the story.
AVMA Collections, a series of single-topic article compilations from our Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Journal of Veterinary Research, is designed to provide you the best information on timely topics, all wrapped up in a convenient package. So if you haven’t already taken a look, go to AVMA Collections and see what the world is talking about.
The talk in North Carolina, Georgia and Texas recently focused on the Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates, as Dr. Beth Sabin, assistant director of the AVMA’s Education and Research Division, visited state veterinary boards in those states to bring them up to speed on some of the many program enhancements that have taken place over the past few years. Much of this information was new to many board members due to board elections and appointments.
The new Basic and Clinical Sciences Examination, which we as an association researched, created and now own, was a popular topic of discussion. Dr. Sabin shared with the state board members the genesis of the test, how and why we created it and how more than 90 veterinarians and veterinary educators helped us put it together. By creating our own test, we were able to streamline the certification process and thus reduce the time required for the final test in the certification program – the Clinical Proficiency Examination – down from four days to three, which saves the test-takers time and money.
Visits like Dr. Sabin’s help the AVMA improve communication with vital stakeholders and maintain the high expectations being placed on veterinary graduates by the profession and the public. They are just one more example of the many things the AVMA does to protect both animal and human health.
Many veterinary students seek out hands-on experience well before they get to the milestones of test-taking and licensure. The AVMA has been helping these students expand that knowledge base since the 2005 inception of the Student Externship Stipend Program, which is administered by our Membership and Field Services Division. Any member of the Student American Veterinary Medical Association can apply for the program, which this year awarded fifteen $1,000 stipends, the highest number awarded to date. The members of this year’s class of awardees attend veterinary schools from around the country and will be learning on-the-job skills at places such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Sea World and the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. New this year was the inclusion of five externships dedicated solely to food supply veterinary medicine.
By opening doors to students who are interested in these under-served areas of veterinary medicine, we give them the opportunity to broaden their perspective, and we help make them better advocates for both their patients and the profession.
You, too, can advocate for the profession by helping us gather valuable economic information. The 2008 AVMA Biennial Economic Survey will start arriving in many mailboxes soon. If you receive the random-sample survey, Dr. DeHaven and I strongly urge you to take the time to complete it. You’ll not only be providing your association with invaluable information, you’ll also benefit by being able to gauge your position on the economic scale across all disciplines. The results of the survey will be published in book form in our Report on Veterinary Compensation and our Report on Veterinary Practice Business Measures. Summary results also will be included in upcoming JAVMA articles. On top of that, the data collected forms the basis for our Salary Calculator, which is available to all AVMA members for free on the AVMA Web site.
We want to assure you that individual responses to the survey are strictly confidential and are never released as individual data for any purpose. As one veterinarian in a sample, your answers carry a heavy statistical weight on behalf of your colleagues who have not been chosen. So if you receive a survey, please remember that the only way we can ensure the most accurate and timely information is if you assist us.
Take care, and we look forward to seeing you in New Orleans.
|Gregory S. Hammer, DVM
|W. Ron DeHaven, DVM, MBA
Executive Vice President