Convention ’09

Dear Colleagues,

Got something on your mind? Any thoughts about the state of the AVMA and the veterinary profession?

Well, our Annual Convention is right around the corner, and this gathering of veterinary leaders from around the country presents you with a great opportunity to let your voice be heard.

The AVMA relies on the many viewpoints from each discipline within veterinary medicine to help make decisions that strengthen us while positioning us for the challenges that lie ahead. And we’d like to hear from you.

Come One, Come All
There’s probably no better opportunity for you to hear from us – and for us to hear from you – than at the inaugural AVMA Town Hall Meeting, which will be held during our Seattle convention on Saturday, July 11, from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. I’ll offer some brief opening remarks to start the Town Hall gathering, and Dr. DeHaven will also give a quick review of our five strategic goals, focusing a bit on animal welfare and veterinary workforce issues. We’ll also have other association and national experts on hand to help move things along.

But really, this town hall is all about you. We want to bring together the broadest possible cross section of the profession to discuss the challenges we face together. We want to continue to stay united while acknowledging a wide range of viewpoints, particularly when it comes to topics such as animal welfare.

So if you have questions, comments or opinions, especially about animal welfare and workforce issues, we invite you to join us at this first-ever AVMA event, where veterinarians from all fields can gather as one and share some intelligent conversation and discussion.

Our ‘House’
There’s little doubt that some interesting, important topics will arise during the Town Hall Meeting, and the same can be said for the House of Delegates (HOD) meeting that will also take place during convention. This is another opportunity for you to weigh-in on what the association is doing and in which direction it’s headed.

As a policy-setting arm of the AVMA, the House of Delegates will consider four resolutions and nine amendments to bylaws at this year’s convention. The topics range from changing existing policies on ear cropping and tail docking and the judicious use of antimicrobials, to reducing the term on Councils to three years from six. You can get a look at all of the proposals on our Web site.

But before the HOD acts, how about letting us know what you think? Your input on proposed policy and bylaw changes is really valuable to the process. The more we hear from you, the more information we have at our disposal before casting that all-important vote.

How do you share your thoughts? Well, you can bring your ideas to your state VMA or your constituent allied organization. They all have representation in the HOD, and you can be assured that your thoughts are getting to the people who will have to cast a vote during the HOD meeting. You can also go to your Executive Board district representative, who will vote on the recommendations at their June meeting before sending them to the HOD. And finally, you can go to any AVMA officer, whether it’s me, Dr. DeHaven or any other member of the Executive Board.

Shopping for Staff in Seattle
If you happen to be heading to convention, and you’re also in the process of looking for a new team member, there’s no need to delay the search until you get home. The AVMA’s Veterinary Career Center (VCC) has a special feature called the Convention Connection that allows you to post your job with a convention icon on the Career Center site before you arrive. That makes it easy for job seekers who are also attending convention to contact you and set up an interview on site in Seattle.

The Convention Connection is just one feature of the Career Center site, which is a targeted, focused job site strictly for veterinary professional and support staff available 24/7, 365 days a year. Its advanced search capabilities help you find candidates in virtually every veterinary field, including academia and industry.

A recent survey we conducted among those who use the Career Center shows that 95 percent of the employers who posted positions were happy with their experience, and more than 60 percent of them said they had been able to hire someone with the help of the VCC. So if you’re looking for someone to add to your staff, check out the VCC today. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find that perfect fit during your visit to the Emerald City.

Building a Stronger Foundation
Did you know that the American Veterinary Medical Foundation awarded more than $650,000 last year to worthy causes such as disaster preparedness, scholarships and animal health studies? The recipients of the Foundation’s generosity included many state VMAs, the victims of weather-related disasters and the Morris Animal Foundation, just to name a few.

How about helping the Foundation continue its good work, while also getting a little financial-planning help yourself?

Three events at the AVMA Convention will provide you an opportunity to learn more about the Foundation, help in its fund-raising efforts and even learn about estate planning for you and your family. The Estate Planning Seminars will be held on each day of the convention, from Saturday, July 11 to Tuesday, July 14. You can also get involved in the Foundation’s Oath in Action Voluntourism Project, which is a follow-up to the highly successful event held in New Orleans during last year’s convention, when about 150 people dedicated their time to rehabbing animal shelters there. You can also enjoy a unique experience by attending the Foundation’s Annual Convention Recognition Event at Teatro ZinZanni. And if you can’t attend the fund-raising event, please visit the Foundation’s Web site to see other ways you can help.

On the 2009 H1N1 Trail
The media frenzy surrounding the outbreak of the 2009 H1N1 flu virus has died down considerably, but organizations like the AVMA are still paying attention. We’re keeping up on any new developments related to the virus, and we’ll keep you posted as the news breaks.

Since the 2009 H1N1 virus burst onto the scene last month, the AVMA has kept its members and the general public informed every step of the way. We’ve been posting items on our H1N1 landing page, providing H1N1-related stories in News Bytes and working closely with the World Organisation for Animal Health. Dr. DeHaven helped address some of the questions about the virus in a video we produced that can be found on AVMAtv and also on YouTube. We also developed pandemic planning guidelines for veterinary practices, and we’re staying in contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization (OIE). As you can see by the breadth of our efforts, this is more than an animal-health issue; it truly is a One Health issue.

Due to the seriousness of the outbreak, and because many of our members found themselves looking for answers, we also sent out a blast e-mail to tens of thousands of our members, sharing with them some key points about the disease and where to go for more information.

Such e-mail alerts related to public and animal health crises are an important way for us to reach you when serious situations call for a direct line of communication, regardless of the time of day. That’s why – if you don’t currently get the alerts – we urge you to update your member information and indicate that you would like to receive them. AVMA policy does not allow us to send unsolicited e-mails to you without your permission. By opting in to receive these alerts, we establish and maintain an effective form of communication with you. When things like the 2009 H1N1 virus come up, a heads-up can go a long way in helping you answer the tough questions.


Cook signature DeHaven signature
James O. Cook, MS, DVM
W. Ron DeHaven, DVM, MBA
Chief Executive Officer

4 thoughts on “Convention ’09

  1. @George G. Moore – Thank you for your thoughtful question and comments to our blog. As veterinarians, we should (and do) educate our clients to ensure that treatments, including antibiotics and vaccines, are administered appropriately. The AVMA has consistently encouraged a Veterinarian-Client-Patient-Relationship (VCPR) and veterinary consultation prior to the implementation of any treatment modality regardless of how the product is labeled. With the appropriate veterinary involvement, correct dose, duration of treatment, and withdrawal times should be conveyed to and adhered to by the owner. Residue control programs would detect insufficient withdrawal periods for meat and milk. The FDA allows products whose labels can be read and understood by laypersons to be marketed OTC, and thus available for sale at feed stores and co-ops as you have indicated. You have illustrated an excellent opportunity for AVMA to encourage the regulatory agencies and pharmaceutical companies to provide more education targeted to the purchasers of OTC products. FDA has recently launched the Animal Health Literacy Campaign as an educational outreach program for multiple audiences and could potentially be interested in OTC products as a topic.
    Dr. Christine Hoang
    Assistant Director
    Scientific Activities Division

  2. Thank you for the upcoming town hall at AVMA forum to provide ideas. If your town hall discussions can minimize the constant usage of the heartless business term, “stakeholders,” it might be more appealing and less mercenary for the contemporary environment. Try to frequently and interchangeably replace this term with synonyms such as “members, profession, industry,” etc.

  3. What can we as veterinarians do to help control the sale of antibiotics and vaccines through co-ops and feed stores? The owners buy the medicine there and the people selling it do not know how to use the product. The owner does not give enough or gives it too long and does not withhold the milk or the animal long enough before selling. I would like to see the AVMA address this problem!!!

  4. I would like to see the AVMA encourage State VMAs to allow CE hour reqmts. changed to every 2 years vs. annual reqmts. It is prohibitive financially to go to a large , truly worthwhile meeting annually. I could go to a large national mtg. every 2 years. The quality is far superior to our “local” offerings & it would be easy to get many hours on one meaningful trip every 2 years. My suggestion has fallen on deaf ears every time I have suggested it over more than 20 years. I will not be attending your annual convention , but could come if the time frame for CE was more flexible.
    People that wait until the last minute & scramble for their hours will continue to do so, as will those who sign up for meetings & fail to attend. Please help encourage flexibility for the sake of quality for those of us who genuinely seek quality CE.
    I practice in North Carolina.