President’s Update – Our Profession’s Diversity in One Week

I had an amazing week last week.  It started with a visit to the Korean Veterinary Society of America in Marina del Rey, California.  I spent two days with veterinarians of Korean heritage.  The President of the Korean VMA and the President of the Federation of Asian Small Animal Veterinary Associations (FASAVA) also attended from Korea.  Issues of importance to this group were AVMA’s activities in diversity issues, globalization, and the value of communication skills to understand the value of the human-animal bond not only in America, but also in Korea and China.  I believe our relationships with our Asian veterinary medical colleagues will become increasingly important in the near future.  I am sorry to say I didn’t learn any Korean words in two days (except kimchi), but I did win the first round of the Presidents’ dance contest!

I then flew to Nashville, TN to attend the American College of Veterinary Pathologist‘s Annual Conference which was a dual meeting with the American Society of Veterinary Clinical Pathologists.  I met with Council members to discuss concerns of their speciality organization and of our profession.  This is an amazing group of veterinary medical scientists.  They are one of 21 AVMA recognized specialty groups comprising 40 distinct specialties. More than 10,200 veterinarians have been awarded diplomate status in one or more of these 21 recognized veterinary specialty organizations.  The ACVP felt a bit marginalized by the AVMA, with much of the activities of AVMA  concentrated on small animal practices.  They really want AVMA to hear:

  • AVMA membership needs to understand the roles of a veterinary pathologist and they want an AVMA – ACVP partnership to address this communication need.
  • We need reforms to mitigate increasing student debt for obtaining the DVM/VMD degree and further debt due to advanced specialization studies. 
  • We need a workforce study with current data to examine supply and demand for veterinarians and veterinary specialists.
  • Recommendations are needed for involvement by ACVP membership and leadership with AVMA to achieve common goals.
  • They would like to increase AVMA membership by ACVP members to 100% (bravo, great idea!!).

Finally, I flew to Rhode Island to meet with New England veterinarians for their Rhode Island VMA annual meeting.  Many of the attendees are in general or specialty practice.  I had the opportunity to visit with many AVMA members.  One was a VMD, MD, MPH with a lot of higher education, but who still is in mixed animal practice and loving it, and is passionate about the One Health Initiative

This week, I met with Korean veterinarians, pathologists, and practitioners.  What a wonderfully diverse profession, which presents some challenges for unity within our small profession.  Hopefully our national economic strategy can bring us all together to make sure veterinary medicine remains strong and relevant for decades to come!

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