March has been a very busy month. I traveled to Texas, Indiana and New Jersey to attend state VMA meetings and to visit with many of you. AVMA leadership gave presentations at both the North American Veterinary Conference and the Western Veterinary Conference to further explain our national economic strategy, including continued emphasis on the Partnership for Preventive Pet Healthcare and MyVeterinarian.com. Be sure to register for both initiatives.
We met for a second time with the deans of our veterinary colleges in March and focused on three of the many specific issues we identified in January. They were:
- Further defining workforce needs;
- Immediate steps we can implement to help our students and recent graduates manage the cost of their educational debt load; and
- Initial plans to bring employers into this discussion with emphasis on understanding educational debt issues and how to increase productivity for the first year of a graduate’s employment.
The Veterinary Economics Strategy Committee has already started its work in preparation for their first meeting in April. The Task Force on AVMA Governance and Member Participation and the Task Force on Foreign Veterinary School Accreditation have each started their work in preparation for their first meetings during the last week of April.
I spent an entire day in Washington, D.C., meeting with legislators about the appropriations necessary to protect our livestock and keep our food safe. At noon that day, I hosted a President’s Roundtable for public-practice veterinarians who work in many federal agencies. We focused on how to enhance public awareness and value for the many services veterinarians provide to society.
I spent two days visiting with two food-production systems. One was a large layer-hen facility in Indiana, which was very impressive. This particular laying-hen establishment handles 2.5 million eggs per day! The second facility was a farrowing pig farm in Minnesota that markets 75,000 pigs per year. Both facilities had well-trained staff who cared about the animals and took excellent care of them. It is not an accident that we have such an abundant, safe and affordable food supply. We continue to work to ensure that continues and that the animals are well cared for.
Many committees and councils have met over the last two months in preparation for the very busy April Executive Board meeting, including work to prepare the 2013 AVMA budget. Preparation for a great AVMA Annual Convention in San Diego in August is also in full gear. You can be very proud of the enormous amount of work AVMA accomplishes for your dues. The hard-working and dedicated 142 staff members and our nearly 700 member volunteers are all very dedicated to their work and to our more than 82,500 AVMA members.
We are a new AVMA that remains committed to being knowledge-based, transparent in our communications, more nimble and worthy of your trust. Thank you for your membership, and your dedication to our profession and the animals and people we serve.