Conventionally Speaking

Dear Colleagues,

Happy New Year!

It may be only January, but the AVMA Annual Convention will be here before we know it. This year’s gathering takes place in New Orleans, July 19-July 22, and you can start making your plans now by visiting our online convention registration and housing selection Web link. Please take advantage of our online service in order to receive the lowest registration fees and ensure your choice of accommodations.

This will be the AVMA’s 145th Annual Convention. More appropriately, though, this is your convention, and we rely on you to help us make it an educational, productive – and fun – experience for our members, their families and guests. We receive valuable information when you respond to our convention surveys. Not only do we glean information from our attendee surveys, but also from surveys sent to members who do not attend the convention, in an attempt to learn what we can do to entice them to attend our annual gathering. Last year, in an attempt to improve the convention experience, we hosted our first convention focus groups to compile even more specific feedback. An example of the positive changes that are being implemented as a result of this feedback is a new continuing education format beginning in 2008. This year in New Orleans we are switching to eight, 50-minute sessions. This condensed format provides a better learning atmosphere, gives you more choice of sessions you can attend and allows us to expand CE topics and offerings.

The Convention and Meeting Planning Division, along with the members of the Convention Management and Program Committee, wants to hear your impressions, thoughts and ideas for the convention and how we can make it even better in the future. You can contact our convention staff by going to

Continuing education helps you keep up with what is new in the profession. Keeping up with news of the veterinary profession is equally important in many ways. Finding the time to stay abreast of the news, however, can be difficult. We have simplified the process for you by enhancing and upgrading the AVMA Press Room. You’ll find a plethora of information in our Press Room, from AVMA press releases to links to JAVMA News and other products that tap into the wide world of media coverage.

One service that might be of particular interest is AVMA News Bytes. A news compendium distributed to AVMA leadership every business day, News Bytes is now available to our members through the AVMA Web site. News Bytes provides an overview of national and international articles of interest to veterinarians and highlights mentions of the AVMA and AVMA members in the media. Since its launch in September 2005, News Bytes has been available only to members of AVMA committees, councils and governing bodies. The popularity of the service, as well as a desire by the AVMA to better serve its members, the public and the media, has led the Association to post News Bytes online and to offer it through an RSS feed. The RSS edition of AVMA News Bytes updates every business day at 4 p.m. Central. AVMA leadership receives an early edition via e-mail at 2 p.m. Central.

RSS (which stands for “Really Simple Syndication”) allows users to receive and manage news and updates from various Web sites without having to visit each individual site. Anyone with an RSS reader (available for free as part of the Internet Explorer 7 browser) can subscribe to AVMA News Bytes by going to and clicking “RSS feeds.” If you want more information about News Bytes and RSS feeds, contact Michael San Filippo, AVMA media relations assistant, at 847-285-6687 or e-mail him at

Another interesting find in the Press Room is AVMA Health News Bytes, which we launched in January 2007 and is celebrating its first anniversary. Health News Bytes is designed to provide journalists around the country a peek into the world of comparative medicine and its enormous impact on human and animal health. We have now made AVMA Health News Bytes available to our members. We hope you find Health News Bytes to be a convenient tool for staying up on some of the developments in veterinary research and some of the awesome medical research that is occurring at the nation’s 28 colleges of veterinary medicine. If you want more information about Health News Bytes, call David Kirkpatrick at 847-285-6782 or e-mail him at

Now that you’re armed with the latest news about veterinary medicine, you just might be energized to share all that knowledge with students in your community by taking part in a career day. Our new Veterinary Career Tool Kits will make your day easier and more enjoyable, no matter the age of the students you are visiting. The Tool Kits are filled with bookmarks, coloring and activity books, lesson plans, a veterinary career DVD and other items. There are three standard kits, each designed for students of different ages – kindergarten through third grade; fourth grade through sixth; and seventh grade through high school. The cost for members is $35. So help get children interested in a career in veterinary medicine – and make your presentation plans a whole lot easier – by inquiring about a Veterinary Career Tool Kit today. For more information, or to order your Tool Kit, contact Lori Goszczynski in our Communications Division at or call 847-285-6655.

When microchips were in the news recently, we decided that we needed to research and inform people about the facts behind the supposed link between the pet-identification devices and cancer. We were getting inquiries from our members and from the public about the possible connection, and we wanted to prepare science-based information that would answer those questions. A new backgrounder on microchipping, as well as an FAQ on the topic, can now be found on our Web site. These peer-reviewed documents are full of valuable information for both you and your clients, and we recommend that you read them and print them out for your use. Backgrounders and FAQs provide a valuable service when it comes to some of the hot topics in veterinary medicine. If you have ideas for future topics, or if you have suggestions for additional questions for the microchipping FAQ, contact Dr. Kimberly May in our Communications Division at 847-285-6667 or e-mail her at

Dr. DeHaven and I hope 2008 is a joyous and prosperous year for you, your family and the many animals and people we serve.


Hammer signature DeHaven signature
Gregory S. Hammer, DVM
W. Ron DeHaven, DVM, MBA
Executive Vice President

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