Kindergarten to Katrina

Dear Colleagues,

It’s been said that the first day of spring is one thing … and the first spring day is another.

Well, spring is expected to officially arrive Thursday … with the occurrence of the vernal equinox – even though it may be weeks before we become true believers that winter has finally checked out for a few months. While the springtime weather is unpredictable, one thing, however, is certain: Spring means a new beginning. A time when things are fresh. When opportunities abound and energy levels are high.

So what’s new here at the AVMA?

For starters, the Publications Division is embarking on an exciting new effort to help busy practitioners, such as yourself, locate and put to use the best information from the AVMA scientific journals – and to do this as efficiently as possible. AVMA Collections, which makes its debut on the AVMA Web site April 1, is a series of single-topic article compilations from our Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Journal of Veterinary Research. In preparing AVMA Collections, our journal editors carefully select articles that are having the greatest impact on the profession and that will provide maximum, immediate benefit to readers.

Reader surveys indicated that the AVMA scientific journals contain the most trusted and the most respected scientific content in our profession. But you also told us that you wanted the content to be more directly useful and easier to apply to your daily professional challenges. AVMA Collections will help fill that need. We’ve organized information by topics that reflect what’s hot in veterinary medicine and public health – like obesity in companion animals, zoonotic diseases and food supply veterinary medicine. Each collection of articles is designed for quick reference, with a summary that provides a brief overview of the topic and bulleted highlights in the table of contents to let you know what you’ll find before you click.

JAVMA readers will be the first to have free access to all of the content in AVMA Collections, with others being able to view articles on a pay-per-view basis. Soon, AVMA Collections will be freely available to those who receive AJVR as well. We hope you find AVMA Collections another useful tool in your ongoing veterinary education. We also hope that you will tell us what topics interest you. For more information, go to

The Communications Division has just launched a new feature on the AVMA Web site where teachers, counselors and other educators can find AVMA career materials and classroom lesson ideas and activities. Teachers, counselors and advisors play an important role in helping guide the future careers of today’s students. That expertise, coupled with the growing need for trained veterinarians to protect animal and human health, makes educators natural partners in our efforts to promote student interest in science and technology. The Web site, which groups our career products according to grade level, includes links to posters, bookmarks, brochures, activity books, our new career DVD and other useful items that educators can either download or order for classroom use. Take a look at the new site, and pass the word along to your friends in education. Let them know what resources we have available to them concerning animal health and careers in veterinary medicine. And remember, these educational products also make great tools for you when you participate in your local career days.

It’s been more than two years since Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, and there are many people in and around New Orleans who are still looking for a new start. You can help. Katrina hit many local veterinarians hard, and perhaps no one in the veterinary community can use our help more than local animal shelters. The AVMA and our philanthropic arm, the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, are looking for up to 100 volunteers to help refurbish animal shelters identified by the Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. So how about rolling up your sleeves and helping build an outside cat holding area and repaint parts of the Jefferson Parish Animal Shelter? Or how about helping apply a new coat of paint and sealing the floors at the St. Charles Parish Animal Shelter? Why not lend some time and energy resealing the indoor and outdoor holding kennels at the Plaquemines Parish Animal Shelter?

Our “veterinary voluntours” will visit the shelters on July 17 and July 18, just before the first day of the Annual Convention on July 19. The AVMF will provide transportation to and from the work sites, along with breakfast, lunch and T-shirts for volunteers. AVMA members and their families can sign up for one or both days on the convention registration form. Space is limited, and we are anticipating a lot of interest in this worthwhile project. For more information, contact Malyssa Sopko in the Convention and Meeting Planning Division at or call 847-285-6739. Those interested in donating money to the project should contact Cindy Frosheiser, AVMF assistant director, at or 847-285-6689. You can also donate online by going to

The good work of the AVMF doesn’t stop there. It was recently announced that the AVMF and the Morris Animal Foundation have teamed up for the second year running to fight deadly canine and avian influenza viruses. The AVMF has agreed to co-sponsor two MAF-funded studies that will help us understand how these viruses spread in order to provide prevention and treatment. The studies will analyze disease transmission and how to monitor and contain the viruses, which can jump from one species to another and create potential public health issues. The canine study will determine the prevalence of canine flu infections in animal shelters and identify the factors that cause it to spread. The avian influenza study will focus on how avian flu viruses survive in water. The results of the research will provide insight into the risks of viral transmission from wild birds to domestic poultry.

This partnership is one more example of how the AVMA collaborates with other leaders in veterinary medicine to advance the work you do and to protect both animals and people.

Finally, the AVMA recently participated in the State Agriculture and Rural Leaders Legislative Agriculture Chairs Summit in St. Louis, Missouri. This was the third straight year that the AVMA has been invited to attend the event and represent your interests. Dr. James Cook, AVMA president-elect, and Adrian Hochstadt, assistant director of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs, were among those who were able to meet with more than 120 state legislators, including influential members of agriculture committees and others with particular interest in agriculture and rural issues. Taking advantage of opportunities like this helps strengthen our relationships with those who are elected to make critical decisions that affect veterinarians around the country.

Here’s wishing that the weeks ahead are kind to you by bringing you a real taste of spring.


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

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