Hello, AVMA members. I am Dr. René Carlson, your AVMA president.

We have just finished a busy Executive Board meeting, and a lot of our discussion focused on elements of our Strategic Plan, which concentrates heavily on economics. And, as you know, the economic issues we face are many.

Student debt continues to rise, and veterinary medical colleges are increasing class sizes, while some say there are more veterinarians than there are jobs.

Veterinary medical visits have decreased, and an increase in preventable illnesses has been reported. Veterinary medicine must work with pet owners to show them the value of preventive medicine. AVMA is working on all of these issues.

Keep your eyes open for more information on the Partnership for Preventive Pet Healthcare. This is a three-stage program focused on improving the health of our pets by educating the public on the value of prevention. First, we developed standard guidelines so we have a consistent message to pet owners on appropriate wellness care for their pets. Second, we are developing tools to help you and your staff more effectively communicate the value of preventive health care for pets. And third, once we have a consistent message and the tools for delivery of that message, we will embark on a public education campaign.

The goal is to improve the health of our nation’s pets and the value pet owners see in practicing preventive health care before their pets get sick. Visit the Partnership’s website for more information on the guidelines and what we are doing to enhance the health of our pets.

AVMA is working hard on your behalf. With your input, we’ve developed a very proactive Strategic Plan that lists economics, education, animal welfare, scientific research and member participation as priorities. We have a national veterinary economic strategy in place, as well as a national marketing campaign for improving the health of our pets – the previously mentioned Partnership for Preventive Pet Healthcare. We have three entities being appointed – one on economics, one on AVMA governance and one on foreign school accreditation.

I am excited about the potential of these activities, and I’m very proud of the AVMA, its staff and all of our volunteers, all of whom who work so hard on your behalf and for the benefit of the veterinary medical profession. We need to work together on these issues. Please contact me, your AVMA district representative or your AVMA delegate with any questions or comments you might have. Watch the AVMA@Work newsletter and blogs for the latest AVMA news. Give us your feedback. Be sure we have your current e-mail address. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

This is a new AVMA! Thank you for being a member and for your participation. We want to hear from you.

Finally, have a happy and special holiday season.

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