Future Leaders: Opportunities for Growth

It is hard to believe that another school year has come to a close and we have a brand new group of veterinarians that we can call our colleagues.  I can remember, with remarkable clarity, the thoughts and feelings that I had when I took the Veterinarian’s Oath and made it my own, vowing to live by its principles every single day.  At this time each year, I like to spend some time remembering my years in veterinary school and the great feeling of achievement that came when my graduation day finally arrived.  I felt inspired, excited, and hopeful about my future on that day.  I reflect on those feelings and I think about the countless blessings that have come to me through my involvement with veterinary medicine.  I can think of changes in my own life that I have already experienced and new changes that can lead to continued growth.  Think about that word for a second.  GROWTH.  Merriam-Webster defines growth as “progressive development.”


Veterinarians have a good concept of the word growth.  As individuals, we have to be flexible and open to new ideas, concepts, and methods for accomplishing a multitude of tasks.  As mentors to veterinary students and recent graduates, we have the opportunity to see these new ideas in practice.  I feel confident that each one of us had at least one mentor that helped to guide our growth and development.  Those mentoring relationships are so valuable because everyone involved will learn something new.


The inaugural group of AVMA Future Leaders has spent a lot of time focusing on the needs of the recent graduates and emerging leaders in our profession.  We have learned that mentoring is a positive and familiar concept to these new veterinarians.  Our group is in the process of developing a pilot mentoring program that will allow for the pairing of recent graduates with more experienced veterinarians.  This program can create an opportunity to welcome these new veterinarians into our profession and an opportunity to learn from each other; an opportunity for growth.


Many of our state veterinary associations will be hosting an annual conference or meeting over the next couple of months.  I would like to encourage each of you to make an effort to attend the next meeting or CE opportunity in your state.  Set aside this time to catch up with your classmates, your professors, and your mentors.  Go to the meeting to be a mentor to another veterinarian and go to make new friends.  Go to find your own opportunities for GROWTH.

2 thoughts on “Future Leaders: Opportunities for Growth

  1. Don’t grow disheartened because AVMA leaders are doing a lot right now, almost more than we can keep up with. New graduates are looking for mentors as one of there very first priorities. We all had them, we just didn’t call them mentors at the time. There is nothing that can substitute for a more experienced person encouraging a less experienced person. That said, veterinary medicine is facing many challenges right now, and a lot is being done to steer us toward a rewarding and successful future. We have emphasized Economics and Education as priorities for this past year. We have been communicating regularly with the Deans of our veterinary medical programs this year concentrating on workforce issues, educational debt, and increased confidence and competence upon graduation so new graduates can be more productive their first year, especially in preventive medicine as well as in other areas. There is a LOT more to learn these days with less resources to do it. Officers of both the AVMA and the Association for American Veterinary Medical Colleges are meeting again this week to discuss these very issues further. I can understand your frustration with continuing delays to take action, but I can assure you there is a lot of action now. Between the Partnership for Preventive Health Care coalition, our Veterinary Economics Strategy Committee, our new Veterinary Economics Division, the work of our Governmental Relations Division on Capitol Hill, and our meetings with the Deans, to name a few, there is a lot going on. AVMA leadership, volunteers, and staff are working hard every day to make sure we fulfill our vision that veterinary medicine is both a “personally and financially rewarding profession”. Part of the strategy involves transforming veterinary medical education and improving veterinary ecoomics through increased visibility and value. It is actually a very exciting time for veterinary medicine because it is a time of transition and opportunity.

  2. I believe there was a push to form a mentorship program in the AVMA a few years ago and I do not think it got much participation. I question the value of any leadership program that forgets what the organization has already tried in the past without much success. Mentorship is not an adequate substitute for real changes in veterinary education and training to produce competent and achieving veterinarians. I grow more disheartened each day with more meetings and commissions and little real action taking place in the halls of the AVMA and veterinary academia. Where are the leaders who understand that swift and substantial change is needed IMMEDIATELY because we have neglected so many problems in veterinary medicine over the past couple of decades that have only been compounded through neglect.