Consider the following, courtesy of Dr. Wang Qingbo, deputy secretary-general of the Chinese Veterinary Medical Association:
- There are about 1 million veterinarians in China, 25,000 of whom are formally licensed.
- Founded in 2009, the Chinese Veterinary Medical Association (ChVMA) has about 3,900 members.
- Each year, 20,000 students graduate from veterinary school in China, 80 percent of whom are female.
With a growing pet population, an increasing reliance on animal-sourced protein and just the sheer number of veterinarians in China, the future of the fledgling ChVMA is limited only by its ability to grow into a viable organization providing valuable resources to its members. That opportunity for growth in both size and stature is one reason why a ChVMA delegation visited the AVMA last month for two weeks of education and engagement with AVMA leadership and staff.
Another important reason for the visit is the ChVMA’s desire to enhance and assure the quality of veterinary education, veterinary continuing education, and the skills, knowledge and ongoing professional competence of veterinary graduates as a means to enhance animal and human health in China. The delegation was eager to learn how the veterinary profession is regulated in the U.S by learning more about the educational accreditation process, the role of state veterinary regulatory boards and the collaborative nature of AVMA’s work with federal and state entities.
It was a rewarding experience for everyone, one that not only helped advance the ChVMA’s mission, but also the AVMA’s role in global veterinary affairs. AVMA leadership and staff welcomed Dr. Wang and Mrs. Yuan Leilei, a representative of the China Animal Disease Control Center and part-time deputy secretary-general of the ChVMA, to AVMA headquarters for a two-week stay that concluded June 10. Assisting Dr. Wang and Mrs. Yuan were their interpreters, Mr. Jason Li and Ms. Bo Liu, both of whom recently graduated from the China Agricultural University and will be starting veterinary school at Kansas State University later this year as part of the China Scholarship Council-Kansas State University Joint Scholarship Program for Veterinary Medicine.
Our guests visited with staff members from each AVMA division to learn about association governance and operations, visited the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois, attended the June AVMA Executive Board meeting and tasted a bit of the local culture. Dr. Wang and Mrs. Yuan also provided an excellent overview of the Chinese veterinary profession and the fledgling ChVMA to staff over a lunchtime seminar.
Their visit is a continuation of ongoing exchanges between the AVMA and the ChVMA. AVMA CEO Dr. Ron DeHaven was a guest speaker and provided a plenary welcome at the ChVMA’s inaugural meeting in 2009. In 2010, then-AVMA President Dr. Larry Kornegay participated in the second ChVMA meeting. The following year, a ChVMA delegation visited AVMA headquarters to discuss association management practices and potential areas for collaboration between the two organizations. Current AVMA President Dr. Doug Aspros represented the association at the Chinese meeting in 2012.
Visits like this provide invaluable opportunities for everyone involved. As the AVMA continues to advance the association’s strategic plan on the international stage, we have found that the concerns of the veterinary profession are very similar across the globe. As we learn about the challenges and opportunities facing our international veterinary colleagues, we can better advance our own strategic goals and ensure that the U.S. veterinary profession’s voice is heard in international settings.
As Dr. Aspros told a JAVMA News reporter upon his return from China late last year, “Wherever we live, however we were trained, and whatever our professional roles, we are all brothers and sisters in this great profession.”
Keep an eye out for an August 1 JAVMA News article that will take a more in-depth look at the Chinese VMA visit.