President's message

Sit back and enjoy your "flight": AASV Annual Meeting in Toronto 2005

"...They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

Isaiah 40:31b

Tom GillespieAs I am flying back from Toronto, I couldn't help but reflect on the AASV meeting in terms of typical airline jargon that we have become accustomed to.

"We are glad you have chosen to fly with us today ..." The beautiful Westin Hotel in Toronto was full of AASV members and friends. The sessions were packed with attentive listeners soaking in the speakers' lectures. The hallways were filled with a constant buzz of conversation: members renewing friendships and making new acquaintances. My sincere thank you goes to all of the company-sponsored events for yet another chance to meet and converse with colleagues from 22 countries.

"The flight today is fairly short to Toronto..." The days of the conference went by quickly. During the short time, I could detect the renewed excitement and focus on swine topics by many. It was an environment charged with encouragement and support, and of giving and receiving.

"You are now allowed to move around the..." First Lady Carol Waddell graciously piloted the spouse's tour to Niagara Falls on Monday. The tour gave spouses a chance to share family news and photos, fellowship, and support. I understand that the stop at the winery was most memorable, especially for those who sampled and purchased. The ice wine (ask your spouse!) is still a point of conversation!

"This is your pilot speaking. We will be experiencing a bit of turbulence, so please return to your seat and fasten your seat belt. We will be circling for a while ..." One area that will take lots of AASV members' energy and time is welfare. This topic is important to our daily activities as veterinarians, but not all aspects are currently endorsed by AVMA. Several AASV members took the opportunity to discuss welfare with the AVMA representatives during the meeting, and momentum has been created. You can be proud of how AASV members are connected and focused on welfare.

"We are experiencing very good tail winds, which will give us a 'boost'..." Dr Scott Dee started off Monday's session with a challenge first given to us by Dr Al Leman, but beautifully illustrated by Scott: "Would you hire you?" Drs Camille Moore and Laura Batista gave personal illustrations on lifelong learning and how this will allow you to hire yourself more days than not. Dr J.P. Vaillancourt challenged us to understand internal and external issues that affect the health status in a client's unit and the surrounding region. Dr Ernest Sanford provided additional fuel for the morning on years of change for the swine veterinarian, from a Canadian perspective.

"We have reached our cruising attitude of 30,000 feet ..." The meeting topics allowed us to increase our knowledge of basic research, but a theme of application prevailed. The mission statement of the AASV is to increase the knowledge of swine veterinarians by

  • Promoting the development and availability of the resources which enhance the effectiveness of professional activities;
  • Creating opportunities which inspire personal and professional growth;
  • Advocating science-based approaches to industry issues;
  • Encouraging personal and professional interaction; and
  • Mentoring students, encouraging lifelong careers as swine veterinarians.

Another illustration of lifelong learning can be seen in our spouses. Dr Al Scheidt's wife, Gwen, exemplified this theme by bringing Star, a service dog in training, to the meeting. Her efforts to train the service dog will make life easier for a disabled person. I am sure there are many other examples of veterinarians and their families who impact the lives of friends and neighbors.

"Now sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight ..." Many thanks go to our pilot, Dr Tom Burkgren, our co-pilot, Dr Sue Schulteis, and the hard-working crew of Pat Banwart, Tracy Raef, and Karen Richardson. The direction and foresight shown by those individuals made the meeting run smoothly. We must not sit back and relax too much. The seat belt sign is on, but there is much to be done! Dr John Waddell led the business of this meeting with vision. My journey was made memorable by the excellent insights of the program committee who expanded on the meeting's theme of lifelong learning and the application of the sciences through a terrific selection of speakers.

"As we prepare for landing, thank you for flying with AASV..." We made excellent time on this flight and need to get back home. When we land, you can turn your cell phones back on (and you will not be fined $50 by Dr K.T. Wright). Remember, items may have shifted in the overhead bins so be careful how your recently acquired knowledge is applied in your daily practice.

"Visibility looks good for the near future..."I am looking forward to the next meeting where our seats will be in an upright position. The table trays may remain down as we feast on yet more information.

Are you ready to go again - would you hire you?

-- Tom Gillespie