The legacy of the AASV
Since graduating from the veterinary college at Iowa State University in 1982, I have enjoyed the practice of veterinary medicine. Although my roles have changed in the past 25 years, every role has been exciting and enjoyable except one. I have never enjoyed being on call on holidays. Holidays seem like a time to relax, spend time with family, and just get away from work. I happened to be on call on New Year’s Day 2008 and spent the day relaxing and watching some extremely boring football games. No calls to the country, only one telephone call, minimal animals at the clinic: this New Year’s was just about perfect. That is, until I tried to get a good night’s sleep. At two o’clock in the morning the telephone rang and to my utmost disgust, a political recording starting playing, encouraging me to attend the Iowa Caucuses and vote for this particular candidate. To make matters worse, this candidate would be last person I would ever vote for. I have threatened to move to another country if this person gets elected. I hung up the phone in disgust, fell back to sleep only to have the phone ring again at four in the morning with the same recording. Now I’m really hot. This time, I vowed to never vote for another president and could not wait for the !?#! Iowa Caucuses to be done. What good is a president anyway? Promises the world and in the end just fades away under the permanent guard of the Secret Service.
The next morning I was still fuming about my late-night phone calls and I remembered that I needed to write my last “President’s message.” It was at that time that I recalled the nasty feelings I had towards candidates and especially presidents and all of their empty promises. It was extremely hard to start writing my last article under these circumstances. Just what had been accomplished this past year? I was quite sure that no one would be available to protect me after my term, so I would probably just fade away and live off the president’s pension.
Having the opportunity to serve as president of the AASV has been one of the most enjoyable experiences of my professional career. Not that the term does not have its challenges, but the ability to work with the members of this association to fulfill the mission of the AASV has been extremely rewarding. Occasionally, we need to reflect on the many successes we had in the past year. The PRRS Risk Assessment tool (Web-based version developed and implemented) has been successfully moved to the AASV and the potential of this program has yet to be fully utilized. The association worked diligently to promote the early release of PCV2 vaccine, insured the supply of iron dextran for everyone, and encouraged a better pathway for the release of influenza vaccines. The first “Summer Conference” for the practicing veterinarian was formed and will be back in Ames, Iowa, again this summer. The AASV has worked diligently so veterinarians understand the expectations of the 30-day health rule for health certificates and continues to clarify the practical application of this rule. We continue to promote active student involvement in the association, and the results continue to be impressive. Due to the continued financial support of AASV and the AASV Foundation, student attendance and participation at the annual meetings continues to grow. This past year, 15 students presented orally at the annual meeting, with nine students presenting posters. In 2008, the number grows to 15 oral presentations and 16 posters. The Student Recruitment Committee continues to provide outreach to students, creating a new brochure in 2007 and making the first appearance at the National FFA convention. Podcasts and videos of the annual meeting speakers are now available on the Web site. In June, the officers and staff of AASV visited Washington, DC, and spent several days visiting key stakeholders. The association and the foundation continue to be financially and economically sound. Finally, the annual meeting was held at a warm-weather site for the second time, with a fantastic attendance. In fact, the attendance was good enough to encourage the board that San Diego would be a perfect site for the 2008 meeting.
Although we did not find the silver bullet for PRRS (I’ll leave that up to Dr Keffaber to handle next year), the association did have great success stories for the year. None of these would have been possible without the outstanding staff of the AASV. Dr Tom Burkgren, Dr Harry Snelson, and Dr Sue Schulteis just may be the finest staff of veterinarians that the AASV could assemble. I want to also thank the other officers, Dr Kerry Keffaber, Dr Butch Baker, and Dr Scott Dee. They and the other members of the association create the legacy of AASV. As president, I was just blessed to have the opportunity to help the staff, officers, and board develop a plan and strategy for the future. I want to take this opportunity to thank every member of the association for allowing me the opportunity to serve as your president for the past year. As I leave office, I have the opportunity to fade away (I took a huge blow when I read the fine print in the bylaws and realized that there has never been and will never be a pension for the past president) or continue to stay actively involved, promoting swine veterinarians and our association in the future. This decision is easy. I think I would miss everyone too much.
--Daryl Olsen, DVM