I have just returned from the AVMA Leadership Conference in Chicago, Illinois. This is my second time attending this conference as an AASV officer. It is, however, my third time overall, as I attended this conference when I was president-elect of the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association (NCVMA). As I reflect on the conference, I am further convinced that organized veterinary medicine is a benefit for each and every veterinarian involved in the profession of veterinary medicine. While we do not always agree with our colleagues from other types of practice, we can always find common ground that is good for the profession as a whole. The only way we as food-animal-based veterinarians can continue to have a voice in that process is to be involved.
The “Emerging Leaders” component of the AVMA Leadership Conference is new since my days as an NCVMA officer. It is, however, one of the more pleasant aspects of attendance. Meeting these new graduates and seeing their enthusiasm for veterinary medicine makes me feel more invigorated about our profession. The AASV was represented at the meeting by two of our emerging leaders in Dr Jason Hocker and Dr Angie Supple.
As I look forward to this coming year as president of the AASV, I am somewhat intimidated by the challenge of how to make a difference and lead this organization forward. Several workshops that I attended this past weekend were designed to make me a better leader. Hopefully, I can incorporate some of the suggestions in my actions as president.
My biggest hope would be to inspire each and every member of the AASV to become more involved not only in this association, but also in the AVMA and your state veterinary associations. Food-animal medicine has to be proactive in telling our story not only to the consuming public, but also to our colleagues in other areas of veterinary medicine.
The swine industry faces many challenges in 2011, offering swine veterinarians the opportunity to partner with our producers and find solutions. The challenge that comes to mind first is the PRRS virus. The AASV and the NPB have committed themselves to eliminating this virus from the swine population. Although elimination will not be accomplished this year, regional control projects are underway in many parts of the country. The information gained from these projects will hopefully fuel further progress down the road.
Animal well-being is also going to be on the table and is an issue that will provide our profession with the opportunity to show leadership in a science-based approach to a very emotional problem. Research must be directed at sow housing to determine what is best for the animal in an all-inclusive manner. Dr David Fraser challenged us in his keynote address at the IPVS in Vancouver to consider the production, economic, and behavioral aspects of animal husbandry as we conduct research on all areas of swine health and husbandry.
Antibiotic resistance and the role of antibiotic use in food animals are being scrutinized by the current administration and members of Congress. Many members of the AASV and other food-animal organizations have been very active in trying to educate lawmakers and the public on the science of this issue, but emotions have taken over in the decision-making process.
I have outlined briefly the major opportunities we have as a veterinary profession. Hopefully you can see that the successes we have had and can hope to have are through the combined efforts of not only the AASV, but also the AABP, AAAP, AVMA, NPB, and NPPC. These organizations can be successful only if they have an active membership. The AASV and its staff of Drs Burkgren, Schulteis, and Snelson work very hard on these and other issues that we face as swine veterinarians. We are very fortunate to have them and their expertise. I would also like to thank Dr Paul Ruen and Dr Butch Baker for their leadership and mentoring the last 2 years. They have been very effective leaders for this organization.
Thank you for the opportunity to be president of this organization and for your continued support. I hope to see you in Phoenix.
-- Randy Jones, DVM