AASV Members' Forum

At the last meeting of your AASV
Public Relations Committee, we
had a lively discussion. Now that our name has changed to better reflect our membership, the question was asked, "Just whom should the AASV be trying to relate to?" We came up with a long but very basic list that can be broken down into the following key segments.

1. Current AASV Members (Because the AASV relates primarily to its membership, it has been suggested that the Public Relations and Membership Committees should be combined.)

2. Prospective AASV members

3. Veterinary students

4. North American veterinarians involved in the swine industry who are not currently AASV members

5. Veterinarians from outside North America

6. Veterinarians who do not work with swine

7. The swine industry

8. Pork consumers

9. The general public

Those of you who attended the annual meeting in Nashville may have seen public relations at work when there was a "protest demonstration" in front of the hotel by a group who hold strong beliefs and have a specific agenda. As I watched the demonstration, I couldn't help but think how effective their public relations activities are. Only three people were there, representing a minority position, yet with all the cameras there also, they were able to reach thousands of people with their message.

Like it or not, the old adage that perception becomes reality has truth in it. Now, finally, to get to the purpose of this column and future columns: the Public Relations Committee needs help in answering two questions. First, what image are we projecting to the nine segments of the population listed above? And second, what image do we need to project?

We want to represent the views of the membership, and provide a forum to express those views. In future columns we would like to publish your thoughts and ideas. The following questions will help you think about the issues.

  • What is the current mission of the AASV?
  • What should be the mission of the AASV?
  • How well does the AASV serve your needs?
  • What is the greatest value you receive from the AASV?
  • What would you most like to see the AASV do that is not currently being done?
  • What is the biggest obstacle you have to overcome in the next 5 years to be professionally successful?
  • What do you plan to do differently in the next 5 years to adapt to the changing swine industry?
  • If the AASV no longer existed, what would you miss most?
  • Which of the nine population segments listed above should be the focus of the AASV Public Relations Committee?
  • What do we want each of those segments to believe about the swine industry?
  • What should be our message to each of those segments?
  • What vehicles should be used to deliver the message?

No, we are not planning an expensive PR campaign, but we are seeking to better understand the issues so that we can better address them, with the benefit of providing a forum to obtain and share ideas from the membership. We need to know what you are thinking and how the Public Relations Committee can better address today's demands. Please e-mail your thoughts to PRcomm@aasv.org. We will definitely use all responses and share your ideas with the membership in future columns.

--contributed by Dr. Bruce McClain, DVM