Our winter weather has run the gamut this year. The warm thaw and rain that followed the super cold has created ice everywhere. Great care is needed to navigate our precarious environment safely. Yesterday, our 20 year-old Quarter Horse gelding, Joe, wandered out and found himself stuck in the middle of slick ice. So there he stood, in what seemed to be deep equine contemplation, trying to sort out what to do. Only after a long pause did he creep away with baby steps to better footing.
In veterinary medicine, segments of our profession, can sometimes find themselves in challenging situations. Luckily though, we don’t have to solve the problems alone like Joe did. We have organized ourselves to work collectively for the good of our profession and society. Unintended consequences that arise at the intersections of human endeavor must be resolved in a positive and constructive manner. Organized veterinary medicine, the AVMA and state VMA’s, are our voice in these efforts.
The AVMA meets regularly to discuss important and timely issues. One of those meetings is the Veterinary Leadership Conference (VLC) held every year in early January in Chicago. The VLC includes AVMA governance meetings and CE training focused on leadership and development. The WVMA sends a delegation to this event every year. Our delegation includes our executive director, AVMA delegate and alternate, president-elect, president and two young emerging leaders. As such, this was my second year attending.
Our President-Elect, Dr. Alan Holter and I attended an orientation on the governance of the AVMA with our Emerging Leaders, DeAnna Kosanovich a second-year student at UW School of Veterinary Medicine and Dr. Rheba Zimmerman a 2016 graduate of the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine. Both of these young ladies are/were non-traditional veterinary
students. They both had significantly varied life experiences prior to admittance to veterinary school. Their perspectives, passions and willingness to be involved in organized veterinary medicine
Workshops for personal and leadership development and improving one’s communication skills were provided later during the conference. Current issues like telemedicine and student debt were also addressed.
I found meeting with the state veterinary medical association’s delegations from our district (Illinois and Indiana) as well as the official business of the AVMA to be enlightening and gave me a better understanding and awareness of the many different issues
facing our broad profession. And then there were the chance engagements with other attendees between sessions or during meals that were so engaging. My world of rural large animal practice is removed from so many of the issues facing small animal practice.
I am grateful that our profession works collectively through the AVMA and the WVMA to be the voice of veterinary medicine in society. I greatly encourage anyone who has a passion for moving our profession forward to contact the WVMA about details of how to become involved.
As for Joe, I can only hope that he has gained some wisdom from his experience that will prevent him from getting into such a predicament again.