As a District II Director candidate, I offer a wealth of experience and knowledge in national, state and local leadership as well as national and international academic and professional educational endeavors. As an AVMA member for 35 years and a student of environmental concerns for even longer, I have experienced how human, non-human life and the earth are bound together in the now recognized “One Health” paradigm. We as veterinary professionals are perhaps the one profession best suited to scientifically disseminate the importance of One Health. However, we need to match our professional skills with policy skills that will allow us to interact with those who are like-minded as well as cross thinking individuals worldwide if we are to forge collaborative opportunities between veterinary professions, human healthcare professions, environmentally related disciplines, and diverse policymakers.
As a member of university faculty governance groups, a local board of trustees representative for western Pennsylvania, a congressional fellow on Capitol Hill, a member of the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA), member of the PVMA Executive Committee, PVMA president, and now the immediate past president, I have seen the importance of local control or home rule of our professional associations. The changes that effect our profession, our communities, and our families are more easily and earliest observed at the micro level of home but, if we as veterinary professionals are to have an impact on policy, regulations, laws, and governance from the international as well as national and state levels then policymakers must see a strong confederated AVMA that has the strength of numbers and the bidirectional communication to mobilize quickly with one voice. This is the skill that will allow veterinary medicine to demand a seat at any table that is drafting the rules that will affect our communities.
District II is a very dynamic district with a very high population density, a diverse demographic map, and expansive economic drivers such as industry and strong tech centers that included computers, petrochemical and biomedical research centers. The economic strength of District II depends on research and the utilization and integration of products from around the world and the attraction of the beauty of natural wonders that draws visitors to District II states like bees to a flower. Therefore, we must be able to recognize and communicate the sentinel signs when foreign meets America for better or for worst. Like the recognition of the West Nile Virus in the Bronx, this requires the veterinary professional to be at the forefront, and if we aren’t, it will have a detrimental and far-reaching economic and medical impact. The job of the District II representative is to encourage, and at times direct, communication. District II is home to the policymakers of American and, in truth, international interests and equally important, District II is also a bread basket for the country, if not the world. To protect the interests of our home, plant earth, our food sources, the health of our communities, and international trade, we as veterinary professionals must have constant vigilance and strong communication while maintaining a diverse, respected and prosperous veterinary community that has access to the deepest enclaves of policy.
To ensure that our veterinary communities remain diverse will require work. We must ensure that a veterinary medical education remains affordable to all that are qualified and that the veterinary medical profession is recognized as a national strategic asset. New fields of emerging veterinary opportunities that may revolutionize the profession and the environs of the world must be filled by qualified veterinary medical professionals able to recognize new business models or the impact of genomics to multi-species medical devices yet to be developed. This requires a professional organization that is modern, forward thinking, willing and able to represent, and, at times, engage for resources to keep veterinary medicine a vital decision maker on the world policy stage.
District II and the American Veterinary Medical Association has much to gain from strong representation from an individual who understands and highlights the wide-ranging, emerging opportunities, the diversity and trends that exist for the veterinary profession in District II and nationally, while also understanding the impact of these opportunities on the national, as well as, the international stage, always using the concept of “One Health” as the driving principle. If elected, I strongly believe I bring these capabilities and understanding to the District II position and will ably and passionately serve the veterinary professionals of District II and all the members of the American Veterinary Medical Association if given the privilege to serve.
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