Veterinarians have been pioneers throughout their history, and one of the exciting frontiers where they are currently center stage is space exploration.
A special tribute to veterinarians' involvement in the space program is in store for attendees at the AVMA Annual Convention in Nashville. On Monday afternoon, July 15, the Laboratory Animal Medicine Section will present "Space 2002: NASA, Veterinarians, and Animals—A Winning Combination."
"We think this is the kind of program that will appeal to all who come to the AVMA convention," said program organizer and moderator, Dr. Lyndon Goodly—"even children. Veterinarians have played a very key role in the NASA program—from the Mercury missions to the collaboration with Russia on Kosmos to Spacelab, and we cover the whole range." History buffs should also find it interesting.
Dr. Goodly and the other organizers of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine/American Society of Laboratory Animal Practitioners-sponsored program strive to highlight the profession's accomplishments in a way that's timely and stimulating to all veterinarians, and even the general public.
Visuals will include plenty of slides and videos on aspects of the space program from the premanned flights to a spaceflight earlier this year on which one of the featured speakers, Dr. Rick Linnehan, was a crew member (see facing page).
Dr. Goodly said each veterinarian in the "all-star lineup of speakers" has been involved in the space program.
"Rick Linnehan has recently returned from space. John Fanton worked with the U.S.-Russian Kosmos program. Joe Bielitzki is well-known in laboratory animal medicine for his involvement in the space program. William Britz, an inventor whose company makes laboratory animal cages, has been involved in instrumentation for the space program. Richard Simmonds has been involved in the early attempts to care for animals in space."
Dr. Goodly is director of animal resources for life sciences at the University of Georgia. As ACLAM program committee chair, he arranged Space 2002 in collaboration with Dr. David Schabdach, AVMA laboratory animal medicine program coordinator.
"Attendees will come away with, perhaps, a deeper appreciation of the role veterinarians have played in the space program," Dr. Goodly said. "And they'll see what's involved in taking care of animals in space. They should come away really excited, perhaps even thinking about looking at laboratory animal medicine as a career and doing what Rick Linnehan is doing."
Space 2002 promises to be inspiring and informative, and Dr. Goodly invites everyone, "Come celebrate the contributions that veterinarians are making to our space program."