I've learned that we are an extremely diverse profession in all aspects of our species specialties and interests. Even with such diversity, we have major common issues to address that affect all of us. Those issues include raising our economic level, addressing the changing demographics of our profession, and ensuring that veterinarians remain among the most trusted and respected professionals. To maintain that public confidence, we have to properly assess our public's perception as the cost of veterinary care rises to be sure they understand the value of our services. We also need to address animal welfare issues. We need to be sure that we remain the ultimate animal welfare experts. All of these issues affect every person in this profession, no matter what his or her type of work.
Also, we have a new and emerging role to play among the world veterinary community. The positions the AVMA takes and the leadership we show will make a difference in the level of veterinary education and reciprocity for practice from country to country for years to come. Our ability to respond to worldwide disease outbreaks, whether deliberate or unintentional, can affect not only animal health but human health as well. We have a new and emerging role in this country's biosecurity. The changes since 9/11 are bringing all veterinarians to the forefront of protecting our country, whether they are first responders to a biological attack or serving as the best source of science-based information to the public. We all have a part to play.