July 15, 2004


 Officers on the road

Posted July 1, 2004
Officers on the road is a monthly feature of the JAVMA News, designed to let AVMA members know about the issues their leadership is addressing.

Officers on the road

How do you feel about your term as AVMA president?

 Dr. Jack O. Walther, 2003-2004 AVMA president, responds:

I feel very good about having accomplished the objectives I set out to do. The Task Force on State Legislative and Regulatory Initiatives is up and running; the Task Force on Communications is approved, and we're in the process of appointing its members; we've rejoined PANVET (Panamerican Association of Veterinary Sciences); and we've had a very successful year with our legislative priorities. So, overall, I'm about as satisfied as I could be.

Are you happy with the AVMA's direction this past year?

I'm extremely happy. Our legislative task force appears to be extremely popular with the state VMAs. Cooperation within the states and with the AVMA is better than it's ever been, which was one of the purposes of the task force—bringing together the state associations and the AVMA for a better working relationship. Both the AVMA and state associations have recognized that, in order to be effective, particularly with the animal rights issues and legislative issues, we've got to work together. If we don't, we will not succeed.

Any particular accomplishment you feel especially proud of?

I authored both recommendations for the legislative and communications task forces. And I think I've helped the NCVEI (National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues) with their financial needs. I'm a tremendous believer in the commission; it's made such a difference to our profession.

My two proudest moments as AVMA president are testifying about chronic wasting disease before a U.S. Senate subcommittee and traveling to Brazil to present our membership application to PANVET. That has great long-term value to the AVMA and the entire North American veterinary profession.

Any disappointments?

Overall, no. There's always a little frustration with your term going by so quickly. If I had had a little more time, I would have worked more closely with the Department of Agriculture and other federal agencies.

There's a lot of work that still needs to be done. But part of my goal this year was to maintain the continuity among AVMA presidents that was started a few years ago, so I've worked closely with President-Elect Bonnie Beaver. I think that's gone very well. The continuity of the AVMA has never been better.

What challenges do you anticipate the AVMA will face in the years ahead?

The economic issues are something we need to work on continually. The NCVEI has done a remarkable job in a short time, but that job is nowhere near being done. The AVMA and our partners are going to have to be sure that we continue with the NCVEI and continue with the enthusiasm that has allowed it to function. Sometimes it's hard to maintain the momentum for an organization like the NCVEI. It's human nature to sometimes rest on our laurels, but we've got to be sure not to do that.