The 141st AVMA Annual Convention in Philadelphia, July 24-28, brought new educational opportunities, new programs for members, and new leadership for the Association.
With an estimated 9,013 attendees—including 4,126 veterinarians, 588 veterinary students, 645 veterinary technicians and veterinary technician students, and 127 practice staff—the convention was one of the Association's largest. The convention featured more than 900 hours of continuing education on topics ranging from public health to pain management, up from more than 850 last year. More than 95 hours of interactive lab sessions were offered—an all-time high number of opportunities for hands-on experiences. The popular Sunrise CE sessions returned this year, and new Brown Bag Lunchtime Learning sessions were introduced, allowing attendees to make the most of every minute at convention.
Additionally, an exhibit hall with more than 300 exhibitors allowed convention-goers to browse state-of-the-art technology and products. Convention-goers were able to quickly and easily share their contact information with exhibitors, using new electronic lead retrieval cards.
Convention attendees learned about several new AVMA projects at this year's convention. The AVMA launched a Web-based mentoring program designed to enhance personal and professional growth of AVMA members of all ages. The AVMA's online Veterinary Career Center debuted a new program called Career Fair. The program expands on the VCC's resumé and job posting database, which allows employers and job seekers to find each other. Fort Dodge Animal Health and the AVMA announced that October will be designated National Pet Wellness Month and unveiled details of a joint educational initiative. And conventioneers learned that a new Member Information Update Form would allow them to update their AVMA membership information online.
The General Session, sponsored by Hill's Pet Nutrition Inc., featured a keynote presentation by Emmy Award-winning broadcast journalist Deborah Norville, anchor of "Inside Edition" and former co-host of the "Today Show." Also appearing, courtesy of Merial Ltd., were Dr. Patricia M. Hogan, a veterinarian who helped Smarty Jones recover from a serious injury (and a recipient of the 2004 AVMA President's Award), and John Servis, the trainer who helped Smarty race to victory in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.
During Family Night, sponsored by Bayer Animal Health, on July 26, AVMA conventioneers had exclusive access to the galleries and patriotic exhibits at the National Constitution Center. Nearly 2,000 conventioneers explored the 160,000-square foot museum, sampled local fare, and enjoyed entertainment.
At the close of the convention, Dr. Bonnie V. Beaver began her term as AVMA president, and among other things, vowed to lead the profession to a more active role in the public debate about animal well-being. Dr. Henry E. Childers was elected by the AVMA House of Delegates to be AVMA president-elect for 2004-2005, and Dr. René A. Carlson was installed as vice president. Dr. Roger K. Mahr announced his candidacy for 2005-2006 AVMA president-elect during the convention. Additionally, the HOD voted on several resolutions.
Coverage of the convention and the House of Delegates are featured in this issue of JAVMA News. More convention coverage will follow in the Sept. 15 issue, and reports from veterinary organizations that met at convention will be published Oct. 1.