posted March 1, 2005
With his term as vice president of the World Veterinary Association coming to a close, Dr. Leon H. Russell Jr. is now seeking to lead the international organization for the next three years.
The AVMA has endorsed Dr. Russell's candidacy for WVA president, the success of which will be decided this July during the 28th World Veterinary Congress.
The AVMA is hosting the WVC, which will meet during the 142nd annual AVMA convention in Minneapolis. Since its creation in 1863, the WVC has convened in the United States only one other time, in 1934 in New York City.
If elected by the Presidents Assembly, Dr. Russell would become the first American president of the WVA. The other WVA vice president, Dr. Stanislav Knez of Croatia, appears to be the only other presidential contender so far.
"I feel honored that the AVMA has nominated me, and I intend to represent the AVMA and veterinary medicine in all global aspects of the WVA," Dr. Russell said.
Dr. Russell is a professor at Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine. His credentials include a PhD degree in veterinary microbiology, as well as a master's in public health.
The former AVMA president was elected as one of two WVA vice presidents in 2002 at the WVC in Tunis, Tunisia. Dr. Russell had previously been a councilor for the North American continent representing the United States in the association.
Dr. James E. Nave currently holds that position, and the AVMA Executive Board has renominated him to continue on when his three-year term expires this July.
The World Veterinary Association is the world's oldest international professional organization and comprises nearly a hundred member countries.
The association works closely with the Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations, World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), World Health Organization, and similar organizations on such matters as food safety, food security, antimicrobial resistance, animal welfare, and zoonotic diseases.
Nearly five years ago, the WVA observed the first World Veterinary Day as a time to highlight the profession's contributions to the health and well-being of humans and other animals. The theme of this year's World Veterinary Day on April 30 is "Veterinarians meeting the needs of society."
"It's important for associations like the AVMA to take an active part in the WVA," Dr. Russell observed, adding that the WVA helps shape global and regional policies concerning a variety of veterinary-related areas. He also stated, "Since the global veterinary profession is from diverse economies and cultures, and speaks a variety of languages, we must have a platform to share our needs and objectives—the WVA is that platform."
As a WVA officer, Dr. Russell attends meetings around the world on subjects ranging from foot-and-mouth disease eradication to protocols for transporting live animals across borders.