September 15, 2005


 Student AVMA delegates convene in Minneapolis

SAVMA considers proposed constitution/bylaws changes, Hawaii convention 

Posted Sept. 1, 2005 

As they walked through the exhibit hall or sat in the educational sessions, veterinarians may have noticed many veterinary students attending the 142nd AVMA Annual Convention/28th World Veterinary Congress. Some students came for the educational programs, and others were seeking job opportunities, but many of them were there for the Student AVMA House of Delegates.

The SAVMA HOD consists of two representatives (a senior and a junior delegate) from each veterinary college in the United States as well as those at the Atlantic Veterinary College, Ross University, and St. George's University. The meeting, held July 16 and 17 in Minneapolis, was one of the two opportunities that the SAVMA HOD convened this year to deliberate on matters germane to all veterinary students. Delegates also met in March during the SAVMA Educational Symposium, held at the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Officers presiding over the meeting were Travis McDermott, Texas A&M University, president; Jodi Woods, University of Wisconsin-Madison, secretary; Heather Heidrich, Ross University, treasurer; Lori Braun, St. George's University, information technology officer; Bindy Comito, Iowa State University, international exchange officer; Karen Eilers, Western University, international exchange officer-elect; and Jackie Chow, University of Illinois, Intervet editor.

Actions taken during the meeting included introduction of numerous proposed changes to the SAVMA Constitution and Bylaws. These proposals include changing the name of the SAVMA publication, Intervet, to The Vet Gazette; changing the term of the SAVMA president-elect to allow attendance at the AVMA HOD; and restructuring some of the guidelines for the SAVMA Educational Symposium. These proposed changes will be discussed and voted on at the upcoming SAVMA symposium in March 2006 at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine in Minneapolis.

An issue that was addressed involved a problem concerning next year's AVMA Annual Convention in Honolulu. Most of the student representatives rely on the student chapter of the AVMA at each of their respective colleges to reimburse them for expenses associated with attendance at SAVMA HOD meetings. The increased cost associated with travel to Hawaii, however, would be greater than many of those SCAVMA chapters could reasonably afford. To help reduce this financial burden on the SCAVMAs, the SAVMA HOD approved a recommendation from the Executive Committee to provide funding for each chapter. This financial support from SAVMA will be distributed to all SCAVMAs at the upcoming SCAVMA Faculty Advisor/Student Leadership Conference, Sept. 23-24 at AVMA headquarters.

Members of the SAVMA HOD also had the opportunity to hear speeches from many distinguished guests, including former Montana Sen. John Melcher, who was the first veterinarian to become a U.S. senator, and Dr. Rick DeBowes, who spoke on the importance of the Veterinary Leadership Experience. The VLE program is based on the Washington State University Veterinary Orientation Program, and it stresses the need for servant-based leadership, communication, and emotional competence for veterinary students and veterinarians.

The SAVMA HOD was also addressed by members of the AVMA Governmental Relations Division, who spoke on the Capwiz program for contacting representatives, the AVMA GRD Externship Program, and the importance of being involved in policy making. Other presentations included those by Amy Stephens from the AVMA Group Health and Life Insurance Trust, who spoke about the importance of health and life insurance for veterinary students, and Carmen Yeamans (KSU '07), representing the newly formed Veterinary Business Medical Association.

As the meeting came to a close, new members of the 10 SAVMA HOD committees were assigned, outgoing delegates were recognized, and new officers were installed. New SAVMA Executive Committee officers elected at this meeting were Kara Tassone, St. George's University, president-elect; Heather Manfredi, University of Florida, secretary-elect; Laura Butler Cauthen, Texas A&M University, treasurer-elect; Devon Hague, The Ohio State University, information technology officer-elect; and Alix Partnow, University of Illinois, Intervet editor-elect. These officers will be sworn in at the SAVMA HOD meeting during the SAVMA Educational Symposium in March 2006, which will be hosted by the University of Minnesota.