The AVMA House of Delegates elected Dr. Gregory S. Hammer of Dover, Del., as the Association's next president-elect while meeting in Hawaii, July 14.
Flanked by his wife, Karen, Dr. Hammer commented after the election results were announced, "This is a very humbling experience." He then asked delegates to recognize Dr. Charles L. Stoltenow of Great Bend, N.D., who also was a candidate for the office of president-elect.
The Delaware VMA nominated Dr. Hammer to be the AVMA president-elect with support from the California and Kansas VMAs.
"I'd like to pledge as president-elect to help President [Roger K.] Mahr with his new initiative in one world, one profession, one medicine," Dr. Hammer said, referring to the incoming president's plan to create a national commission uniting human and veterinary medicines. "I think it's important to continue the efforts of the presidents before us, and I think continuity is the prime way we do that.
"I promise to do my very, very best. I will do my best to represent you, represent the AVMA, and represent our veterinary profession. It's a very, very big honor."
After receiving a DVM degree from Kansas State University, Dr. Hammer became a small animal/equine practitioner and owner of an animal hospital. He served for more than a decade in the AVMA House of Delegates. Later, he was elected to represent Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia on the AVMA Executive Board in 1999.
During his six-year tenure on the board, Dr. Hammer served in a variety of capacities, such as vice chair of the board and chair of the Legislative Advisory and Long Range Planning committees.
In an interview with JAVMA News earlier this year, Dr. Hammer identified five areas he would like to see the AVMA continue to address: animal welfare, communications, legislative impact, relationships with the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, and professional unity (see JAVMA, March 1, 2006, pages 661-663).
"Animal welfare continues to affect all of us every day in every aspect at all practices," he said. "We must continue to be leaders for animal well-being; we cannot let others dictate to us. We need to use the expertise of our allied organizations to answer the concerns of a public raised farther from the farm."
Legislative issues at the national and state levels are affecting veterinarians like never before, he continued. "While I was on the AVMA Executive Board, we funded a new department to communicate and facilitate an interaction between state VMAs and state legislation. We are working harder in D.C. to lobby for veterinary medicine on student issues, small business concerns, research, agriculture, and other matters of concern to our members.
"We have the opportunity to help our veterinary colleges immediately. Schools are working with 30-year-old or older infrastructures. We must get behind the Veterinary Workforce Expansion Act and get it passed. We will improve our relationship with all veterinary medical colleges and lobby with them."