The AVMA Group Health and Life Insurance Trust will continue its longstanding tradition of offering health screenings to AVMA members and spouses at the AVMA Annual Convention.
Screenings will once again be available when the Association gathers this year in Washington, D.C., July 14-18. Every year, hundreds of attendees of the AVMA Annual Convention take advantage of the health screenings offered at the Wellness Center. During last year's convention in Honolulu, 1,162 individuals—including veterinarians, students, and spouses—participated.
The AVMA GHLIT sponsors the annual Wellness Center as part of the Trust's commitment to preventive care and health screenings. Lipid tests provided include triglycerides, cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein, low-density lipoprotein, very low density lipoprotein, cholesterol/high-density lipoprotein ratio, and high-density lipoprotein/low-density lipoprotein.
The lipid tests, plus blood chemistry, hemoglobin, and prostate-specific antigen tests, are provided free of charge as a benefit to members and spouses. Members who would like a rabies titer test will appreciate the convenience of having this test done at the Wellness Center. The rabies titer test is provided for a nominal fee of $30.
The blood chemistry and lipid tests are of benefit to all convention attendees. The American Heart Association estimates that one in five adults in the nation has cholesterol concentrations greater than 200 mg/dL, which is the threshold where cholesterol is considered to be high. High cholesterol concentrations are linked to a host of cardiovascular problems.
Women—especially those of childbearing age—are urged to consider the benefits of the hemoglobin test, as this age group is at risk for iron-deficiency anemia. It is recommended that women in this age group consume 15 mg of iron a day, and pregnant women require twice that amount. But many American women do not meet these minimums. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that as many as 16 percent of adolescent and adult females ages 12 to 49 suffer from iron-deficiency anemia. The prevalence of iron deficiency is almost double among non-Hispanic black and Mexican-American females than among non-Hispanic white females.
Men are urged to consider the benefits of PSA testing. According to the American Cancer Society, the lifetime odds of developing prostate cancer are 1-to-6, making it one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers among men, and one of the leading causes of cancer death. The good news about prostate cancer is that it is highly treatable, especially when found early. According to the ACS, when the cancer is diagnosed while it is still localized, the five-year survival rate approaches 100 percent.
The PSA test is recommended for men over age 40. This test may be of particular interest to African-American men, or men with a family history of developing prostate cancer before 70 years of age, as these groups are both at increased risk. There are no specific guidelines for preventing prostate cancer because the cause is not known, though, following a healthy diet designed to reduce cancer risk in general may help. Those guidelines suggest a diet that includes less red meat and more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Foods high in lycopenes—such as tomatoes, pink grapefruit, and watermelon—may also lower cancer risk.
Members and spouses who participate in the Wellness Center health screenings will receive test results in the mail along with a personalized letter. Participants are urged to share these results with their personal physician. An annual wellness visit, recommended by the AVMA GHLIT, presents the ideal time to discuss the test results with the physician.
In addition to the annual health screenings offered by the AVMA GHLIT, the Trust offers a range of unique advantages.
With the Trust, premiums are based on the claims experience of AVMA members and their families—no other outside groups. There is no profit motive in the Trust, and no shareholders to answer to. Any excess funds are used to help stabilize the premium rates for all the GHLIT coverage plans.
Another unique advantage is that the Trust is supervised by a board of trustees, all of whom are veterinarians and AVMA members. The board works with insurance professionals to design and manage plans that meet the needs of veterinarians and their families, and to serve as a review board to represent member interests.
The AVMA GHLIT urges all members to be proactive about their health, and invites all attendees at the AVMA Annual Convention to take a positive step by participating in the important health screenings offered at the Wellness Center. The GHLIT looks forward to seeing veterinarians, students, and spouses in Washington, D.C., in July.
Wellness Center location, hours
The Wellness Center will be located near the registration area, just outside the exhibit hall of the Washington Convention Center. The Wellness Center hours will be as follows:
July 14: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
July 15, 16: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
July 17: 7:30 a.m. to noon