About 400 veterinary students traveled to Washington, D.C., to attend the 144th AVMA Annual Convention, many of them for the thousand hours of continuing education and the attractions in our nation's capital.
More than 70 of the students, however, came specifically to participate as members of the Student AVMA House of Delegates. The July 15-16 meeting was the second of two meetings for the SAVMA delegates this year.
Delegates are working to bring the AVMA One-Health Initiative to life through the SAVMA One-Health Challenge. Via this ongoing new initiative, SAVMA and the student chapters of the AVMA aim to educate the public about veterinary medicine's role in the public health realm.
Each year, SAVMA will create its own one-health challenge, focusing on a specific disease or issue. This year, SAVMA spread the message through participation in World Rabies Day, Sept. 8. Through local student chapters of the AVMA, veterinary campus across the country will promote rabies prevention through educational symposia, community fundraisers, and other events this fall.
The SAVMA HOD discussed important issues concerning students and considered ways the association can benefit its constituents. Topics included the problem of rising student debt and the availability of scholarships and contest money provided by SAVMA.
In-between discussing student issues and revising their governance documents, delegates attended the AVMA Political Action Committee Congressional Club luncheon. The SAVMA HOD was honored by visits from several distinguished guests, including U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard of Colorado and former U.S. Sen. John Melcher.
The SAVMA HOD consists of two elected representatives from each of the U.S. veterinary schools and colleges, along with representatives from the Atlantic Veterinary College, Prince Edward Island, Canada; Ross University on St. Kitts, eastern Caribbean; and St. George's University, Grenada, West Indies.
The current SAVMA Executive Committee comprises Justin Sobota, University of Florida, president; Emily Eaton, University of Illinois, president-elect; Rachel Shaff, University of Illinois, secretary; Whitney Miller, Colorado State University, treasurer; Dominic Tauer, University of Minnesota, international exchange officer; Maci Keithly, Washington State University, information technology officer; and Erin Hicks, Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, The Vet Gazette editor.
Delegates serve on various SAVMA and AVMA committees that work to engage students in organized veterinary medicine at a grassroots level. Again this year, many committees noticed increased student interest in their programs. Highlighted areas include awareness of emerging veterinary issues, interest in the AVMA's involvement in governmental affairs, international veterinary student exchanges, and student efforts to promote public awareness of the veterinary profession. To encourage student involvement in organized veterinary medicine and recognize individual achievements, the SAVMA HOD voted to increase funding for many committee projects in the coming fiscal year.
New SAVMA Executive Committee officers were elected at the meeting. They are Cara Pugliese, The Ohio State University, secretary-elect; Cyndi Albert, Louisiana State University, treasurer-elect; Bryant Blank, Kansas State University, information technology officer-elect; and Beth Pelletier, Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, The Vet Gazette editor-elect.
The new officers will be sworn in at the SAVMA HOD meeting to be held in March 2008 during the SAVMA Educational Symposium. The co-hosts will be Auburn and Tuskegee universities.