More than 50 students and Student AVMA officers from most of the nation's veterinary colleges gathered in Washington, D.C., March 1-3 to take part in the National Veterinary Student Legislative Day. The event, sponsored by the AVMA and Hill's Pet Nutrition Inc., was an opportunity for participants to learn from the AVMA Governmental Relations Division staff (Dr. Mark Lutschaunig, GRD director, shown above) about the art of political advocacy.
Students spent part of their time in lectures on such topics as effective lobbying tactics, the legislative process, and the current political climate. Later, they took to Capitol Hill to seek support for funding the National Veterinary Medical Service Act. The law established a program providing student debt relief to veterinarians who agree to work in underserved areas. The program should start accepting the first applicants this year. (Editor's note: NVMSA later received a $2.95 million appropriation in the omnibus spending bill.)