This summer, veterinary representatives from Australia and Afghanistan made separate visits to AVMA offices, followed by calls on Capitol Hill arranged by AVMA staff.
Graham Catt, CEO of the Australian Veterinary Association, visited AVMA headquarters, meeting with his counterpart, CEO W. Ron DeHaven, and the Association's division directors. The Australian leader told Dr. DeHaven the discussions could very well lead to further exchanges or even cooperative arrangements. He noted that the associations are closely aligned in their challenges and response strategies.
Later, Catt traveled to Washington, D.C., and was hosted by Dr. Mark. T. Lutschaunig, director of the AVMA Governmental Relations Division, and his staff. They arranged meetings for Catt with Sen. John Ensign of Nevada and Rep. Kurt Schrader of Oregon, who are both veterinarians. The Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act was among the topics discussed.
A contingent of Afghan veterinarians also toured the AVMA's Washington office, engaging with Dr. Lutschaunig and his GRD staff. Among the foreign guests was Dr. Said Gul Safi, president and CEO of the Afghan Veterinary Association, who in April spent three weeks on an educational tour at AVMA headquarters in Schaumburg, Ill. (see JAVMA, June 15, 2009, page 1494).
In late July, the State Department asked Dr. Lutschaunig to arrange Capitol Hill visits for the contingent. In one visit, the Afghan veterinarians met with Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas and his staff. The senator asked many questions about the country's infrastructure and other needs. The Afghan veterinarians discussed the current situation, particularly as it relates to animal health and the desire to build the veterinary infrastructure to service their country. They also talked about Afghanistan's security status.
Australian Veterinary Association CEO Graham Catt meets with Sen. John Ensign of Nevada (left) and Rep. Kurt Schrader of Oregon, who are veterinarians.
Afghan veterinarians on Capitol Hill: Dr. Said Gul Safi, president and CEO, Afghan Veterinary Association; Dr. Robert Mason Smith, U.S. Department of Agriculture; Dr. Najeeburahman Alkozai, provincial veterinarian, Nangarhar Province; Sen. Sam Brownback; Dr. Sayed Rafiullah Halim, dean, Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, Nangarhar University; Dr. Noorullah Ahmadzai, Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, Kabul University; Dr. Ahmad Zekria, Dutch Committee for Afghanistan; and Dr. Mohammad Shapoor Basiri, Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, Nangarhar University.