An acquaintance approached Dr. Roger Saltman in a diner in fall 2009 to congratulate him on becoming president of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners.
But he followed the congratulations by asking, "By the way, what is a bovine practitioner?"
Leaders of the AABP are considering a name change to increase public understanding of the organization, and Dr. Saltman is asking members to provide feedback. He wrote about the diner encounter—which was prompted by a local newspaper article about his new position—in a recent column at www.aabp.org.
The column states that in 2009, AABP leaders lobbying on Capitol Hill and participating in public forums were repeatedly asked whom they represented.
"In fact, Board Members and other volunteers are increasingly being asked to represent AABP in front of the general public in symposia and various other issues-type forums, and many of us have realized that our organization's name isn't easily recognizable to the people we are addressing or trying to influence," Dr. Saltman's column states.
He noted that members of the American Association of Swine Practitioners recognized a similar problem prior to changing their name to the American Association of Swine Veterinarians in 2001.
In an interview with JAVMA News, Dr. Saltman said he wants members to voice their opinions on whether their organization should change its name and, if so, what name would give the public a clear description of its function. The idea of changing the name has been discussed by members of the AABP Board of Directors and a committee of former association presidents.
"After 46 years of doing well under our current name, we really should only change the name if it will provide more value," Dr. Saltman said.
AABP leaders will likely evaluate the proposal and have a recommendation by the close of the organization's board meeting in March 2010, he said.
Dr. Saltman is asking members to contact their AABP district board representatives with comments. For contact information, go to www.aabp.org, scroll over "Home," then click on "Officers."