Photo by R. Scott Nolen
posted August 17, 2011
The AVMA House of Delegates has chosen Dr. Douglas G. Aspros of Pound Ridge, N.Y., as the 2011-2012 AVMA president-elect.
Delegates elected Dr. Aspros over Dr. Gary S. Brown of Princeton, W.Va., July 15 during the final day of the HOD regular annual session in St. Louis.
A small animal practitioner and former AVMA Executive Board member, Dr. Aspros campaigned as a seasoned veterinarian unafraid to challenge the status quo. He has said the problems facing the veterinary profession require the AVMA president "to be more than a cheerleader for the Association." Rather, the president must be a credible representative of the profession, both to AVMA members and the public (see JAVMA, May 15, 2011, pages 1221-1222).
After the election results were announced, a clearly humbled Dr. Aspros addressed the HOD, thanking delegates for their confidence and Dr. Brown for running a worthy campaign. "I think it really was the Association that was the winner," he said. "You got to elect a president, select a direction, rather than accepting the only choice that you're offered."
Dr. Aspros is a 1975 graduate of the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. As well as being a small business owner, he has chaired the AVMA Council on Education and for five years was director of the National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners.
In 2006, Dr. Aspros won a special election to fill an unexpired term representing District I—Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont—on the AVMA Executive Board.
From its simple beginnings in Lyon, France, to the present day, the veterinary profession has much to be proud of, Dr. Aspros told the HOD. The professional challenges of the present day are considerable, however, and he listed several: staggering educational debt; incursions into veterinary practice by nonveterinarians; declining office visits; distribution of small animal drugs through nonveterinary channels; the increase in nonprofit, corporate, and university practices; consolidation of the pharmaceutical industry; and the oversupply of companion animal practitioners.
Business is a necessary concern for the AVMA, Dr. Aspros said, and, with the turning of this century's second decade, "It's clear that what we thought about the economics of our profession no longer applies."
In addition, he said the AVMA needs to be a more effective leader and not simply a broker between other segments of the profession. "We can't afford to be fainthearted or politically correct," Dr. Aspros stated. "Unity isn't about seeking the lowest level in debates."
—Greg Cima contributed to this article.