January 01, 2013


 Lots in store for AVMA Sesquicentennial

Highlights include traveling exhibition, book

​Posted Dec. 13, 2012
The AVMA is turning 150 this year and is ready to party.
Official proclamations, historical exhibits, and a book about the Association are just part of the events and material created to commemorate this big event.
“The AVMA’s 150th anniversary gives us the opportunity to express our congratulations and heartfelt gratitude to those who have given so much to the profession and the Association. The past contributions of AVMA members have helped to build our economy, shape our societal values, and serve the public while providing care to countless animals.
“At the same time, we are using this special occasion to launch the ‘new’ AVMA that is focusing on better meeting the needs of our members, both now and in the future,” said Dr. Ron DeHaven, AVMA CEO. 

Taking it on the road

Perhaps the biggest coup for the AVMA has been securing a partnership with the Smithsonian Institution to create a traveling exhibition on veterinary medicine.
The exhibition will tour the country from coast to coast, helping visitors of all ages explore the complex connections between animals and humans and illustrating how veterinary practitioners, pet owners, farmers, animal scientists, and others contribute to both animal and human health and well-being. The exhibition’s activities and information will introduce visitors to innovative fields of research and give them new ways to look at the enduring relationship between animals and people. Throughout the exhibition, visitors will be reminded that it is a tribute to the 150th Anniversary of the AVMA.
J.B. Hancock, director of the AVMA Communications Division, has been working with the Smithsonian to create the exhibition since she first came to the AVMA 7 1/2 years ago. The Smithsonian maintains control of the production and design—as is customary—and has brought in more than a dozen veterinarians as consultants on the project.

The exhibition will include some 1,000 square feet of interactive displays, banners, photographs, video screens, and objects to touch, along with a hands-on veterinary “clinic of the future.” It will be contained in a semitrailer with expandable sides.
The exhibition’s two-year, 75-city tour will premiere at Chicago’s McCormick Place during the 2013 AVMA Annual Convention. The tour will feature appearances at science museums, university veterinary programs, pet retail venues, state and county fairs, National FFA Organization and 4-H conventions, schools, zoos, and other animal-centric locations in American cities, large and small.
“Only so many museums would have the space for a special exhibit this size, plus we would be limited in the number of museums we could accommodate due to the time it takes to ship and assemble an exhibit,” Hancock said. “By putting it on wheels, we are able to hit more cities and places where there aren’t museums—communities that might not see it otherwise.”
There are plans for the exhibition to make appearances at future AVMA conventions in Denver (2014) and Boston (2015). The AVMA also hopes to work closely with state VMAs so they can participate in some way when the exhibit comes to their state, Hancock said.
Pfizer Animal Health is the sponsor of the exhibition, which will ultimately cost $3.4 million to create. As more donors are identified, there are possibilities for other components, including games, mobile applications, curriculum materials, seminars and lectures, and website materials. 

The official premiere

The AVMA Sesquicentennial will kick off at the Associ­ation’s Veterinary Leadership Conference, Jan. 3-6 in Chicago. An exhibition booth will greet attendees with 150th-branded giveaways for all ages, including animal tattoos and license plate holders; an interactive historical timeline with milestones of organized veterinary medicine and critical intersections of the AVMA and the profession; and a tabletop display on the AVMA, highlighting its accomplishments over the past 150 years. The anniversary display was created by the American Veterinary Medical History Society.
Premiering at the conference is the 150th Anniversary book, “The AVMA: 150 years of education, science, and service,” which is also the anniversary logo’s tag line. In the book’s preface, the JAVMA editor-in-chief, Dr. Kurt J. Matushek, explains that the book “is not a definitive history of the AVMA. And, is not meant to be. ... What this book does represent is a celebration of the AVMA and all it has accomplished for its members and the veterinary profession during its first 150 years. Written from eight unique perspectives, it focuses on what have come to be called the core competencies of the AVMA: the annual convention and scientific journals and the AVMA’s roles in advocating for the veterinary profession and improving veterinary education.”
The 150th anniversary book will be distributed to each registered conference attendee, and shortly after the event, the book will be available for sale at the online AVMA Store at www.avma.org. Proceeds will be directed to AVMA future-generation programming, which includes support of initiatives such as the Early Career Development Committee and the Compass Mentoring Program. Later in the year, an e-book version will be available at www.smashwords.com. Veterinary schools and colleges and AVMA volunteer leaders will be given complimentary copies.
Also making their debut at the VLC will be two videos produced by the AVMA for the sesquicentennial. The first, called “My AVMA,” features introductions of members from across the country and across generations, their memberships ranging from two weeks to 47 years. And, a few talented members offer their take on “Happy Anniversary, AVMA.” The other video is a historical look at the 150 years of the AVMA. It is told through the perspective of archival  pictures coupled with audio from veterinarians saying why they love “the greatest pro-fession on earth.” 

Other notable items

The AVMA will keep the celebration going throughout 2013 with the following:
  • A 30-second advertisement was created by the Association to promote the various facets of the profession. The ad will run before showings of the movie “Monsters University” the week of the June 21 premiere in select markets nationwide.
  • Daily veterinary trivia will appear on www.avma.org, on www.facebook.com/avmavets, and on the Twitter feed @AVMAvets from mid-January until June 9—the day a meeting was held in 1863 at the Astor House in New York City to form the United State Veterinary Medical Association, which later became the AVMA.
  • Congressional resolutions and a presidential proclamation to recognize the Association’s sesquicentennial are being sought by the AVMA Governmental Relations Division. Adrian Hochstadt, director of the AVMA State Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Department within the Communications Division, will work with the state VMAs on state proclamations.
  • The AVMA Annual Convention, to be held July 19-23 in Chicago, will have an interactive historical display in the convention center; a 150th Anniversary Historical Symposium hosted by the AVMHS; and a 150th Anniversary Education Symposium, during which eight veterinary students will present their research on the profession’s historical roots and successes and their vision for the future as the next generation of veterinarians. The Welcome Center, sponsored in part by the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine and Illinois State VMA; Trails for Tails 5K event; and President’s Reception also will be in honor of the 150th anniversary.
  • A special line of 150th anniversary–branded apparel will be available through the AVMA online store and at select conferences throughout the year, courtesy of Lands’ End. Proceeds will be directed to the AVMA future-generation programming.

Many more celebration activities are on deck for 2013. For the most current and comprehensive information on the AVMA 150th Anniversary Campaign, visit www.avma.org/150th. For information on individual or organizational participation in the campaign, contact Jodie Taggett via email at jtaggett@avma.org.