May 01, 2013


 150 years of AVMA history to be spotlighted at convention

 Symposia, displays, historical performance lined up

Posted April 17, 2013 
This year’s AVMA Annual Convention, being held July 19-23 at McCormick Place in Chicago, will be the place for celebrating the AVMA’s 150th anniversary.

Convention staff and volunteers are drawing on a variety of resources to recognize the AVMA and highlight its impact on the veterinary profession while honoring 150 years of dedication and achievement.

It all starts with the opening session July 19 that will feature a sesquicentennial-themed historical performance.
  Bill Kurtis
The event will be an investigative-style, “live documentary” approach with television journalist Bill Kurtis as emcee. The story of the AVMA and the profession will be told through a combination of Kurtis’ narration and an on-stage actor who will provide historically based commentary.

Jodie Taggett, AVMA corporate relations director, said critical events and periods will be chosen to highlight and re-create, all the way to the present day and beyond.

She added, “History is one thing, but we’ll also talk about where we’re going. The results of the AVMA workforce survey will be a prominent part of that.”

During the remainder of the convention, folks can take a look at displays that provide more information about the sesquicentennial.

Just outside the exhibit hall will be an interactive display with an illustrated timeline, videos, and a photo gallery.

Inside the hall, at the AVMA Pavilion, there will be 150th-branded giveaways and an area to order the coffee-table book “AVMA: 150 years of Education, Science & Service.” Plus, a trivia contest will be held at the pavilion each day during break periods, with prizes given to the winners.

For those wanting more in-depth information on the AVMA’s and the profession’s history, two all-day symposiums fit that bill.

First, on July 20, will be the 150th Anniversary Education Symposium, titled “Understanding Our Past to Transform Our Future.”

A contest was held earlier this year inviting veterinary students to enter a written submission or video that gives a past, present, and future perspective on one of the following sectors of the profession: companion animal, equine, food animal, industry, academia, public practice, wildlife and ecosystem health, or global food security. Eight students will be selected to present their work at the event; each will also be awarded a $2,500 scholarship from the American Veterinary Medical Foundation.

Then, on July 21, the American Veterinary Medical History Society will host the Smithcors History of Veterinary Medicine Symposium.

According to the history society’s February newsletter: “The symposium is not just a history of the AVMA. Rather, it includes a wide variety of visions and examples of happenings and trends during the 150 years of the existence of the AVMA.”

Among the presentations will be the following: “From Craft to Profession, the Transition from Horse Farrier to Professional Veterinarian” by Michael North, head of Rare Books and Early Manuscripts at the National Library of Medicine’s History of Medicine Division; “Bo and Earlier Presidential Pets” by Dr. Ronnie G. Elmore, associate dean for academic programs at Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine; and “History of Pasteurization of Milk” by Dr. Russell W. Currier, a past president of the AVMHS.

The symposium will end with a panel discussion on heritage veterinary practices by Drs. Carla Case-McCorvey of Case Veterinary Hospital in Savannah, Ga., founded in 1909, and Luke Hagyard Fallon of Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Lexington, Ky., founded in 1876.

The AVMHS will have a visual display at the convention, too.

Other sesquicentennial-themed events will be the annual Trails for Tails 5K event July 21 in Chicago’s Lincoln Park and the President’s Reception, hosted by Dr. Douglas G. Aspros, on July 22, in which the AVMA will invite leaders from industry and organized veterinary medicine to toast the AVMA’s past and future.