September 01, 2000

 

 Candidates declare for two Association top spots in 2001

Howell to run for president-elect; Kendall, Walther for vice presidency

Posted Aug. 15, 2000


Outgoing AVMA Executive Board member Dr. Joe M. Howell has declared his candidacy for president-elect of the AVMA in 2001, while Drs. Tom R. Kendall and Jack O. Walther said they would vie for the vice presidency.

The announcements were made at a Candidates Introductory Breakfast when the AVMA House of Delegates met in Salt Lake City prior to the AVMA annual convention.

The candidates stressed the need for the Association to focus on veterinary economics in the coming years, and noted their support of the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues (NCVEI) in its mission to raise veterinarians' income.

Each also noted the ongoing threat to the AVMA accreditation process by California Assembly Bill 2842. Introduced in the state legislature in March, the bill, if passed, would authorize California to recognize an accrediting body for certain foreign veterinary colleges apart from the AVMA Council on Education.

Dr. Joe M. Howell
Dr. Joe M. Howell

The Oklahoma, Missouri, and Kansas veterinary medical associations nominated Dr. Howell for president-elect, and four past AVMA presidents have endorsed his candidacy.

Dr. Howell is the only candidate for the position at this time.

During his address, Dr. Howell said his colleagues' confidence in his ability to serve "not only touches me deeply, but it really challenges me to meet their every expectation in the event I'm elected."

This week he ends 2½ years as the District VII representative on the Executive Board. Prior to that, he was the Oklahoma delegate to the AVMA House of Delegates.

One of the challenges to AVMA leaders is working to improve services to its members, yet with an awareness of their constantly changing needs, Dr. Howell said. He praised the Association's more than 30 councils, committees, and task forces that study the issues affecting veterinary medicine and recommend solutions in the best interests of AVMA members, animal health, and the public.

Dr. Howell believes one of the best examples of these services is the DVM degree from an AVMA-accredited veterinary college. Without directly naming the California bill, he said the accrediting standards, which are a "model for the world," must not be weakened by accreditation of substandard veterinary colleges.

"I support the AVMA in standing strong and ready to commit whatever resources necessary to keep these standards high," he said.

Dr. Howell is a three-time president of the Oklahoma State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners. He co-owns a five doctor small animal hospital in northwest Oklahoma City in addition to other business ventures.

Dr. Tom R. Kendall
Dr. Tom R. Kendall

In their speeches, Dr. Kendall and Dr. Walther noted the dual requirements of the vice president: serving as a liaison between the Executive Board and veterinary students, and sitting on the board as a voting member.

Nominated by the California VMA, Dr. Kendall said his goal as vice president would be to convince veterinary students of the importance of practice economics to their success as veterinarians. In colleges where business courses are lacking, he would encourage deans and faculty to include veterinary practice management courses in their curriculums.

A "strong supporter" of veterinary students for the past 25 years, Dr. Kendall has participated in the extern program at the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. UC-Davis' student chapter of the AVMA has endorsed his candidacy for vice president.

Dr. Kendall applauded the AVMA's role in commissioning the KPMG LLP economic study and their hand in creating the NCVEI. He said he would use his platform as vice president to further educate veterinary students and others about the study's findings.

Dr. Kendall is a former president of the California VMA and chairs the state association's legislative arm. He has been working to defeat the challenge to the AVMA's accreditation process. "Under the guise of diversity, this legislation, if it passes, would lower the quality of veterinary medicine practiced in California," he said.

Dr. Walther spoke about the importance of having a vision for veterinary students and recent graduates, but also the need to alleviate their high debt load.

As vice president, he would explore legislative remedies that could include deferment on loan interest payments, increasing the amount and availability of student loans, and tax relief for recent graduates wanting to buy their own veterinary practices.

Dr. Jack O. Walther
Dr. Jack O. Walther

Sponsored by the Nevada VMA, Dr. Walther has the endorsements of four past AVMA presidents, and was introduced by the AVMA treasurer, Dr. James F. Peddie. He currently represents Nevada in the HOD and is a past chair of the AVMA Political Action Committee.

Dr. Walther said veterinary students are aware of the challenges facing the profession, as highlighted in the KPMG LLP study and are looking to the AVMA to solve some of these problems. "As vice president, it is incumbent to be part of that process, and be able to take that out to the students who are looking for guidance," he said.

He is concerned about the growing number of young veterinarians who are choosing not to join the AVMA. Bringing them into the Association, he said, is also a responsibility of the vice president.