Throughout the year, Student AVMA delegates address many student issues and concerns through the various SAVMA committees. The student association meets twice yearly, once at the SAVMA Educational Symposium in spring and again at the AVMA Annual Convention in summer. This year's convention in Salt Lake City was filled with deliberative sessions and social events.
The Student AVMA House of Delegates comprises an executive board and student delegates from each of the accredited veterinary schools in the United States. The SAVMA HOD includes representatives from Atlantic Veterinary College, which has an active SAVMA chapter, and from Ross University, where more than 80 percent of the students are affiliate members of the Student AVMA.
In Salt Lake City the SAVMA Emerging Issues Committee reported it had distributed wellness surveys to each of the schools. Survey results revealed that little time is spent on wellness issues. The committee will compile a list of names and resources for substance abuse education and stress management. These resources will be accessible on the SAVMA Web site, www.avma.org/savma.
The SAVMA Animal Welfare Committee is working on establishing body donation programs in the veterinary schools. The intent is to prevent the unnecessary euthanasia of healthy animals for teaching purposes. This committee also will develop a list of externships and precepteeships at animal shelters, to increase student involvement and awareness of animal welfare issues.
Current SAVMA delegate, Anna Russau (class of 2003), University of Pennsylvania, is organizing the new SAVMA Committee on Student Economics, Finance, and Management. The first weekend seminar the committee is sponsoring will be held next spring at the University of Pennsylvania, on issues arising from the KPMG LLP study.
Also, in Salt Lake City, the students took the opportunity to recognize the people who are integral to their education. The SAVMA Public Relations Committee presents two teaching awards every year at the AVMA Annual Convention. Each school nominates two teachers, one for teaching exellence in the basic sciences and one for the clinical sciences. The final decisions are made by the SAVMA committee members. This year's winners were Sue Dawson, PhD, from the Atlantic Veterinary College (basic sciences) and Dr. W. Mark Hilton of Purdue University (clinical sciences).
The student body receives extensive support from the AVMA. Since 1998, the Student AVMA has a vote in the AVMA House of Delegates. Dr. James E. Nave, incoming president of the AVMA, addressed the SAVMA HOD in Utah and expressed his belief in the importance of communication between the various generations of veterinarians. The relationship that the AVMA and SAVMA share proves that this communication between veterinary students and their mentors in the profession is not only possible but also rewarding to both parties.
The SAVMA HOD and many officers of the AVMA enjoyed each other's company during a dinner sponsored by Hill's Pet Nutrition Inc the first day of the convention. The group thoroughly enjoyed the guest speaker, Dr. Robin Downing from Windsor, Colo, who gave a lively presentation on the importance of the human-animal bond and the future of veterinary medicine.
Although the student delegates were kept busy during the convention with meetings and committee obligations, they still found time to enjoy the sights of Salt Lake City with their colleagues. SAVMA provides them with the opportunity to meet fellow students from across the country, and to form professional relationships and friendships that will carry through for years in their careers as doctors of veterinary medicine.
At the Utah conference, SAVMA bid farewell to members of their executive board and welcomed the incoming officers. The new president is Rob Richardson (class of 2001), University of Pennsylvania; secretary is Rebecca Dixon (class of 2002), University of Georgia; and treasurer is Bryant Shane Kimble (class of 2001), Oklahoma State University. A new president-elect will be chosen during the Student AVMA Educational Symposium next March at Iowa State University.
Alison D. Rideout (class of 2002), Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island