The American Association of Bovine Practitioners had a strong showing at its 33rd annual conference—a sign of member commitment, given the remote venue of Rapid City, SD. Of the 1,973 registrants at the Sept 21-23 event, 1,118 were veterinarians and 165, students.
The Black Hills provided a sneak peek at winter when, just five days after readings in the 90s, a blast of precocious arctic air swept through with a dusting of snow.
Conferees could choose from 61-1/2 hours of continuing education plus 264 hours available for participation in 27 preconvention seminars.
Continuing education, coupled with member services and member recruitment, are the internal elements the AABP board of directors earmarked in their strategic plan when they met in Salt Lake City in March.
According to 1999-2000 president, Dr. Larry Hutchinson, the association is reviewing the effectiveness of its three-year effort in those areas. An outside facilitator at the March meeting helped build the momentum that led to reactivation of the CE committee and exploration of new member services. In Rapid City the AABP board approved several more actions to advance those areas.
"The specific charge to the committee is to develop ways and means of CE that are most cost effective, such as CDs and videos," Dr. Hutchinson said. "Quality CE learning is our ultimate aim. The secondary charge is alternative means of education—perhaps regional meetings and distance learning."
Incoming president, Dr. Rod Sydenham said, "We are trying to reach two distinct populations—the 25 percent who come to our conference and our other members as well as nonmembers who do bovine practice but don't attend the annual meeting—and to make access easier and less costly."
In its commitment to attracting diverse members, the AABP has been reaching out in a special way to three groups: new graduates, international members, and veterinarians in mixed practice.
Veterinarians who have graduated in the past five years were invited to a New Leader Council luncheon at the annual conference. Dr. Jim Sears is chairman of the new council. Its intent is to seek input on CE and member services from recent graduates.
Even before they graduate, students are courted by the AABP, which supports them through summer externships, sponsorship of food animal chapters at North American veterinary schools, the AABP-Amstutz Scholarship Fund, and other projects. This year seven students competed at the annual conference in the first student case presentation competition. First place ($500) went to Adam P. Jackanicz, University of Illinois, "Ongoing investigation of a working dairy farm"; second place ($300), Elizabeth A. Layne, Colorado State University, "A case of bovine hydroallantois"; and third place ($200), Sarah Probst and Kelly Ballinger, University of Illinois, "Diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to septic arthritis in a Simmental bull."
Veterinarians in mixed practice were the object of an AABP membership drive conducted this past summer by Dr. Terry Engelken, using the AVMA database.
Foreign members currently number 281. The 5,657 total membership also includes 4,185 domestic members, 536 Canadians, and 655 students.