Meet the Board candidate: Dr. Jim Weisman

Candidate: District 6 director

Biographical statement provided by the candidate.

Dr. Jim Weisman, a 1997 Purdue University graduate, is a small animal veterinary practitioner and a Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine faculty member and administrator. Dr. Weisman is from Evansville, Indiana, where he was born, raised, and returned to practice veterinary medicine for 11 years. He then returned to Purdue to accept a position at the College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Weisman serves the college as the assistant dean for clinical education and a clinical associate professor. He continues to practice medicine in the small animal emergency and critical care department of the Purdue University Veterinary Hospital.

At Purdue University, Dr. Weisman oversees the clinical education curriculum and programming for the veterinary medical students. In this capacity, he routinely engages with a broad range of stakeholders to advance and ensure that the educational outcomes are achievable for the students. A key focus of his is to ensure that these educational outcomes are modern and relevant for today's veterinary graduate. Dr. Weisman truly believes that modern veterinary medical education must maintain a strong connection to all sectors of the veterinary profession ensuring that key competencies of veterinary practice are engrained in modern veterinary curricula. In addition, ensuring that veterinary graduates have broad exposure to personal financial wellness and practice management education is essential.

Dr. Weisman focuses his discovery efforts on veterinary student financial awareness, veterinary workforce, and innovative learning strategies. Dr. Weisman teaches the core veterinary business management course in the Purdue veterinary medical curriculum. Key learning outcomes focus on establishing and communicating value, understanding veterinary compensation, contract development, and negotiation. In addition, strategies for educational debt repayment, developing an understanding of staff management, effective client communication, and strategies for practice ownership are additional topics instructed by Dr. Weisman.

Dr. Weisman has a strong emphasis on engagement, focusing his efforts on the veterinary profession pipeline as well as community outreach. Dr. Weisman leads Boiler Vet Camps which offer in-residence, hands-on experiences for middle and high school students. These camps have been in existence since 2008. His efforts have resulted in previous campers now being practicing veterinarians. Dr. Weisman expanded these pipeline efforts by establishing and administering the Indiana State Fair Vet Camps which have been offered since 2014.

In addition, Dr. Weisman is very active in community involvement, bringing his leadership, innovation, and organizational skills together with his veterinary training to advance animal wellness and care within 4-H and fair exhibitions. He has served as the president of his home county's 4-H Council, 4-H Center Board, and County Fair Association. All these leadership commitments were integral to his commitment to serving his community and advancing young people's growth as well as his community's commitment to agricultural education.

Dr. Weisman served on the Indiana State Fair Board as the first-ever veterinarian to do so. During this time, he established animal wellness and care programming which is now used across the country at many state fairs and large animal exhibitions. In addition to this programming, he led efforts to implement the animal drug testing program to elevate the level of ethical livestock exhibition.

Dr. Weisman strongly believes that service to his profession is a foundational responsibility. He fervently believes it is critical to give back and advance the veterinary medical profession. Dr. Weisman's organized veterinary medicine involvement began in veterinary school where he served as SAVMA delegate and then was elected as the national SAVMA treasurer. Shortly after graduating from veterinary school, he joined committees within the Indiana Veterinary Medical Association (IVMA). He led newly created recent graduate forums where young veterinarians in Indiana were brought together to be mentored. Programs were created that focused on expanding their skills relating to communication and financial wellness. His involvement continued where he then served on the IVMA Board of Directors while also chairing multiple committees, including many years as the chair of the IVMA Annual Meeting planning committee. As noted above, Dr. Weisman rose through the officer ranks, eventually serving as one of its youngest presidents to serve in this role. During this time, Dr. Weisman was passionate in his efforts to complete environmental scanning of the members' wishes, but then leading effective change to advance the IVMA's programming to meet the members' expectations.

As Dr. Weisman continues to serve his state VMA, he has been actively involved in the AVMA serving on various committees and by serving as Indiana alternate delegate and now delegate. His service in the AVMA House of Delegates began in 2010 and continues today. During this time, Dr. Weisman served in an inaugural position on the newly formed Early Career Development Committee (ECDC). Serving on the committee allowed him to advance the AVMA program directed to recent graduates. Following this service, Dr. Weisman was appointed in 2014 to represent the AVMA HOD as a member on the Strategic Management Planning Core Team which over a period of two years developed the structure and policy of AVMA planning and budgeting. From 2016-2018 he continued his service on the AVMA Strategic Management Committee which was responsible for advancing the programming of the AVMA in response to membership environmental scanning. This new strategic planning and implementation process is still in place today.

Dr. Weisman continues to be an active member of the House of Delegates in his participation and representation of AVMA members from Indiana. This work at the local, state, and national levels supports Dr. Weisman's commitment to pay it forward to his community and his profession. Servant leadership is an essential professional trait of Dr. Weisman, and he welcomes the opportunity to serve on behalf of his colleagues in District 6. He commits to representing and serving members to the best of his ability.

Statement of reason for seeking office
Statement of reason for seeking office provided by the candidate.

There is no better time to be a veterinarian. All sectors of our profession are seeing scientific advancement, personal growth, financial growth, and public support leading to increased levels of professional success. With this growth and advancement, personal and collective responsibility increase to ensure that we are effective stewards of the trust placed in each of us and also our profession. As reflected in the AVMA's mission statement, "The mission of the Association is to lead the profession by advocating for our members and advancing the science and practice of veterinary medicine to improve animal and human health."

The volunteer leadership has an expected duty to keep this purpose in mind when considering each decision made concerning AVMA members, the public, and the animals we serve. I wholeheartedly support this mission and believe the policies and programming which support this mission are exciting and visionary. As a result, we can advance our profession by being the prioritized leader and central information source to all those touched by veterinary medicine.

I seek election as the AVMA District 6 director to be an active, innovative, member-responsive leader, serving on a team of leaders who seek to advance the most influential professional organization within the veterinary industry. I appreciate that we are a broad and far-reaching profession comprised of many varied career paths; however, each of these paths are tethered by our common veterinary medical degree and ethical obligation to advance animal and human health. The AVMA membership asks its volunteer leaders to be representative of the many faces of our profession. I am ready to be the leader who considers these varied views and who can and will then make decisions which are best suited for our profession.

The core values of the AVMA are further driving factors for me personally and ethically. They provide me with guiding principles which I will use in policy discussions and deliberations. Considering our core values, "ethical, inclusive, science-based, animal-focused, member-centric, supportive, fiscally responsible, efficient and innovative", I commit myself to honoring these tenets and working with other volunteer leaders to hold these core values centermost in our work on behalf of all AVMA members. I strongly feel that I am a servant leader who has been, can and will be the voice for our member constituents. I am also a leader who can prioritize these principles when making association policy or programming decisions.

Our profession has many pressing issues before it that some may see as insurmountable obstacles, but I see them as opportunities awaiting innovation and change. In my current professional role as a veterinary medical educator and administrator, I am constantly challenged by our next generation of veterinarians. Future veterinary professionals will require leaders to be prepared to seek input, investigate and deliberate all possible solutions, and then make decisions that can weather future societal and economic factors. As a member of the AVMA Board of Directors, I will be ready to be held accountable to our membership and to the strategic goals of the association and profession.

My professional background reflects a variety of experiences, including veterinary medical association leadership, veterinary private practice ownership, and veterinary medical education. This allows me to bring a wealth of diverse experiences to AVMA Board of Directors. I will use these varied experiences to introduce ideas and points of view that need to be heard in the discussion and deliberations. A key success of our AVMA is the increased focus on ensuring member opinions and strategic direction are considered in all guiding actions of the AVMA. I feel that with my volunteer leadership experiences within the AVMA to this point, serving in the House of Delegates, Early Career Development Committee member, Strategic Management Planning Core Team member and Strategic Management Committee member. I have an appropriate and needed degree of understanding of AVMA governance and policy. This background strength will allow me to be an effective leader early on, while further advancing my knowledge as I dive deeper into all aspects of the AVMA.

I am excited to contribute to leading the premiere veterinary medical association on the Board of Directors. This important work will consider opportunities such as advancing workforce development strategies; diversity, equity, and inclusion; changes and realignment of the veterinary practice landscape; collaboration with allied health professions in the scope of One Health; expanding the reach of scientific advancement; advocating for public policy; innovating veterinary medical education; and most importantly, advancing the public perception of our profession while protecting our members' ability to practice within, or contribute to, our profession. I appreciate that this list is not inclusive of all the needs of our profession, but merely a high-level scan of key current topics of today.

Together, as a profession, we can stand strong and work collaboratively with a unified voice. This will ensure that we improve veterinary medicine for those that will follow us in this, the greatest profession, we have the privilege to serve.

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