Giving back: Supporting your profession, sharing your passion

Published on January 20, 2022
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Dr. José Arce

         PRESIDENT'S COLUMN

    Dr. José Arce

Volunteering with the AVMA has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. It has led me to grow professionally by enhancing my leadership skills and improving my interpersonal and communication skills. I’ve met new colleagues and forged valuable and lasting relationships. And I’ve been able to help educate, promote, and advocate for veterinary medicine. 

A strong veterinary profession needs a strong AVMA.

I have had the privilege of being an AVMA volunteer for almost 30 years, dating back to my days at the Louisiana State University (LSU) School of Veterinary Medicine, where I served as class representative and treasurer of the Student AVMA chapter. After attending my first AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference in 1999, I knew the AVMA was the right place for me. This is where I knew I could best help shape the future of our profession.

In the years since, I have served in various positions at the Puerto Rico VMA, as an alternate delegate and delegate in the AVMA House of Delegates, on the Board of Directors of both the AVMA and the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, and on multiple AVMA councils and committees. The experience and knowledge I have gained have helped me be a better advocate for veterinary professionals and the profession I love.

Make a difference

I ask you to join me on this volunteer journey because individual AVMA members are critical to the Association’s success and relevancy, and to helping us fulfill our mission. The AVMA’s activities and direction are driven by the insight and participation provided by volunteers. That’s because member interests and priorities define the AVMA’s work. They are at the heart of everything the AVMA does.

From the Board of Directors to the House of Delegates to the AVMA’s dozens of councils, committees, task forces, panels, and working groups, AVMA volunteers provide countless hours of service. We’re driven by a shared passion to ensure that the needs of all AVMA members are met and that the veterinary profession remains strongly positioned to effect positive change. AVMA volunteers both past and present, the Association thanks you for all that you have done and continue to do. Your AVMA colleagues are grateful to you for your service.

Volunteering for the AVMA gives you the opportunity to give back to a profession that has given us all so much:

  • You help set the profession’s priorities and guide the creation of resources that help veterinarians in day-to-day life and practice. 
  • Your involvement empowers you to influence issues that are important to you and your ability to practice veterinary medicine. 
  • You help shape crucial policies and procedures for the Association and at every level of government, ensuring that the profession's voice is heard. 
  • You see firsthand that you are making a difference.

How to volunteer

The experience and knowledge I have gained have helped me be a better advocate for veterinary professionals and the profession I love.

Any AVMA member can volunteer, and there are many ways to get involved. Nominations are currently open for one seat on the AVMA Board of Directors: District 1, representing Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Positions also are available on a variety of AVMA councils and committees. See all current AVMA volunteer opportunities and learn how you can make a difference at avma.org/Volunteer.

AVMA’s advocacy work is also made stronger through the voices of the AVMA Congressional Advocacy Network, which reaches out to lawmakers on legislation that impacts the practice of veterinary medicine. You can also join the AVMA Ambassador Program, which gives you the opportunity to visit with lawmakers in your home state, build relationships, and ensure that members of Congress hear directly from constituent veterinarians like you about issues important to the profession.

Resolve to get involved

If you’re looking to make a New Year’s resolution, I encourage you to start 2022 off right by sharing your unique talents and becoming an AVMA volunteer. A strong veterinary profession needs a strong AVMA, and your work will leave behind an AVMA that is better prepared to meet the needs of society while protecting, promoting, and advancing a unified veterinary profession. 

The deeper your connection and engagement with the AVMA, the more our community can achieve together.

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