Like Legos, we’re building great things together

Published on August 07, 2020
AVMA president's column: Dr. Doug Kratt

It’s an honor to serve as your new AVMA president. Throughout my years of involvement in organized veterinary medicine, I have learned to embrace a servant leadership style, to enjoy challenging myself, and to focus my energy on serving the greater good. In the year ahead, I will use my skill set to help guide the AVMA on our path forward and help all AVMA members succeed.

I thank Dr. John Howe for his service as AVMA president over the past year and for the great job he did representing our association during one of the most challenging times in history. I also thank Dr. John de Jong for his dedicated service as AVMA immediate past president and chair of the American Veterinary Medical Foundation Board of Directors. I appreciate their tireless efforts in advocating on behalf of veterinary medicine to the public and our elected officials.

As AVMA president, my mission is to listen, serve, and connect with AVMA members, to bring together shared interests, and to be inclusive.

Without question, it has been a difficult year on several fronts. The protests that have taken place across the country on the issue of racial inequality are truly extraordinary and are creating a lot of intense emotion for all. These are historic times, and it’s in times such as these that we can unite and recognize that a focused commitment to diversity and inclusion has never been more important.

Valuing diversity and condemning racism are part of a healthy, thriving veterinary profession. After all, we veterinarians are here to serve our patients and clients—in addition to embracing our roles as leaders in the communities we serve. Just as important is putting those values into action.

When I announced my candidacy for AVMA president-elect two years ago, I mentioned that my platform was about building and connecting with our members and potential members. I used Legos as a metaphor for our profession: They are versatile, integrate well with Legos of different shapes, colors, and sizes, and can together build great things.

As AVMA president, my mission is to listen, serve, and connect with AVMA members, to bring together shared interests, and to be inclusive. This is YOUR association, and the AVMA is committed to making sure everyone feels welcome, included, and an important part of this great profession. I am making, and will continue to make, an intentional effort to listen more, learn more, and do more. The same is true for your AVMA. We will continue to work together on the AVMA’s plans and initiatives in this area.

I am proud to be part of such an incredible profession and am excited for what the future holds.

We are a versatile profession. Veterinarians have expertise in animal health and welfare, food safety, research, environmental protection, and public health. We work all over the world, in all types of fields, helping to enhance animal and human health. 

Members are the lifeblood of the AVMA. Your association is committed to helping you succeed through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and to meeting your professional and personal needs in areas including policy development and guidance, high-quality CE, telehealth, wellbeing, diversity and inclusion, student and new graduate debt, and much more. At the same time, it’s important that we continue our strong advocacy for the profession as well as all the work we do to advance the science and practice of veterinary medicine to improve animal and human health.

I am proud to be part of such an incredible profession and am excited for what the future holds. What will veterinary medicine look like under this “new normal” we have been hearing about, and what’s the timeline? I don’t have those answers. What I do know is that, as veterinarians, we evaluate options. We adapt. We invent new ways of doing things. 

We are veterinarians. We meet challenges head on. It’s what we do. 

The status quo is OK and comfortable, but at some point, we want to grow and be challenged. May we find others along the journey who encourage us to be the best version of ourselves, and may the sometimes bumpy road of personal and professional growth provide us opportunities to become stronger and more resilient. After all, we are veterinarians. We meet challenges head on. It’s what we do. 

You are not alone on this journey. You can count on the AVMA to be there for you in every way possible and to continue serving you with the highest level of integrity. 

By working together, we will continue to make a difference in the veterinary profession and in the lives of the animals and people who rely on us for their care.

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