President’s Column: Looking back and looking forward

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President's column - Dr. Rena Carlson

Reflecting on a productive year; looking forward with continued optimism

As I reflect on an extraordinary year as your AVMA president, I am filled with gratitude for and inspired by my remarkable colleagues who are so deeply committed to our profession.

One of the benefits of serving as AVMA president is the opportunity to attend meetings of our state and allied veterinary groups. I admire the exceptional leadership and services these organizations provide, and I recognize the significant impact they have on our profession. 

It truly takes all of us, combining our various skills and unique perspectives, to address challenges and leverage opportunities to protect, promote, and advance our profession. 

AVMA: Part of a global community

Additionally, representing the AVMA at the global level has been an equally rewarding experience. I have personally witnessed the AVMA’s essential role within the global veterinary community. Our international relationships not only bolster animal health and welfare worldwide, but also have direct implications on these issues in the United States. 

There are constant collaborative efforts to mitigate the risk of foreign animal diseases crossing borders, ensure access to important medications, and increase public awareness of the critical importance of One Health. 

Celebrate our accomplishments together

We are undeniably stronger together, and our members are the foundation of our association.

I must acknowledge the AVMA team that works diligently to support our members and advance veterinary medicine. We are proud to have reached a membership high of over 105,000 members. We are undeniably stronger together, and our members are the foundation of our association. 

Furthermore, our outreach to the public to promote the role of veterinary medicine in society has seen tremendous growth, as we exceeded 60 billion media impressions in 2023 across various outlets, a 10-fold increase in just five years. 

Our federal and state advocacy efforts remain a cornerstone of our activities. From our successful legislative fly-in earlier this year to our tracking of more than 4,000 bills that could affect how we practice veterinary medicine, the AVMA has worked tirelessly to ensure that your interests are represented and the voice of the veterinary profession is amplified to lawmakers.

Lastly, I want to emphasize once again the importance of recognizing the wonderful profession of which we are a part. While there are always going to be challenging moments, remember this quote: “Believe you can, and you are halfway there!” 

I hope each of you continues to celebrate the remarkable work you and your teams do to provide exceptional care for animals every day.

It’s time to look ahead

This past year has been an incredible journey, and I am excited for what will surely be continued progress in the year ahead as I hand over the AVMA presidency to Dr. Sandra Faeh. I am confident that her leadership will continue to guide our success.

On behalf of my entire family, thank you for all your support. I am forever grateful for the wonderful people we have met, the memories we have made, and the experiences we have had. I look forward to our continued work together in making the AVMA the best organization it can be for our members and the profession!

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