Reflecting on a remarkable year

Progress for our members and the veterinary profession

Dr. John de Jong AVMA president's column

President’s Column: Dr. John de Jong

It’s been a very good year, and I couldn’t be more proud of all that the AVMA has accomplished on behalf of our members.

As I wrap up my year as your AVMA president, I especially want to thank all the AVMA volunteers whose excellent work has been instrumental in ensuring that we continue to remain engaged with AVMA members and focused on your needs. It would be impossible to call out every single achievement in this column, so I will highlight just a few examples.

For starters, we have launched the next generation of digital continuing education for veterinarians and their teams: our new online learning platform, AVMA Axon. The courses on Axon are curated to provide the most up-to-date and relevant information, helping veterinarians better serve our patients and communities.

We continue the AVMA’s role as an influencer in the One Health movement by continuing to lead on issues such as antimicrobial resistance, therapeutic use of cannabinoids, and emerging and zoonotic diseases. We are collaborating with human health-care professionals on a variety of topics, including opioids, telehealth, and the selection and care of service and emotional support animals. This helps build bridges across disciplines in the true spirit of One Health.

We remain focused on tackling the student debt issue through efforts and resources such as the Veterinary Debt Initiative, advocating for policies to help ease student loan debt and repayment burdens, and our website.

We continue our efforts to safeguard the wellbeing of our friends and colleagues with new tools and programs, including our Workplace Wellbeing Certificate Program, which provides critical resources for group and individual problem solving.

From ensuring the inclusion of veterinary priorities in the Farm Bill to addressing veterinary shortages in rural communities and preserving public service loan forgiveness, the AVMA’s federal advocacy for the profession remains second to none. We also remain a trusted partner for state veterinary medical associations and allied groups, providing resources to strengthen their advocacy efforts and helping advance veterinary positions on legislation and regulations before state agencies. We also continue to make great progress in advocating to the public on the importance of veterinary medicine in their daily lives.

The AVMA is back on track to once again sponsor an association health plan for our members, after efforts to do so were delayed by a D.C. District Court ruling.

We have strategically aligned with our charitable arm, the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, to strengthen support for veterinarians and the animals and clients we serve.

We are enhancing our ability to provide the highest quality service to our members and to the entire profession by providing association management services for both the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America and the Veterinary Medical Association Executives.

Speaking of veterinary technicians, I am also pleased to share with you that the AVMA Task Force on Veterinary Technician Utilization has been formed. The task force will develop a plan to improve veterinary technician utilization while recognizing the profession’s challenges of financial and career sustainability, effective task delegation, and the wellbeing of both veterinary technicians and the practices where they work.

We continue to expand our international visibility and influence and strengthen our relationships with veterinarians and veterinary associations across the globe. I feel that this is essential in an expanding global community.

On top of all this, we are achieving all these results while enjoying record membership numbers and member satisfaction rates.

This is an exciting time to belong to the AVMA and the veterinary profession. I am confident that the profession’s future is bright and its best days are still ahead.

It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as your AVMA president during this period of tremendous growth and opportunity within the veterinary profession.

I look forward in the year ahead to continuing my service to the AVMA and the veterinary profession as your immediate past president. I extend my best wishes to our incoming AVMA president, Dr. John Howe, and know that we will build on our successes under his leadership.

Thank you all for your dedication and commitment to veterinary medicine and to the animals we serve.


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