Working for you, advancing animal health

AVMA President's Column: Dr. John Howe

I am honored and privileged to be your new AVMA president. It is a responsibility I take very seriously, and I look forward to serving you in the year ahead. Advocating for your interests and those of our great profession will drive and inspire me during my term.

I thank Dr. John de Jong for his service as AVMA president during this past year, and for the hard work and enthusiasm he brought to the role. I also thank Dr. Mike Topper for his service as AVMA immediate past president. They serve as wonderful examples of how collaboration among AVMA officers, Board and House members, volunteers, and staff enables us to make great strides toward advancing animal health.

I am always deeply impressed by the great contribution our profession makes to society. Many don’t realize the extent to which veterinary medicine impacts their daily lives. I want to continue our work educating the public on all that we do so they will have a greater understanding and appreciation of the breadth of our profession – from food animal production to public health, animal welfare, epidemiology, research, and so much more.

I also look forward to continuing our efforts as a leader in the One Health movement by working with physicians on issues common to both animal and human medicine, especially antimicrobial resistance. In my conversations with physicians, I find that they are always amazed at our diagnostic capabilities, and how ahead of the game we are on issues such as tickborne illnesses. As veterinarians, it is important that we remain committed to the health of all species and the many places in which they live by promoting One Health to our fellow health-care professionals.

Our profession would not be what it is today without the support of our veterinary technicians. I have witnessed firsthand the importance of technicians to the daily function of veterinary practices, as well as their key roles in preserving animal health and welfare.

You may recall that the AVMA House of Delegates recently asked the AVMA Board of Directors to form a task force on veterinary technician utilization. The members of the task force have been selected, they are excited about their work, and we look forward to their findings. Veterinary technicians help make veterinary medicine as impactful and rewarding as it is, and we anticipate continued discussions about improving the utilization of these critical members of the veterinary team.

AVMA Past President Dr. Tom Meyer once described the AVMA as a linchpin holding together a diverse and complex profession. Throughout his term, he focused on navigating the future with purpose and certainty so the AVMA continues to be that linchpin.

My views are similar: The AVMA is a bridge between this great profession and each of us. It must continue to be the link that brings us together as we pursue our shared goals and objectives, regardless of our area of expertise. This bridge must be maintained, and that is done by listening and responding to the concerns of our members. One of my priorities as AVMA president is to focus on member communications. We have greatly improved in this area, especially over the past few years, and I look forward to continuing that progress.

It’s great to see both our membership and our member satisfaction rates at all-time highs. We are striving every day to increase member value and to continue making AVMA membership an excellent return on investment. This includes our ongoing commitment to work for your best interests and seek your opinions about important issues addressed at the Veterinary Information Forums held during our House of Delegates meetings. We also will continue to develop and deliver important AVMA benefits like the world-class continuing education opportunities we have available on our new digital education platform, AVMA Axon.

As we begin my year as AVMA president, I am confident we will continue making the AVMA the best it can be by learning more about you, our members, and your needs. I look forward to a productive year ahead, and to working together to accomplish even more for the veterinary profession and society as a whole