Congressional fellows promote Foundation

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The Congressional Science Fellows' appearance at this year's AVMA Annual Convention in Salt Lake City demonstrated the positive influence the Foundation has on the profession.

congressional fellowship
Dr. Dale Lonsford (left), president of the Texas VMA, presents a check for $3,000 for the congressional fellowship program to Dr. R. L. Collinson, Foundation chairman; also pictured Dr. Elizabeth Parker, 1999-2000 fellow; and Paul Amundsen, Foundation executive director.

Past, present, and prospective AVMA/AVMF Congressional Science Fellows were on hand at the AVMA Convention to educate various groups on recent veterinary-related issues in Washington, DC, and drum up support for the Foundation. Participating fellows included Drs. Mark Abdy (2000-2001), Niall Finnegan (1992-1993), Dean Goeldner (1997-1998), Sarah Lister (1997-1998), and Elizabeth Parker (1999-2000). Also spotted spreading the good word of the Foundation were former fellows Dr. Gwen Griffin (1991-1992) and Dr. Joe "Chip" Wells (1998-1999).

Members of 12 organizations, including many AVMA district caucuses, took time out of their busy schedules to hear Dr. Parker, outgoing fellow, describe her experiences in Washington, DC. She said the highlight for her was her role in a recent conference on crop insurance. It is rare that a fellow would be invited to participate in such a conference. Three of the veterinary-related issues that received government funding earlier this year were bovine tuberculosis, protection for Beagles used in drug detection, and rabies prevention.

The Auxiliary to the AVMA plus state, allied, and veterinary-related associations are the primary sponsors of the congressional fellowship program. These groups collectively account for an average of $36,000 in support each year.

Leading the state associations, the Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation made a $3,000 contribution to the fellowship program this year. Texas VMA president, Dr. Dale S. Lonsford said the association appreciates the contribution that the Congressional Science Fellowship program has had on the legislative process in Washington. "You can depend on Texas to continue to support this worthy and effective program," he remarked. Texas has contributed $18,000 to the AVMF in support of the fellowship program in the past six years.

"Donations to the AVMF Education Fund are used to support the Congressional Science Fellowship program," said Paul Amundsen, executive director of the Foundation. "The Fellowship is just one way we are 'advancing the care and value of animals in society,' and the Foundation's Education Fund is focused on achieving this goal."

Congressional Science Fellows serve for one year in Washington, DC, as consultants, researchers, and scientific resources on the staffs of members of Congress or congressional committees. Any veterinarian interested in finding out more about the program is encouraged to contact April Demert, Policy and Program Specialist at the AVMA-Governmental Relations Division by phone, (800) 321-1473, ext 624 or by e-mail, ademertatavma [dot] org (ademert[at]avma[dot]org).