Veterinarians convene in the City of Lakes

Published on August 15, 2005
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The 142nd AVMA Annual Convention/28th World Veterinary Congress, held July 16-20 in Minneapolis, hosted 8,743 total attendees, including 600-plus international visitors. The convention's attendance registered as the third highest in AVMA history, with Denver (2003) and Philadelphia (2004) in first and second place, respectively.

This year's convention program offered 1,080 hours of continuing education, up from 894 hours last year, and 29 interactive labs. Meanwhile, 344 exhibitors were on deck at the Minneapolis Convention Center's exhibit hall with their latest products, services, and technical innovations. The number of exhibitors was up by 21 compared with last year's convention in Philadelphia.

AVMA Immediate Past President Bonnie V. Beaver said this year's meeting was a success. "Not only were there more opportunities for (continuing education), there was a unique opportunity to interact with colleagues from around the world," she said.

The event marked the first time since 1934 that the WVC was held in the United States. Presentations by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, World Health Organization, and World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) constituted the WVC program. The International Pavilion sessions featured translation into French, Spanish, and German."

Not only was the overall format of the meeting excellent, it also helped to raise awareness among AVMA members about issues affecting veterinary medicine around the world," said Dr. Leon H. Russell, newly elected World Veterinary Association president, about the congress. Dr. Russell, whose candidacy was endorsed by the AVMA, will lead the organization for the next three years (see page 684).

As part of the AVMA/WVC, the AVMA teamed with the U.S. Army, Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Agency for International Development to bring 9 Iraqi veterinarians and 2 Afghan veterinarians to the meeting. The AVMA, along with the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, U.S. Army, and USDA, coordinated activities for the veterinarians to attend.

Also at convention, the AVMA held its first diversity symposium, sponsored by Pfizer Animal Health. The full-day program was designed to help veterinarians understand the realities and benefits of diversity in the veterinary profession and the clients it serves. CBS correspondent Dr. Debbye Turner keynoted the event. She addressed the need for practicing veterinarians, instructors,and even students to promote diversity in their own community. See the full story.

Other convention highlights included an appearance by former first lady Barbara Bush at the AVMA General Session/WVC Opening Ceremony, sponsored by Hill's Pet Nutrition. During her presentation, Mrs. Bush shared tales of her family's pets and the pleasures of her and her husband's senior years.

"The opening session with Barbara Bush was outstanding and was well-attended with over 2,500 people (participating)," said Dr. Dennis McCurnin, chair of the AVMA Convention Management and Program Committee.

After three days of continuing education sessions and exhibit hall events, conventioneers kicked back and relaxed at Family Night, sponsored by Bayer Animal Health. More than 1,600 attendees visited Harriet Island, a park located on the Mississippi River in downtown St. Paul, Minn. Throughout the evening, attendees had the opportunity to watch lumberjack shows, enjoy a 45-minute cruise on the river inside a stern-wheeler riverboat, have a Minnesota-style picnic, and participate in interactive activities.

The AVMA/WVC Convention News Network was available to attendees at the convention center on plasma televisions and in attendees' rooms at select hotels. The television programs were filled with helpful information and interviews from convention speakers, attendees, and AVMA and WVA leaders.

Several elections took place at convention. The AVMA House of Delegates elected Dr. Roger K. Mahr as the Association's president-elect for 2005-2006. Dr. René A. Carlson was elected to a second term as AVMA vice president. Dr. Henry E. Childers succeeded to the office of AVMA president and will dedicate his term to promoting unity within an increasingly diversified profession confronted by unprecedented challenges. Finally, Drs. Gregory S. Hammer and Charles L. Stoltenow officially kicked off their campaigns for 2006 AVMA president-elect, and Dr. Charles M. Hendrix began his campaign for vice president.

During its session, the HOD voted on resolutions involving foie gras production, whether to hold the annual Veterinary Leadership Conference and HOD Informational Assembly in the Schaumburg, Ill., area beginning in January 2007, a national animal microchip standard for the United States, and promotion of the American Veterinary Medical Foundation.

Turn to page 680 for coverage of the House of Delegates, and 684 for coverage of the convention. More coverage will follow in the Sept. 15 issue of JAVMA News, and reports from veterinary organizations that met at convention will be published in the Oct. 1 issue.