Sky’s the limit as AVMF heads into 50th year

New chair excited to take charge
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Dr. Streett addresses the crowd at "An AVMF Special Event on Board the USS Midway." (Photo by Renee Rounds)

The American Veterinary Medical Foundation has some ambitious plans as it heads toward its 50th anniversary next year, and it has fresh leadership ready to lead the way.

Dr. Richard “Dick” P. Streett Jr., of Churchville, Md., started his two-year term as the Foundation’s new chair of its board of directors Aug. 5. He retired a little more than a year ago after running his own practice, Churchville Veterinary Clinic, for 40 years. Dr. Streett also serves as the Maryland delegate to the AVMA House of Delegates and is a member of the Maryland VMA Executive Board.

Dr. Streett says the AVMF has come a long way in the past few years, and he is a big proponent of continuing and expanding the charitable arm of the AVMA.

That’s why Dr. Street is excited about the Foundation’s “Go for Gold in 2013” fundraising campaign, running from October 2012 until December 2013. The goal is to raise $2.5 million and substantially increase the number of individual donors to the AVMF from the veterinary community and beyond.

Depending on the amount contributed, donors can receive a gold lapel pin, a gold bar, a gold coin, a 50th anniversary commemorative print of the Veterinarian’s Oath, or two tickets to the AVMF’s anniversary celebration next year in Chicago.

Michael Cathey, AVMF executive director, said, “We are very excited to launch this campaign to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the AVMF and our 50 years of caring for animals. The $2.5 million and the expanded base of donor support will allow us to even make an even greater impact for animals as we enter our next 50 years.”

Another initiative being launched by the Foundation this fall is “America’s Favorite Veterinarian.” This program will invite veterinary clients to send in pictures of their pets with their veterinarian, along with a story on why he or she deserves to be America’s Favorite Veterinarian. The photos will be featured on the AVMF website,, and on its Facebook page,

Dr. Streett said the program is an additional way for the AVMF to engage with the public, beyond the AVMF’s existing programs such as the Pet Memorial Cards and Ambassadors for Animals.

“We need to get the word out (about the Foundation), because people aren’t aware of things we can help foster related to the health and welfare of animals,” he said.

The AVMF’s strategic priorities are to support the AVMA and its initiatives, humane outreach/animal welfare, education and public awareness, research, and scholastic enhancement. Just recently, five task forces were established to continue and expand the Foundation’s mission in the following areas: Animal Health Network, America’s Favorite Veterinarian, disaster response and planning, food safety, and Our Oath in Action. Leaders of these task forces, along with the AVMF’s six standing committees, will be the “dream team,” according to Dr. Streett, that will help him lead the Foundation.

The Maryland practitioner seems uniquely suited for the job, as many of his past and current endeavors dovetail with the AVMF’s efforts.

Dr. Streett received his VMD degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1969. He signed up for the Army soon afterward and served in the Army Veterinary Corps for two years during the Vietnam War. He was stationed at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., where he conducted research.

Dr. Streett came home in 1971 and built a private mixed animal practice that eventually morphed into an exclusively small animal clinic as the area became more urban. The practice he built is now split among three clinics and has 50 employees, including 10 veterinarians, one of whom is his son, who co-owns the practice with two other partners.

Dr. Streett also serves on the board of a human hospital system that owns two hospitals and as chair of that health system’s foundation.

“It’s given me a background to help take the AVMF to the next level,” he said. “Mike (Cathey) has been instrumental in taking the Foundation to where it is now. The sky’s the limit on what we can do.”

New AVMF board of directors members since fall 2012: Dr. Garry Adams, Texas A&M University, at-large; Kimberly Colgate, attorney, at-large; Dr. Larry Dee, Hollywood Animal Hospital, Hollywood, Fla., at-large; Dennis Drent, Veterinary Pet Insurance, at-large; Dr. Larry M. Kornegay, Antoine-Little York Animal Clinic, Houston, at-large; Dr. Chet Rawson, Alta Genetics, AVMA Executive Board representative; Dr. Michael Spensley, Abbott Animal Health, at-large; and Kimberly Topper, Gaithersburg, Md., Auxiliary to the AVMA representative.