PennVet plays host to SAVMA Symposium
Student AVMA members and leaders gathered March 15-17 in Philadelphia to attend the 49th annual SAVMA Symposium, held at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine for the first time.
PennVet held wet labs at its New Bolton Center rural campus, which has one of the largest caseloads of any academic large animal hospital in the nation, and at its Ryan Hospital in urban Philadelphia, which handles about 34,000 patient visits a year, some 11,000 of which are for emergency care.
The three-day program also featured an exhibit hall and daytrips to the Philadelphia Zoo and Adventure Aquarium as well as academic and athletic competitions. Lectures touched on career opportunities, the human-animal bond, production medicine, exotic animal medicine, and emergency and critical care, among other topics. Carrying over from last year's symposium, members of the AVMA Veterinary Economics Division partnered with the VIN Foundation to provide an overview of the economic conditions students will face after graduating and offer strategies to increase income and better manage expenses.
Ten members of the AVMA Board of Directors attended, including Dr. Michael Topper, AVMA president, who gave remarks during the closing gala at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The keynote speaker was Dr. Marc Valitutto, graduate of PennVet's Class of 2006. He is currently the officer for wildlife veterinary medicine at the Smithsonian Institution. He has also worked as chief veterinarian for New York City's Staten Island Zoo and as a consulting veterinarian for the American Museum of Natural History.
In its first year, the One Health Grand Challenge announced its inaugural winner. The competition provided an opportunity for students to develop a meaningful and sustainable one-health project. The competition was meant to challenge students to incorporate as many domains of one health as possible for a far-reaching audience. Projects were judged on quality and depth, concept clarity, and justification of how the work advances the mission of one health. Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine won for its Iowa One Health Conference, which it held in conjunction with the University of Iowa College of Public Health.
In other symposium news, Dr. Kevin Hannon, associate professor of basic medical sciences at Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, received the SAVMA Teaching Excellence Award. Dr. Sandra San Miguel, associate dean for engagement and professor of swine production medicine at Purdue, was honored with the SAVMA Faculty Community Outreach Award.
In addition, the AVMA Student Initiatives Team handed out the second SAVMies to recognize chapters' efforts.
The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine won the award for most improved percentage of students who were members from 2015-16 to 2016-17. The Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine received the award for the most innovative ALL for Students event in 2017 with its Rabies Run. The University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine took the award for best symposium attendance, excluding host school attendees, for the second year in a row. Nominees were announced in the SAVMA HOD meeting and winners at the closing gala.
At the end of the symposium, outgoing SAVMA Executive Board members were recognized, and incoming members were announced. Outgoing 2017-18 SAVMA officers are Jeff Olivarez, Oklahoma State University, president; Katy Martin, Iowa State University, secretary; Chris Deegan, University of Minnesota, treasurer; Samantha Morici, Auburn University, international exchange officer; Marston Jones, University of Tennessee, communications and public relations officer; Meredith Chamberlain, Atlantic Veterinary College, The Vet Gazette editor; Elizabeth Malcolm, University of California-Davis, global and public health officer; Ori Eizenberg, St. George's University, veterinary economics officer; and Caitlin Conner, Texas A&M University, cultural outreach officer.
Incoming 2018-19 SAVMA officers are Sarah Neuser, University of Minnesota, president; Whitney Patz, Lincoln Memorial University, secretary; Ashika Seshadri, St. George's University, treasurer; Kayla Caturay, Ross University, international exchange officer; Abigail Sharp, University of Missouri, communications and public relations officer; Kyndel Lann, Midwestern University, editor-in-chief; Allison Siu, Auburn University, global and public health officer; Taylor DeWitt, Purdue University, veterinary economics officer; and Stephie-Anne Duliepre, Cornell University, cultural outreach officer.
Students at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine are already gearing up to host the 2019 Student AVMA Symposium, March 9-11.