Ergen, Knapp elected to AVMA Board

Small animal practitioners will represent districts III and V
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The AVMA Board of Directors will seat two new district directors this summer.

Dr. Ergen
Dr. Mary Ergen

Dr. Mary Ergen, a small animal practitioner from Goodlettsville, Tennessee, and Dr. Robert Knapp, a small animal practitioner from Dublin, Ohio, ran unopposed and were declared elected in February.

Dr. Ergen will succeed Dr. Jan Strother as District III director representing AVMA members in Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Dr. Knapp will take over for Dr. Gary Brown as District V director representing AVMA members in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and West Virginia.

Drs. Ergen and Knapp begin their six-year terms on the board this August during the AVMA Convention in Washington, D.C.

A 1982 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Ergen has been active in the Tennessee VMA since receiving her veterinary degree. She served on or chaired all of the association's committees, culminating in her elevation to the TVMA presidency in 2008. Five years later, Dr. Ergen began serving as Tennessee's alternate delegate in the AVMA House of Delegates.

When she graduated, Dr. Ergen was hired as an associate in a mixed animal practice on the outskirts of Nashville, Tennessee. In 1986, she started her own practice, which currently has two full-time associates and one part-time associate.

"After 36 years, I still love being a veterinarian," she said. "It pains me to hear all the negativity some veterinarians express about this profession. I think I can help the AVMA develop new and attractive benefits for younger veterinarians."

"I have been an AVMA member since I first started this career but only appreciated everything this organization does since I have been in the House of Delegates," Dr. Ergen continued. "I would like to help the AVMA continue to advocate for the profession, the animals of the world, and the health of the people by representing not just Tennessee but all of District III on the AVMA Board of Directors."

Dr. Knapp
Dr. Robert Knapp

Dr. Knapp is a third-generation veterinarian who wanted only to follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather.

"I never had the aha! moment of realizing I wanted to be a veterinarian or that sense of amazement at witnessing the astonishing things veterinarians can do," Dr. Knapp said. "Growing up in the clinic … veterinary medicine was just what we did, as automatic as sleeping and breathing."

Dr. Knapp received his veterinary degree in 1992 from The Ohio State University. He currently owns the six-associate practice started by his late grandfather Dr. John Knapp (Ohio State '32). His father, Dr. Paul Knapp (Ohio State '61), worked at the practice until retirement.

Early in his career, Dr. Knapp became active in the Ohio VMA, serving in various capacities including as an officer on the board of directors and as VMA president from 2007-08. He has been a member of the AVMA House of Delegates since 2012, first as alternate delegate, then delegate.

"Organized veterinary medicine is more important to our profession now than ever before, and our members' continued engagement is vital to our future. Today's issues are complex and inextricably linked," Dr. Knapp said. "As District V representative, I pledge to bring a practical, pragmatic, and member-driven focus to the AVMA Board of Directors."