AVMA News

American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges – April 11-13, 2024

Event

The American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) held its annual conference and Iverson Bell Symposium from April 11-13 in Washington, D.C.

Program

The conference, drawing more than 400 attendees, featured three keynote speakers and offered sessions on topics that included artificial intelligence, wellbeing, admissions, enrollment, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

The first keynote speaker, Mary Churchill, PhD, associate dean of strategic initiatives and community engagement at Boston University Wheelock College of Education & Human Development, spoke on “Future Trends in Higher Education: Challenges and Opportunities.”

The second keynote speaker, Richard Thompson, JD, a professor of law at Stanford Law School, presented the session “Desegregation, Affirmative Action, and the Ruse of Colorblindness.”

The third keynote speaker, Cecilia Sorensen, MD, director of the Global Consortium on Climate and Health Education at Columbia University, spoke on “Training for a Sustainable Future.”

Attendees were able to view the newly unveiled Competency-Based Veterinary Education 2.0 model and participate in the spectrum of care town hall. The Competency-Based Veterinary Technician Education framework and Team-Based Veterinary Healthcare competencies were introduced at the conference. These materials, currently being revised and reviewed, will be released to the public in the future. There were several pre- and post-conference events, including Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill and committee meetings.

The AAVMC Pre-Vet Career Fair gave prospective veterinary students the opportunity to meet with AAVMC member institutions and hear from keynote speaker, Dr. Kwane Stewart, who founded Project Street Vet, an organization providing free veterinary care, treatment, and support to pets owned by individuals who are homeless or facing homelessness.

Awards

Dr. India Lane
Dr. India Lane

AAVMC Billy E. Hooper Award for Distinguished Service
Dr. India Lane (Georgia ’88), Knoxville, Tennessee. Dr. Lane is associate dean for academic and student affairs at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine. She has helped integrate professional and nontechnical skills into veterinary curricula. In 2008, Dr. Lane co-founded the Master Teaching Program, which has served as a model for veterinary educator development. Active with the AAVMC, she joined the AAVMC Veterinary Educator Collaborative in 2009 and was a member of the AAVMC Task Force on International Engagement from 2014-16.

Dr. Monica Howard
Dr. Monica Howard
Dr. Hilda Mejia Abreu
Dr. Hilda Mejia Abreu

AAVMC Iverson Bell Award, sponsored by Banfield Pet Hospital
Drs. Monica Howard (Tuskegee ’82), Ames, Iowa, and Hilda Mejia Abreu (Michigan State ’13), East Lansing, Michigan. Dr. Howard is assistant dean of veterinary student success and director of multicultural student success at Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine. She is known for her advocacy of DEI within the veterinary community and beyond. Dr. Howard is active with the Deans Leadership Cabinet, ensuring that DEI considerations are part of all discussions. She has pressed for changes that include the elimination of the GRE requirement, inclusion of an element in the file review matrix that values an understanding of the importance of and engagement in DEI, and not increasing minimal GPA requirements.

Dr. Abreu is the associate dean for admissions, student life, and inclusivity at Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine. She has led several campus initiatives, including the establishment of the DEI Committee and creation of the 2016-22 DEI strategic plan for the veterinary college. Dr. Abreu also developed the Inclusivity Knowledge Center, an online training module that all incoming students and newly hired faculty and staff members take to earn a DEI certificate. She has contributed to the recruitment, development, and retention of underrepresented and marginalized faculty, staff, and students within the preveterinary, veterinary nursing, and DVM realm.

Dr. Qijing Zhang
Dr. Qijing Zhang

AAVMC Excellence in Research Award
Dr. Qijing Zhang, Ames, Iowa. Dr. Zhang is a 1983 veterinary graduate of Shandong Agricultural University in Shandong, China. He serves as a Clarence Hartley Covault Distinguished Professor and the Dr. Roger and Marilyn Mahr Chair in One Health at Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Zhang’s research, focusing on antibiotic resistance and food safety, has been used as a resource for policymaking by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in regulating the use of antimicrobials. He has spearheaded programming to support research efforts at the veterinary college and has received individual principal investigator projects and team grants from federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and FDA. Dr. Zhang is a past president of the Conference of Research Workers in Animal Diseases.  

Dr. Rance Sellon
Dr. Rance Sellon

AAVMC Distinguished Veterinary Teacher Award, presented by Zoetis
Dr. Rance Sellon (Texas A&M ’87), Pullman, Washington. Dr. Sellon is an associate professor in oncology and small animal medicine at Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine. During his tenure, his teaching philosophy has evolved to emphasize accessible material that focuses on critical thinking and clinical reasoning. Dr. Sellon’s approach involves making effective use of history and physical examination findings and thinking critically about the recommended diagnostic tests. His teaching techniques and mentorship skills have helped veterinary students gain confidence in their clinical abilities and develop a better understanding of complex medical concepts.

Naomi Esquivel
Naomi Esquivel

AAVMC Patricia M. Lowrie Diversity Leadership Scholarship
Naomi Esquivel (Illinois ’25), Urbana, Illinois. Esquivel is a rising fourth-year student at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. She was recognized for showing promise as a future leader and for significant contributions to enhancing diversity and inclusion in academic veterinary medicine. Esquivel co-founded the Illinois student chapter of the Latinx VMA in 2022.

Merck Animal Health Diversity Leadership Scholarship
Twenty-two second- and third-year students, in good academic and professional standing at an AAVMC member institution, were awarded scholarships in recognition of their contributions to enhancing DEI through course projects, co-curricular activities, outreach, domestic and community engagement, research, or developing a reputation for influencing others to be inclusive.

Officials

Dr. Rustin Moore
Dr. Rustin Moore
Dr. Stuart Reid
Dr. Stuart Reid

Drs. Rustin Moore, The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, president and board chair; Stuart Reid, University of London Royal Veterinary College, president-elect; Carlos Risco, Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine, secretary; Lorin Warnick, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, treasurer; and Ruby Perry, Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine, immediate past president