De Jong elected president of World Veterinary Association

Dr. de Jong
Dr. John de Jong

Dr. John de Jong, a past president of the AVMA, will begin his term as president-elect of the World Veterinary Association on March 30 at the conclusion of the 2022 General Assembly, held in conjunction with the World Veterinary Association Congress in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

The AVMA and Canadian VMA nominated Dr. de Jong for president-elect. The small animal practitioner from Boston will serve for two years as president-elect, two years as president, and two years as immediate past president.

“I’m humbled and I’m honored to be able to serve in this position,” Dr. de Jong said. “I have a profound passion for our profession.”

Veterinary medicine is global, Dr. de Jong continued, and he hopes to use his enthusiasm and experience to help elevate the WVA on the world stage.

Dr. de Jong is currently completing a 2020-22 term as honorary treasurer of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association. With the WVA, he previously served as chair of the Ad Hoc Constitution & Bylaws Revision Committee.

In his candidate statement, Dr. de Jong wrote, “Given the nature of our small but vital profession, I see the opportunity for organizations such as these two (WVA and WSAVA), and many others, to strengthen our bonds, develop working partnerships, and collaborate more to increase our visibility such that our expertise can provide a healthier and safer world for animals, human beings, and the environment.”

With the AVMA, Dr. de Jong served as 2018-19 president, and he chaired the AVMA Board of Directors from 2015-16. He was District I Board representative from 2010-16. He also served in the AVMA House of Delegates and chaired the House Advisory Committee, the AVMA Governance Performance Review Committee, and the AVMA Political Action Committee Policy Board.

“There’s strength in numbers,” Dr. de Jong said. “And this profession, because we are small, needs to be as unified as possible to deliver our message, and most of all, to increase the public’s awareness of the breadth and depth of veterinary medicine and all that we do.”

A 1985 veterinary graduate of Tufts University, Dr. de Jong has owned Boston Mobile Veterinary Clinic since 1986. He is a co-founder of BetterVet, which provides mobile veterinary services in 15 locations across the country. Among previous positions, he was the owner of Newton Animal Hospital in Newton, Massachusetts.

“The AVMA is positive that Dr. de Jong will continue to put his excellent leadership style and communication skills to good use during his tenure as an elected officer of the World Veterinary Association,” wrote AVMA President José Arce and AVMA CEO Janet Donlin in the AVMA nomination letter.

Two U.S. veterinarians have served as WVA president previously, Dr. Leon Russell from 2005-08 and Dr. René Carlson from 2014-17, both past presidents of the AVMA. Dr. de Jong said he hopes he can follow in the footsteps of two “icons in the history of the AVMA” to lead and advance the WVA.

A version of this article appears in the April 2022 print issue of JAVMA.