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Michael San Filippo
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 AVMA launches new committee to address unique concerns of early-career veterinarians

(SCHAUMBURG, Ill.) September 25, 2012—The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has launched a new committee that will help secure the future of the veterinary profession by serving the needs of its youngest professionals.

“Today, veterinarians early in their careers face a daunting environment. Educational debt continues to rise for those veterinary students who report that they have debt,” says Dr. Doug Aspros, president of the AVMA. “Unfortunately, starting salaries for new veterinarians decreased by 3 percent from 2011 to 2012.

 “The Early Career Development Committee (ECDC) will engage young veterinarians in open discussions about the challenges they face and will use that input to help develop new AVMA programs that serve their unique needs,” Dr. Aspros adds.

The ECDC will develop new resources, create networking opportunities and actively engage recent veterinary school graduates in an online community to gather feedback on AVMA programs and proposals.

 The nine members of the ECDC were selected from a large and extremely qualified pool of nominations.  The committee is made up of five recent graduates who are within five years of graduation, two emerging leaders who are within five to 15 years of graduation, a faculty adviser and a representative of the American Society of Veterinary Medical Association Executives (ASVMAE).

The ECDC members are:

*Dr. James Weisman – faculty advisor (Purdue University)

*Dr. Karen Shenoy – emerging leader

*Dr. Mary (Libby) Coleman Todd – emerging leader

*Dr. Kirk Breuninger – recent graduate

*Dr. James Finlay – recent graduate

*Dr. Robin Hansen – recent graduate

*Dr. Will McCauley – recent graduate

*Dr. Doreen Turner – recent graduate

*Charlene Wandzilak – ASVMAE representative (Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association)

Term lengths for committee members will be short, just three years, to keep recent graduates on the committee. However, terms for the inaugural class of ECDC members range between one and three years, so that, in the years to come, the committee will receive several new members every year.  The committee will hold its first meeting before the end of the year. 

In advance of the ECDC, the AVMA has established the Early Career Online Community to provide a real-time link between the ECDC and a community of young veterinarians.

 “We want veterinarians early in their careers to utilize this online community and feel comfortable discussing topics that are of interest to them. Our intent is to ensure that this is always a community that is reserved for new veterinarians,” explains Dr. Carrie Javorka, AVMA staff liaison to the ECDC.  “This online community provides a safe place for young professionals to network and learn from their peers, and it will also serve as an important sounding board for ECDC members.”

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