People interact with animals in a variety of ways every day, from the loving companionship shared with our pets, to playing and competing together in sports, to managing herds and flocks that provide food on our plates. The health and well-being of the animals in our lives is remarkably tied to our own in a number of ways. First, many naturally-occurring diseases and disease processes in animals are identical to those in people – osteoarthritis, diabetes, and many cancers to name a few. Basic biomedical research of these problems yields solutions that can benefit both animals and people. Animals have been the happy beneficiaries of many therapeutic advances adopted from human medicine. Conversely, clinical veterinary trials can inform promising therapies for use in people.
Some infectious diseases that affect us are zoonotic, meaning they are transmissible form animals to people. For example, influenzas often originate from birds although they sometimes involve pigs as an intermediary host. The Centers for Disease Control have estimated that 75% of pathogens that affect people originated in animals and about 60% of pathogens are zoonotic. Some of these diseases have the potential to impact people directly but also indirectly. For example, a disease transmitted from wild animal populations to susceptible food animals (cows, goats, etc.) could endanger human food supplies. Clearly, veterinary research on zoonoses can benefit both wild and domesticated species and have a tremendous impact on human health.
The mission of the AVMA includes the improvement of animal and human health. To fulfill this mission, the AVMA is committed to advancing the science and art of veterinary medicine, including its relationship to public health, biologic science, and agriculture. The AVMA advocates for research that benefits animal and human health and well-being and believes that veterinarians are uniquely qualified to lead research efforts to that purpose. Representing more than 95,000 members, the AVMA is a formidable resource for tackling existing and emerging scientific problems related to both animal and human health. This includes more than 12,290 veterinarians with advanced training in fields such as nutrition, toxicology, epidemiology, microbiology, parasitology, and a multitude of veterinary clinical specialties. Further, more than 15% of AVMA members have a graduate degree in addition to their veterinary degree, including approximately 4200 DVM/PhD members.
The AVMA has a long history of commitment to advocating for enhanced animal and human health and well-being. See the most current research priorities of the AVMA to learn more about our advocacy for Biomedical Research.
Research priorities of the AVMA
AVMA policies related to research
AVMA research awards
AVMA Council on Research
Spotlight on AVMA members engaged in research
2016 Merial NIH Young Investigator Award
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