Presidents Message

Dr. Sandra Godden

Thank You, and Let’s Keep in Touch


“There is…a decreased need for the veterinarian in his traditional role”.

“The cattle industry is rapidly changing…its growth and requirements have outstripped the present ability of the veterinary profession to give fully adequate service.”

“Lay groups are eager to provide medicines, pregnancy diagnosis and mastitis control…”.

Dr. John Wood (DVM, Mesa, Ariz.) penned these words, describing challenges or threats to bovine practitioners, in a guest editorial in the very first issue of The Bovine Practitioner published in January 1967 ( Apart from its gender-specific nature (referring to men only), this article could easily have been written today.

And yet, Dr. Wood’s message was not all doom and gloom. After identifying the problem as being “a vacuum, resulting from inadequate service on one hand and a rapidly expanding need on the other”, he went on to correctly state “the veterinarian is still in a prime position to regain this role”. The individual need only prepare to become “the most competent source of aid that cattlemen are seeking”, and then “aggressively project himself into this vacuum”. Dr. Wood concluded his article by identifying AABP as the very organization that would provide the needed specialized information.

Looking around today, I think most of us would agree that very little has changed, as it relates to the sentiments expressed by Dr. Wood in 1967. The industries we serve today continue to change rapidly, challenging our profession to adapt and evolve with them. And, just as our profession rose to meet Dr. Wood’s challenge in 1967, I would argue that we have the necessary tools and abilities to continue doing so today: access to the highest quality science-based knowledge and technical skills, a positive attitude and innovative spirit, and a supportive community that fosters collaboration.

In the present-day landscape, where fewer students are raised on farms or even in rural communities, veterinary colleges are striving to recruit, mentor and train an increasingly diverse population of students, and are delivering ever-evolving curricula to prepare our graduates for the changing, and I would argue, expanding, opportunities to serve our producers. AABP and its members play a critical role in collaborating with veterinary schools to achieve these goals. Further, AABP plays an even more central role post-graduation, by providing practitioners with continuing education in new science-based knowledge, tools and skills needed to adapt and succeed in practice.

However, it doesn’t stop there. We have also come to realize that personal and professional success requires much more than just medical knowledge and technical competence. Practices must provide an inclusive and supportive working environment for all if they are to attract and retain quality associates and future partners. Similarly, we must prioritize the mental health and well-being of each other and ourselves. Business and practice management skills are additional requirements for success. The AABP has recognized these needs and is addressing them through the efforts of passionate member volunteers working (for example) with the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, the Mental Health and Well-being Committee and the Veterinary Practice Sustainability Committee. Through their efforts, as well as the tremendous contributions of numerous other volunteers who work so hard on our many other committees, task forces, etc., AABP continues to excel in addressing its mission: to provide support, continuing education and advocacy for current and future veterinary professionals and the cattle they serve.

As my term as AABP president draws to a close, I want to thank everyone involved for a tremendous year. First, I want to thank Dr. Fred Gingrich and his staff, Geni, Steve, Allison and Tasha, for their competence, commitment and unwavering professionalism. Every member of this team has been a joy to work with, and we could not wish for a better executive director.

Thanks to the efforts of Fred, his staff and our many volunteers, AABP continues to deliver excellent value to its members. In addition to the AABP Annual Conference and the Recent Graduate Conference, benefits include webinars, podcasts, e-newsletters and access to practice management and other workshops. The Bovine Practitioner and conference proceedings are online and open access, and all CE is RACE-approved. Fred continues to work closely with the AVMA and our industry partners to advocate for our profession and the industries we serve. Additionally, thanks to Fred’s efforts, the organization saw a significant increase in student financial support for scholarships and professional development opportunities in 2023. Our district directors and the volunteers serving on our many committees and task forces have also been incredibly productive this past year, developing or revising numerous guidelines and position statements, translating guidelines into Spanish, etc. The 2023 Recent Graduate Conference saw record high attendance. And, with much thanks going to Drs. Capel and Sjeklocha and the Program Committee for building a simply excellent educational program, it appears that we will have near record attendance at the upcoming annual meeting in Milwaukee (Sept. 21-23, 2023). Thank you, All, for your efforts!

In his final newsletter message last year, our now past president, Dr. Pat Gorden, stated, “AABP’s best days are yet to come”, and I firmly agree. Just as Dr. Wood was confident in our profession’s future prospects in 1967, I am equally confident that the profession of bovine veterinary medicine has an exciting and positive future ahead. Abraham Lincoln said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it." Our profession would not be what it is today without AABP, and AABP would not be what it is today without you. So, again, thanks for all you do.

Finally, thank you all for the privilege of allowing me to serve AABP in this capacity for the past year. It has been a tremendous honor and a true highlight to be able to serve the organization that has played such an important role in guiding my own career. In particular, I would like to thank Drs. Gingrich, Telgen, Gorden and several other past presidents for their encouragement and many helpful words of advice this past year. Finally, I congratulate and welcome our next President, Dr. Michael Capel. He will do an amazing job!

Be well, do good work, and I will look forward to seeing you all in Milwaukee.

Dr. Sandra Godden