A Successful Round Up
The 55th Annual Conference of the AABP, located in beautiful Long Beach, Calif., handily accomplished in its aim of “Gathering the Herd”. Of the 843 registrants attending, there were 10 countries represented, 220 veterinary students, 150 members of the American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners, 77 accompanying persons and 78 exhibitors. Attendees enjoyed the beautiful weather, relaxing walks (or runs – for the 110 5K Stampede participants) along the harbor or beach, and, most of all, each other’s company. It was truly a joy to reconnect with old colleagues and friends, and equally fun to make new ones. Attendees received up to 22.5 hours of continuing education on a variety of focus areas including sessions on beef, dairy, small ruminants, practice management, research summaries, practice tips, the graduate student competition and the veterinary student case competition, in addition to preconference seminars and clinical forums.
Conference evaluations were overwhelmingly positive, with attendees especially enjoying the keynote address, the new joint beef/dairy sessions and the clinical skills sessions. Other high points included the receptions and meals, the Amstutz scholarship auction, awards luncheon and the distribution of $249,500 in scholarships to many deserving veterinary students, our future colleagues.
Numerous attendees strongly supported the important message of the keynote speaker, Dr. Vernard Hodges, a black veterinarian and star of Nat Geo Wild’s “Critter Fixers: Country Vets” television show. Hodges, who overcame a poor, rural Georgia upbringing to become a highly successful veterinarian, delivered a personal and very touching talk on the importance of mentors in his journey to success. He challenged each one of us to help “expand the herd” by reaching out and mentoring young students, and in particular, minority and under-represented youngsters, to make them aware of what rural practice veterinarians do, to let them know that our profession values and welcomes any and all who “love cows”, and to provide these youngsters with the necessary mentoring and support needed to assist them on their path to veterinary college, and later, to success in practice.
Many thanks go to Dr. Fred Gingrich and his staff (Geni, Allison, Steve and Tasha), the program committee and session moderators for delivering an excellent conference. We also are extremely appreciative for the ongoing support of our sponsors, without whom conferences of this caliber would not be possible.
It is also important to celebrate AABP’s many other accomplishments over the past year. Many thanks go to Dr. Gingrich and his staff, plus the many volunteers who serve on the executive committee, board of directors, committees, and task forces, for their work to develop and deliver new programs, and new (or revised) educational resources or guidelines on a variety of issues and topics important to our personal and professional success, as well as the success of our clients.
The Mental Health task force continues to develop and deliver programs and educational resources critical to the wellbeing of our members, as well as the many other people important in our lives. The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force, now a standing committee, continues to address the sometimes-difficult conversations around the importance of ensuring that all feel welcome and valued within our profession. One special note is the creation of the Dr. James Hendrix Bias Scholarship, sponsored by the DEI committee, which will provide an award to two student recipients per year who are from underrepresented minority groups in veterinary medicine.
Our many committees were also incredibly productive, with examples of valuable outputs including but not limited to revisions to the AABP’s Antimicrobial Stewardship Guidelines (Committee on Pharmaceutical and Biological Issues), the Raised without Antibiotics Position Statement (Animal Welfare Committee [AWC]), and the ongoing work on AABP’s Humane Euthanasia of Cattle Guidelines (AWC).
Special thanks go to our Past President Dr. Pat Gorden, for his tremendous service over the past year. Under Pat’s excellent leadership, the education programs, resources, and services that AABP offers to its members have only continued to get better and better. It is, in a very large part, because of his dedication and hard work, that the AABP has such a bright future ahead.
I would like to leave you with two final thoughts. First, thank you again for the tremendous honor of being allowed to serve the AABP in this capacity. Second, I would like to invite all of our members to get involved where you can. This is your organization to make of it as you will. If you have the bandwidth and the interest, please consider getting involved. A great place to start is by volunteering on a committee or task force of interest to you.
Additionally, please bring your ideas forward for how the AABP can continue to support you and your clients’ success, be that suggestions for webinar or podcast topics, or suggestions for topics and speakers for future programs or events, including the Recent Grad conference and the Annual Conference. Just reach out to Dr. Gingrich, myself, your district director, or a committee chair with your ideas.
I wish you all a safe, happy and rewarding year ahead.
Dr. Sandra Godden