149th Annual AVMA Convention



The San Diego Convention Center housed exhibitors and lectures during the AVMA Convention.

SAVMA House of Delegates - Day 1 Meeting

San Diego is beautiful all around, especially the weather! I am so glad that I had the opportunity to enjoy it yesterday before getting down to business early this morning. Serving in the SAVMA House of Delegates, representing the veterinarian student voice, is an honor and privilege. This morning, breakfast was sponsored by the AVMA-GHLIT and the AVMA-PLIT.

Today, executive officer reports were presented, including that of our President, who is the student voice at AVMA meetings and conferences. She informed us that there was a motion put to the AVMA House of Delegates floor to dissolve the position of Vice President (the SAVMA/AVMA liaison) in favor of regional representation only. If passed, this would have dissolved the liaison position between the AVMA Executive Board and SAVMA. Our SAVMA President presented the student voice well in stating the importance of this position, and the motion was immediately “killed”.  

Also, a new executive board position was created by the SAVMA HOD to ensure efficient advisory and relations to SAVMA on economic issues as they pertain to students. This position will serve SAVMA by keeping track of the occurrences of the AVMA, AAVMC, and VIN and will be properly advising them on the student needs as well. 

An amendment to the SAVMA Bylaws now allows representation of the needs of satellite schools/chapters by instituting Satellite Chapter Delegates. These delegates will serve as a voice for their respected affiliations, but with non-voting privileges. This includes any AVMA accredited veterinary school with an AVMA recognized Student Chapter and having a 2+2 education program.



One of the crystal chandeliers in the HOD meeting room at the Hilton.

SAVMA HOD - Meeting Day 2

This morning, our breakfast was sponsored by the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF), which donates $20 million total per year towards research and science-based practice. Once the meeting was underway, we heard from the AAVMC liason, who spoke on the supply and demand of the work force and work force studies which were being conducted as well as student debt initiatives.

One of the delegates from The Ohio State University gave a presentation on steps their SCAVMA chapter has been making towards getting the students a better opportunity to speak with “higher ups” such as their dean and AVMA representatives so that they may voice their concerns. The chapter set up a Town Hall meeting open to all students in the form of a dinner style meeting. This served to provide evidence-based information on topics such as rising tuition costs and increasing enrollment. They also generated a survey questioning students on specific topics of interest/controversy. 

Next, the International Veterinary Student Association (IVSA) President addressed the HOD regarding the relationship between the IVSA and SAVMA. He informed us that SAVMA remains the largest chapter, with dues paying members of about 13,000 members. The second largest chapter of students is only about 6,000, so you can see how influential SAVMA is in the IVSA. Also, he informed us of the next IVSA convention, which would be held in Thailand, and encouraged us to work together on building an exchange platform to send more students to internships available abroad. Currently, there are more “ingoing” students than “outgoing” students and it is our responsibility to inform SAVMA members of the immense opportunities that the IVSA provides.

The AVMA GRD Fellowship presentation was next on the agenda. The three fellows informed the HOD that there should be more individuals making their voice heard within Congress. They encouraged students to write to their Congressmen regarding issues they were currently facing and to speak out on topics which directly effect the veterinary student population. They also reminded us that the veterinary students are not the only ones being hit by rising tuition costs, but that others within the medical profession are hurting from this as well. 

Next, we had amazing presentations from our Community Outreach Excellence Award winner, Dr. Vicki Wilke, and our Teaching Excellence Award winner, Dr. Heather Wamsley. Both provided us with insight into their personal outreach. Dr. Wilke spoke to us about reaching out to those who could not afford basic pet care for their pets. Dr. Wamsley invited us into her world of teaching and showed us why her students nominated her for the award she had received. 

Among other business during the HOD meeting, we elected new officers to our Executive Board and also had a budget presentation by our Treasurer and then approved changes made to accommodate new spending to increase security for our students when paying for their membership online. This increase in security will allow some credit cards which were not able to be used on the website to now be used, and it will cost an estimated $11,000 per year (which our budget could easily handle).

Recognition was also given to schools who had maintained 100% membership and to outgoing Senior Delegates who had completed their terms in office. After one last break for committee meetings, our President adjourned the HOD until SAVMA Symposium 2014, March 21-23, at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA

Although this short summary does not include the many details nor the extensive amount of work done behind the scenes of the SAVMA House of Delegates, it highlights the major accomplishments and presentations at our recent meetings. Many liaisons are in place to keep the SAVMA HOD informed of the proceedings within other national organizations. And there are many committees established to handle business pertaining to students in numerous areas of importance. Please visit the newly revamped AVMA website for more information and topics regarding veterinary medicine. Also, I invite you to explore the SAVMA website as well!



Fifth floor view of the San Diego Convention Center from the Hard Rock Hotel.