The Year in Review
Wow, it’s hard to believe that a year has gone by already. It seems that only a few months ago we were in St. Louis for the 2019 AABP Annual Conference, and now it’s the end of August and I am writing my last President’s Message. In September, I will pass the gavel to our President-Elect, Dr. Carie Telgen, and she will lead our organization for the upcoming year. I have had the privilege of working with Carie over the last three years and I look forward to her leadership – I know she will do a fantastic job.
Over the last 12 months, we have accomplished a lot of things as an organization, some of which were pre-planned and some of which were not. We worked with the AVMA on veterinary student debt and externship liability issues, providing valuable input and support as they have taken the lead on these important issues for our profession. We also continued to focus on rural practice sustainability through ongoing workshops sponsored by a USDA-NIFA grant, as well as tools and resources provided by the AABP Veterinary Practice Sustainability Committee. Moreover, we provided direct support for mentorship of recent graduates through the AABP Mentorship Program and indirect support through the AABP Recent Veterinary Graduate Conference. At the same time, we continued to strengthen recruitment and education of food supply veterinarians through the activities of our Food Animal Educators Task Force.
In addition to these initiatives, we reviewed and updated three AABP position statements and guidelines (Lameness, VCPR, and Non-Ambulatory and Injured Ambulatory Cattle) as part of maintaining the AABP’s position as the “go-to” organization for government and policy makers when it comes to issues of cattle health, production and well-being. Notably, we also approved a diversity and inclusivity statement to demonstrate that our organization welcomes and encourages all cattle veterinarians and veterinary students to join our association.
In terms of continuing education (CE) for our members, the AABP Recent Veterinary Graduate Conference was held in February and our 2020 53rd AABP Annual Conference will occur in Louisville at the end of September in a hybrid format with both in-person and virtual attendance registration options. In addition, we have hosted numerous webinars throughout the year on a variety of topics, all of which, including the conference presentations, are RACE-approved and available free-of-charge to our members on the AABP CE portal through a collaborative agreement with the Beef Cattle Institute (BCI). The AABP CE portal can be accessed by clicking on the BCI icon on the AABP website, which recently underwent a full makeover by the AABP office to allow for easier access to all of the member resources our organization offers. Over the past year we have digitized and made searchable all of the AABP Bovine Practitioner and Conference Proceedings publications, as well as developing and distributing the AABP Have You Herd? biweekly e-newsletter and hosting over 20 AABP Have You Herd? podcasts since the end of February.
On the unexpected side of things, we have worked diligently to provide our members with resources and support services to deal with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Most recently, this includes a complete revamp of the 2020 Annual Conference to provide a virtual attendance option for attendees and presenters, as well as live-streaming of the keynote address, AABP vice president candidate introductions, practice tips and the annual business and awards luncheon to the entire AABP membership at no charge. In addition, all members will be able to participate in the Amstutz Scholarship silent and live auctions through a new online platform. I am sure there will be more to come as things stretch on through the end of 2020 and into 2021.
Through all of this, it has been my honor to serve as AABP president for the last 12 months and to work with the motivated and dedicated volunteers who make up the AABP Executive Committee, the Board of Directors, and the AABP committees (including student members), as well as Dr. Fred Gingrich and the AABP administrative and support team. While the constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic did not allow me to meet and get to know as many of the members of our organization as I would have liked to, I did manage to connect with many of you through various electronic means and I look forward to interacting with more members in the weeks and months to come.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve this great organization and I look forward to seeing and interacting with everyone in Louisville!
Dr. Calvin Booker