Presidents Message

Dr. Pat Gorden

Happy New Year!

For me, the new year brings about reflection of what my clients and I have achieved for their animals’ health and productivity in the previous year, and the setting of goals for the next. Not surprisingly, AABP leadership undergoes a similar process in planning for the future of the organization.

AABP’s primary member benefit is providing continuing education. So how are we doing toward that mission? The biggest continuing education offering is our annual conference. In 2021, we provided 23.5 hours of continuing education to over 1,000 members, either in-person or virtually. Like other years, all the presentations from the conference are available free-of-charge to all members via the BCI CE portal. This benefit allowed for 5,400 downloads of content in 2020 and over 3,500 downloads through the first nine months of 2021. This is a tremendous increase in demand compared to when these were first available as a pay-as-you-go benefit in which there were less than 100 annual downloads. As a response to the low uptake, the AABP Board of Directors decided to offset the costs for this benefit and make this a free benefit. It appears that this has been a tremendously impactful decision toward improving access to CE for our membership.

In 2018, AABP hosted the first Recent Graduate Conference, open to all members who were in practice eight years or less. Designed to deliver content that is more applicable to recent grads, this conference has quickly become a successful event. In 2022, we will meet in New Orleans, and if early registrations are any indicator, this is going to be the largest RG Conference to date. Virtual conference registration is available to all AABP members, not just recent grads.

Another highly successful CE option are the AABP Have You Herd? podcasts. Started in February 2020, to date there have been 83 podcasts released with an average of 800 downloads per podcast (65,293 total downloads). I’m sure there are a lot of topics that you’d like to hear about, so if you have an idea for a future podcast topic, reach out to Dr. Gingrich at Heck, he might even talk you into being a guest host. Starting around the same time the podcasts did, AABP has hosted 29 webinars with over 1,000 live views of these events. These are also available through the BCI portal.

Developed as a grassroots project from the Veterinary Practice Sustainability Committee, the Manage Your Rural Practice for Success Workshops have become a huge success. Under the tutelage of Dr. David Welch, these two-year business management courses are designed to deliver business management skills to veterinarians out of school less than 10 years. Through the years, the organization has been able to repeatedly secure funding through the USDA NIFA grant program to offset the costs to a set of veterinarians. Last summer, I had the opportunity to attend both a year one and year two session of these workshops and was truly impressed with the level of instruction provided. For those interested, the next application period will open later this year.

This past year brought a transition in our print CE offerings with the retirement of Dr. Bob Smith as only the second editor in the entire history of The Bovine Practitioner. Under the guidance of Dr. Smith, the journal continues to offer practical manuscripts for the membership which now has all 82 volumes available electronically and in “Open Access” format. In addition, every issue of the AABP Annual Conference Proceedings and the AABP Recent Graduate Conference Proceedings are now available electronically. Thank you, Dr. Smith, for your contributions to the organization’s effort to provide cutting edge CE to our membership!

So, all in all, the organization is doing a very good job toward its mission of delivering cutting edge CE to our membership. All of this is not without a cost, and the Board of Directors is currently in the budgeting phase for 2022 with regard to what we can offer in a cost-effective manner. For example, the virtual component for the last two conferences has been a lifesaver toward increasing paid attendance. But in 2022, the projected AV costs for the annual conference are approaching $200,000. The Board needs to determine whether the financial risk offsets the benefits provided to members. Additionally, while we’ve had requests to allow live virtual access to the Recent Graduate Conference, so far virtual registrations have not been plentiful enough to offset the cost of this member benefit.

As always, I close with an ask of you. First, if you have ideas for CE that AABP should investigate, let your Board representative, Dr. Gingrich, or me know. Second, if you would like to attend the Recent Graduate Conference virtually, please register soon or we may have to cancel that option. Finally, as part of getting the conference CE verified, AABP reports meeting attendance to the American Association of Veterinary State Boards. To do so, we must have members’ license numbers in our database. So, please check your member information on the AABP website and update it with your license number if it’s not already there.

Thank you for all that you do for this great profession. May your new year be safe and productive.

Dr. Pat Gorden