SAVMA goes digital | American Veterinary Medical Affiliation

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When face-to-face meetings were no longer an option, around 130 veterinary students gathered online using Zoom, a virtual meeting platform, to conduct AVMA-related business and student elections this spring.

The meeting from March 14th to 15th comprised the general assembly of the SAVMA House of Representatives, all committee meetings and a new meeting to orient the delegates. The symposium was originally planned as a face-to-face event at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, but had to be canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Kyre Larrabee, the outgoing SAVMA president, had about a week before the event to plan an alternative scenario. Part of that planning was informing nearly 1,000 students that they couldn’t attend the annual event, which brings together students, veterinarians, members of the veterinary college, and industry leaders for lectures, competitions, and leadership meetings. However, some of these events continued when the SAVMA members virtually met.


The SAVMA Committee on Government Affairs tabled an amendment to the SAVMA Bylaws that includes a language for dealing with situations where delegates themselves apply for personal grants, grants or limited opportunities granted by the SAVMA committee of which they are a member . The GAC decided to withdraw the request and work with the chairs of the SAVMA committee to refine the amendment and present it at a future meeting.

A proposal submitted by the SAVMA symposium committee would enable delegates from the visiting symposium school to participate in a second permanent SAVMA committee in addition to the SAVMA symposium committee, to which they are automatically assigned as delegates of the host school. The application was submitted for the next SAVMA HOD meeting during the AVMA Convention 2020, which is scheduled to take place from July 31st to August 31st. 4 in San Diego.


SAVMA has recognized several faculty members for their work on social media. Dr. Kate KuKanich, Associate Professor of Small Animal Internal Medicine at Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine, received the Faculty Community Outreach Award. Dr. Sara Lawhon, Associate Professor of Veterinary Pathobiology at Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedicine, received the Teaching Excellence Award. Dr. Jacquelyn Pelzer, Associate Professor of Practice and Director of Admissions and Student Services at Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, received the Support of Student Wellbeing Award. Lyla Kotsch, a student at the University of Georgia Veterinary College, received the John Pitts Distinguished Service Award.


The following SAVMA officers were appointed for 2020-21: Marie Bucko, President of the University of Wisconsin-Madison; Morgan Ostwinkle Jones, Lincoln Memorial University, Secretary; AudreyAnne Estess, Mississippi State University, treasurer; Kayla Hoenert, Purdue University, communications and public relations officer; Collin Kramer, Colorado State University, international exchange coordinator; Kirsten Andersson, University of Illinois, editor-in-chief of the Vet Gazette; Laura Venner, Ohio State University, Global and Public Health Officer; Kelsey Deaver, Iowa State University, Veterinary Economics Officer; Jessi Coryell, University of Minnesota, cultural officer.

The SAVMA HOD also elected the following officers: Hidayah Martinez-Jaka, Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, President-elect; Ashley Miller, Western University of Health Sciences, Global and Public Health Officer; Hanna Netisingha, University of Illinois, Communications and Public Relations Officer Elect; Tyler McMurray, Mississippi State University, Elected Veterinary Economist; Laci Taylor, Cornell University, elected international exchange officer.