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2023 Annual Conference Summary

AAVMC Annual Conference & Iverson Bell Symposium

March 9-11, 2023, in Washington, D.C.

Catalyze 2023 brought over 350 of veterinary medicine’s brightest minds to convene at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. The sold-out event featured two and a half days full of unique programming, interactive panels, networking and more.

Featuring intriguing tracks in Admissions, Workforce, Wellbeing, One Health, Topics in Education and the Iverson Bell Symposium, the sessions highlighted best practices and innovations across all arenas of academic veterinary medicine.

Representatives from institutions across the globe highlighted AAVMC’s international reach within its worldwide spread of members. Speakers and attendees represented several nations, including New Zealand, Pakistan, South Korea, Canada, UK, St. Kitts and more.

The robust programming included a number of insightful and one-of-a-kind sessions, including: The Science of Wellness: Designing Human-Centric Veterinary Buildings, The Future of Veterinary Education Accreditation, Fairness in Admissions Process: Evaluation of Interviewers’ Judgement, Planning for the future: evaluating veterinary workforce demand, and more.

Another highlight of the event was the Spectrum of Care Symposium, sponsored by The Stanton Foundation. The symposium featured many dedicated panels, educational sessions, and networking opportunities, focused on preparing vet med graduates to practice across the spectrum of care.

To accommodate increased demand, AAVMC’s Annual Conference will be moving to a larger venue next year. Mark your calendar and plan to join us for the 2023 AAVMC Annual Conference & Iverson Bell Symposium at The Grand Hyatt – Downtown D.C. April 11-13, 2024. More details, including registration information, will be forthcoming.

Keynote Speakers Tackle Wellbeing, Climate Change and Education and Diversity

In addition to 30+ sessions throughout the conference, AAVMC hosted three keynote speakers who each gave an in-depth talk in their area of expertise.

First up was Dr. Jonathan Ripp, Associate Dean for Well-Being and Resilience, and Chief Wellness Officer, The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Dr. Ripp’s session was entitled Healthcare Worker Burnout: How Did We Get Here and How Do We Create a Path Towards Professional Well-Being.

Dr. Ripp discussed the personal and professional consequences of physician burnout and the many parallels between human and animal medicine. The topic of wellbeing in veterinary and human medicine is very popular in research, and he cited a number of recent studies from a variety of sources, including one from AMA describing the “great resignation” in medicine – and the sobering statistic that 1 in 5 doctors plan to exit in 2 years.

Some of his suggestions for easing burnout included increasing workplace efficiency, reinforcing a culture of wellbeing and using clear marketing and communication to ensure resources are top of mind and accessible.

Attendees also heard from Dr. Claire Simeone, a Conservation Leader and Veterinary Leader who traveled to Catalyze 2023 from Spain. Dr. Simeone began her talk by highlighting a number of direct effects of climate change in today’s world, especially for animals. This included animals ending up in the wrong environments, poorer air quality, an increase in heat-related illnesses, and more.

Dr. Simeone also shared an interesting perspective: that climate change can be at play and impacting wildlife even if it is not the primary cause of the animal’s death – citing an example of animals ending up in the wrong environments and thus being subject to fatal occurrences that they otherwise would not have encountered.

She emphasized that veterinary medical students are excited to tackle climate change, but look to professors and institutional leaders for goals, initiatives and guidance. It is important for individuals to come together and recognize the collective impact they can have, even if they start small.

The final keynote was delivered by Dr. Anthony Jack from Harvard University’s School of Education. Entitled, The Privileged Poor: Access Ain’t Inclusion, Dr. Jack focused on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, especially in reference to admissions and enrollment.

Throughout the speech, Dr. Jack referenced his book, The Privileged Poor, which was a recent AAVMC Reads book club pick and topic of an informal discussion during lunch the day prior.

“Access Ain’t Inclusion”

Dr. Anthony Jack

One of Dr. Jack’s most poignant distinctions was that “Access Ain’t Inclusion” – he emphasized the need for institutions to not only recruit and admit a diverse student body but also cater to those students’ unique needs and interests once they are actually enrolled, too. “Like inviting a vegan to a Southern BBQ,” says Dr. Jack, “you need to prepare for your institutions to give all students the opportunity to thrive.

Advocacy Day Returns to Capitol Hill

On Wednesday, March 8th, Advocacy Day returned to Capitol Hill after being held online for the past few years due to COVID. Several AAVMC members met with their respective State and House representatives.

AAVMC Director for Governmental Affairs Mr. Kevin Cain led the group. Learn more about AAVMC’s Advocacy Program and review the Legislative Agenda for 118th Congress here.

AwardsClick here to view all of the Award Winner Tribute Videos

There were 4 2023 Award Honorees and 1 Scholarship Awardee, and each was presented with their award live during the conference. Learn more about the award winners by watching their full tribute videos at the link above.

  • AAVMC Distinguished Veterinary Teacher Award Presented by Zoetis: Dr. Elizabeth Alvarez (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
  • Billy E. Hooper Award for Distinguished Service: Dr. John R. Pascoe (UC Davis)
  • Excellence in Research Award: Dr. Pamela J. Lein (UC Davis)
  • Iverson Bell Award, Sponsored by Banfield Pet Hospital: Dr. Rustin Moore (The Ohio State University)
  • Patricia M. Lowrie Diversity Leadership Scholarship and Merck Animal Health Diversity Leadership Scholarship, Sponsored by Merck Animal Health: Alexandra Awad (Tufts University)

AAVMC Catalyze 2023 Photos

Advocacy Day 2023 – Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Conference Day 1 – Thursday, March 9, 2023

Conference Day 2 – Friday, March 10, 2023

Conference Day 3 – Saturday, March 11, 2023

Photos: Imagine Photography DC for AAVMC