On the road with AVMA’s vice president

Dr. Jennifer Quammen describes her first year in the position

By R. Scott Nolen
Published: 21 November 2023

The office of AVMA vice president is a demanding job. It's a two-year volunteer position involving a whirlwind of activities, from visiting veterinary schools and connecting with deans, faculty, and students to representing the AVMA at conferences and meetings around the world. The current AVMA vice president, Dr. Jennifer Quammen, was elected to the AVMA Board of Directors in July 2022. She spoke with AVMA News about her first year in the position and how she's hoping to impact future generations of veterinarians. The following responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Q: How did you spend your first year as AVMA vice president?

A: I've spent a good portion of my first year meeting with people and stakeholders on behalf of the AVMA, and I've resigned myself to having a "go bag" packed and ready. Between Board meetings, conferences, and more than a dozen veterinary school visits during the first half of my vice-presidential term, I managed to keep myself highly scheduled. I don't use that "busy" word if I can.

Q: What feedback from deans, faculty, and student leaders are you sharing with the Board?

A: I'm not sure if most readers would know this, so I'll start by saying that during veterinary school visits, I aim to schedule meetings with the student body, local Student AVMA (SAVMA) chapter leadership, faculty, house officers, and school administration via the dean or associate deans. I don't always manage to get each one scheduled but have been fairly successful. During these meetings, I can spread goodwill, snacks, and information that AVMA or SAVMA have for each of the groups. I always do environmental scanning of each group with the intent to bring any successes and challenges back to the Board and appropriate AVMA staff members to help problem solve or create communication channels.

I often find myself explaining the differences in scope of the volunteer and staff roles of the AVMA—with many accreditation and AVMA Council on Education (AVMA COE) questions—as well as explaining where the AVMA, American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC), and American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) intersect. I may not be the person who knows the answer to all the questions, but I can make the connections with the right individuals to get questions answered.

To see the full version of this story, visit the AVMA News website.