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Author: John H. de Jong

The veterinary profession is special in so many ways, but perhaps most obviously so when generosity of spirit, compassion, and dedication to society call us to provide our services to those most in need.

As veterinarians, we touch many lives every single day. We treat patients, consult with clients, and work to protect our food supply. We conduct crucial research and combat the spread of zoonotic disease. We share a passion grounded in science to protect animals, people, and the planet upon which we live.

We also share something a bit more personal. We commonly have a desire to help

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Author: John H. de Jong

Last month, I shared with you my commitment to advocate on behalf of the veterinary profession by engaging with federal and state lawmakers and the public. Today, I am asking you to join me in those efforts.

Decisions are made every day that directly affect us as veterinarians. Laws and regulations regarding animal neglect and abuse, small business issues, and restrictions on the practice of veterinary medicine are just some of the recurring issues that regularly impact us on the state and national level. So, it's important to be engaged, to be an effective advocate for what we believe is

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Author: John H. de Jong

As veterinarians, we have an obligation to protect the health and welfare of animals, but how and to what extent we can do that is often influenced by state and federal legislation. Our voice—your voice—matters when it comes to speaking up on issues that define how we do our work and that are critical to the future of the veterinary profession. Each connection we make with lawmakers and regulators can and does have an impact.

For me, I go back to a meeting I had on Capitol Hill more than a decade ago to remind me of the power of

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Author: John H. de Jong

As veterinarians, we recognize and uphold a duty to promote the health of all species and the many places in which they live. Your association is committed to helping advance awareness and understanding of the interdependency of the health of animals, humans, and the environment. What we do in our practices impacts the health of not only our patients, but also their owners and the physical world in which we live. These interconnections are why a one-health approach to caring for animals and people is so critically important for each of us.

The AVMA helps you stay up-to-date as we

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Author: John H. de Jong

It's been a very good year, and I couldn't be more proud of all that the AVMA has accomplished on behalf of our members. I especially want to thank all the AVMA volunteers whose excellent work has been instrumental in ensuring that we continue to remain engaged with our members and focused on their needs. It would be impossible to call out every single achievement in this column, and so I will highlight just a few examples.

For starters, we have launched the next generation of digital continuing education for veterinarians and their teams with a new online learning platform,

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Author: John H. de Jong

Since first publishing the AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals in 1963, the AVMA has been the global authority on what is one of the most difficult aspects of veterinary medicine. The AVMA is considered the internationally recognized source for scientifically robust and ethically responsible guidance on humanely ending the lives of animals when it is needed.

As veterinarians, we can assist owners in making compassionate decisions and offer animals the best quality of life possible and, where appropriate, a peaceful death. Like many of you, I, too, have experienced the difficulties associated with preparing my clients for and

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Author: John H. de Jong

I am humbled by the incredible honor of becoming your new AVMA president. I assume this important responsibility with a commitment to serving you alongside a great team of fellow AVMA officers, Board and House members, many volunteers, and staff.

Respectfully, I step into this role thanks to the guidance and support of so many people. I want to thank Dr. Michael Topper for serving as our president during this past year and for providing an example of exemplary servant leadership. I will build on his vision for the AVMA as I contribute the efforts of my term to this

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Author: John H. de Jong

Helping animals is one of the most gratifying parts of our work. It is why we became veterinarians, and it is what motivates us when we wake up in the morning.

But, the road to becoming a veterinarian is long and requires a significant commitment, both financially and in terms of time. That is why, although it is vital that we remain committed to the animals and people we serve, it is also important that the profession be financially rewarding for those who dedicate their lives to it. Unfortunately, for many veterinarians, remaining afloat financially can be difficult while also

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Author: John H. de Jong

As the proud son of two Dutch immigrants and as someone who lived in Puerto Rico for several years beginning at age 8, I began to appreciate early on the significance and the gifts of different cultures. My appreciation has grown even stronger over the past couple of years as an AVMA officer, as I have had the privilege of traveling internationally to help ensure that the U.S. veterinary profession's voice is heard on a global level.

It is through these efforts that our understanding of the perspectives of people living in other parts of the world continually expands, as

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Author: John H. de Jong

In the workplace, wellbeing plays an important role in determining not only individual health and happiness, but also job satisfaction and productivity.

In recent years, more veterinary employers have been showing an interest in wellbeing and have begun offering access to supplemental benefits, such as onsite yoga sessions and vouchers for health clubs. These employee perks are terrific ways to enhance both individual and group wellbeing. But there's more to truly achieving a “well” workplace. Making a lasting difference in employee wellbeing requires a holistic approach—one that helps create, promote, and support consistent and intentional healthy habits in the workplace.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association