Letters to the Editor

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Global group bridges veterinary dermatology and pathology

We read with interest the commentary from Dr. David Pinson on “Frustrations, requirements, and expectations of skin biopsy for diagnosing skin disease.”1 Histologic examination of skin biopsy specimens is an extremely useful, and in many cases essential, tool in the investigation and diagnosis of skin disease in animals, and so we wanted to take this opportunity to inform readers about the International Society of Veterinary Dermatopathology (ISVD). The ISVD was established by a group of veterinary pathologists and dermatologists who saw a need for a global specialist group that could bridge the disciplines of veterinary dermatology and pathology and promote the development of veterinary dermatopathology. The ISVD was established in 2000, holding its first meeting during the 4th World Congress of Veterinary Dermatology. Membership in the ISVD is open to any veterinarian interested in veterinary dermatopathology, whether in general practice, specialty dermatology practice, diagnostic pathology practice, or academia. We have an active electronic discussion list, and our website provides proceedings from past meetings, cases of the month, and information about future meetings. The ISVD has funded a number of dermatopathology research projects over the past few years, the results of which have been presented at our annual meetings. We would like to encourage readers with an interest in veterinary dermatology or dermatopathology to join our society dedicated to the advancement of veterinary dermatopathology.

David Shearer, BVetMed, PhD

President, ISVD

Joanne Mansell, dvm

Past President, ISVD

Laura Bongiovanni, dvm

Vice President, ISVD

Jennifer Ward, dvm

Treasurer, ISVD

Derick Whitley, dvm

Secretary, ISVD

Barbara McMahill, dvm, PhD

Board Member, ISVD

Chiara Brachelente, DVM

Board Member, ISVD

1. Pinson DM. Frustrations, requirements, and expectations of skin biopsy for diagnosing skin disease. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2016; 248:11121114.

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Veterinarians thrive in top AVMA position

I want to congratulate the AVMA Board of Directors for selecting Dr. Janet D. Donlin as the new AVMA executive vice president.1 Dr. Ron DeHaven has done a commendable job in his nine years at the helm of our Association, and Dr. Donlin will, I am certain, do an exemplary job in managing the day-to-day operations of the largest and greatest veterinary organization in the world. Congratulations to you, Dr. Donlin.

My enthusiasm is tempered somewhat, however, by the recent decision by the AVMA House of Delegates to, in the future, allow one of the top two positions in the AVMA—executive vice president or assistant executive vice president—to be filled by a nonveterinarian.2 I strongly disagree with this action, as I believe it is extremely important that the office of the executive vice president always be filled by a veterinarian.

Having spent nearly 12 years as AVMA executive vice president, I can attest from personal experience how important having a veterinarian in this position can be. Often, when visiting US senators and representatives, both my ability to gain entrance to their offices and the reception I subsequently received was a result of my being a veterinarian representing veterinarians. I was able to speak from the heart and was believed as such. Individuals from governmental agencies, including the USDA, APHIS, and National Institutes of Health, were equally receptive to meeting requests, for the same reason, and each time I appeared before a governmental body, be it federal or state, I was accepted as a professional representative of the profession.

Other veterinary professional organizations such as state veterinary medical associations and various associated groups have hired nonveterinarians as their executive directors with great success. But, the AVMA is a different organization. The AVMA represents veterinarians nationwide, in all disciplines and areas of interest, as no other veterinary organization does. As the AVMA executive vice president, I was able to communicate with the many audiences of the Association, including members, because I was a veterinarian myself. To my mind, the office of the AVMA executive vice president is one of the most important positions in the veterinary profession and a veterinarian should always occupy that position.

Bruce W. Little, dvm

Las Vegas, Nev

  • 1. Nolen RS, Kirkpatrick D. AVMA Board elects Donlin as new CEO. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2016; 249:572575.

  • 2. Cima G. AVMA broadens candidate pool for executives, adjusts other policies. AVMA Convention 2016 Daily News Aug 7, 2016.

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