The SAVMA Governmental Affairs Committee and Education and Professional Development Committee are offering a grant to veterinary students and veterinary student organizations to provide funding for awareness of the current financial concerns for veterinary students. Read to see how this grant helped send students to the fifth annual student fly-in, hosted by the AVMA’s Governmental Relations Division:
Sarah Fry, Tayler Foshee, and Stef Bolas
Oklahoma State University
Class of 2015 & 2014
On March 4th & 5th, 2013 we had the opportunity to attend the AVMA Student Legislative Fly-In in Washington D.C. This event occurs annually and allows students to learn about the legislative process. It shows the impact constituents can have on the legislative process and how to communicate with your congressmen to make a positive impact on your community and profession. As well as the alternative governmental career paths that veterinarians can pursue.
On the first day of the event, we learned about current legislation impacting veterinary medicine and what role the AVMA’s Governmental Relations Division plays in representing the veterinary profession on Capitol Hill. Two pieces of legislation were our focus for the Fly-in, the Horse Protection Act Amendment and the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Enhancement Act Amendment. Most of the day was spent preparing for our meetings with our congressmen about these amendments. We also had the opportunity to learn about the AVMA Congressional Fellowship by speaking with a current and past fellow. They answered many of our questions about what it is like to work on Capitol Hill.
On the second day of the Student Legislative Fly-In, we each met with our respective congressional members. Walking through the legislative buildings and the Capitol building was an amazing experience. Before our meetings, we spoke with Representative Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and Representative Ted Yoho (R-FL). They are veterinarians who are currently serving in Congress. They offered their guidance for young people entering the veterinary profession and also shared their thoughts on the legislative process. It was amazing to speak with veterinarians who are working to improve our nation. The meetings with congressional staff members were very exciting and they were receptive to hearing our personal stories and opinions.
The AVMA Student Legislative Fly-In was a great experience and we learned so much about the legislative process. We took away a sense of how important it is for veterinarians and veterinary students to stay involved in the legislative process and aware of current legislation because it can truly affect the future of our profession. It also showed us another career path veterinarians can pursue by working in government. Veterinarians have many skills that are valuable in careers in government such as communication, problem-solving and scientific interpretation. The Governmental Relations Division of the AVMA was amazing and helpful. We could not have asked for a better first experience in Washington D.C. If you are interested in further information on pieces of legislation that are important to the veterinary profession, we encourage you to visit the AVMA CAN website.