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2 AVMA veterans will run for 2022 presidency

Drs. Grace Bransford and Lori Teller are seeking a seat that only three women have ever held.

2 AVMA veterans will run for 2022 presidency
From left, Drs. Grace Bransford and Lori Teller

Two women are vying to become president of the American Veterinary Medical Association in 2022, raising the likelihood of only the fourth female president in the organization’s nearly 160-year history.

Grace Bransford, DVM, the AVMA’s immediate past vice president, and Lori Teller, DVM, DABVP (canine/feline), who chairs the board of directors, declared their candidacies July 31 during a virtual meeting of the House of Delegates. The nomination period remains open.

The Zoom video conference was held the same day the delegates were to have met in San Diego at the kickoff of the AVMA annual convention. The in-person convention was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic and rescheduled as a virtual event Aug. 20 to 22.

Dr. Bransford, a Northern California small animal practitioner, and Dr. Teller, a faculty member at the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine, addressed the delegates, who will choose the 2021-22 president-elect — effectively the 2022-23 president — next summer.

Dr. Bransford, who spent a decade in advertising and marketing before embarking on a veterinary career, reflected on her years of volunteer service with the AVMA.

“We have achieved a great deal in providing the benefits and services our members have asked for, especially in the areas of government advocacy, economic research and analysis, wellness support, and partnering with other leadership groups in our profession,” she said.

“We can work harder to make sure that our association and our profession reflect the diversity of our country, and we can continually evaluate ourselves to see that we are considering the global collective and perspectives in our actions.”

Dr. Teller, a telehealth professor and part-time Houston practitioner, told the delegates about being a cancer survivor and the mother of a special-needs son.

“As president-elect of the AVMA, I can continue to help guide the association to meet the needs of the profession and help us become more proactive in addressing current issues and those just over the horizon,” she said.

“I am a practitioner, an educator, a wife, mom, daughter, sister. I am someone who overcomes obstacles and challenges and gets things done.”

The AVMA’s previous female presidents were Mary Beth Leininger in 1996-97, Bonnie Beaver in 2004-05 and René Carlson in 2011-12.

In other action:

  • José Arce, DVM, the co-owner of Miramar Animal Hospital in San Juan, Puerto Rico, was named 2020-21 president-elect and will serve in the top spot in 2021-22.
  • Wisconsin practitioner Douglas Kratt, DVM, moved from president-elect to the 2020-21 presidency, replacing John Howe, DVM.
  • Chicago veterinarian and practice owner Sandra Faeh Butler, DVM, won a two-year term as vice president.
  • AVMA treasurer Arnold Goldman, DVM, MPH, announced that annual dues for the organization’s 95,000 members will be frozen in 2021. A $10 increase had been planned.

“2020 is not for the faint of heart,” Dr. Goldman said. “Recognizing this uncertainty and the adverse economic impact suffered by our members over these now many months, the AVMA board of directors has decided not to implement the House-approved dues increase for 2021.

“Your board realizes, regardless of any other considerations, that this is not a time to raise dues and unanimously voted not to do so.”

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