At the 2019 52nd American Association of Bovine Practitioners Annual Conference, held Sept. 12–14 in St. Louis, Mo., veterinarians, students and other animal health professionals from across the country and the globe gained new knowledge and skills from the conference theme describing the program as a “Gateway to Success”. The conference met jointly with the American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners and the National Mastitis Council.
“Our 2019 conference theme emphasized that the educational opportunities and networking experiences at our annual conference were designed to set our members and their clients up for success,” says 2019 Program Chairman and Incoming AABP President Dr. Calvin Booker, Okotoks, Alberta, Canada. “We kicked things off with an inspiring keynote session about ‘success’ by Drs. Groom and Willingham and followed that up with technical presentations on topics ranging from clinical skills and production technologies to research updates and practice management.”
A healthy conference attendance included 1,334 registrants that included 375 students, 11 veterinary technicians, 164 colleagues who are members of the American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners, 117 members of the National Mastitis Council and 319 accompanying persons. There were also 320 exhibitor representatives from 102 commercial and educational booths in the trade show, and attendees from almost 20 countries, making the total conference attendance 1,973. The 2019 conference is the third highest attendance in recent history.
Continuing education included 14 in-depth preconference seminars in addition to a special veterinary school faculty symposium, nine clinical forums, practice tips, research summaries, poster sessions and over 50 scientific sessions covering general topics, beef, dairy, practice management, clinical skills, small ruminants and more.
“As we continue to try and improve our annual conference, we try some new things on an ongoing basis,” Booker notes. “At this year’s conference, we used Sli.do, which is an audience interaction tool that allows attendees to ask questions and participate in audience polls using their smartphones. It was a great success and we will likely continue to use this type of tool at future conferences.” In addition, some 30-minute presentation slots were included in response to feedback received from the 2018 conference, and these were well received by members. This was also the first year that all of the continuing education (CE) content at the annual conference was RACE approved, which is very important for AABP members licensed in states that required RACE-approved CE.
Veterinary students play a large role in AABP during the year and at the conference. In 2019, over $300,000 in scholarships, travel stipends, student chapter support and externships and education grants were awarded through AABP and the AABP Foundation. The Amstutz Scholarship investment and cash fund is now valued at more than $1 million. Conference activities for students include student case presentations, a student poster session, a Quiz Bowl representing 20 veterinary schools and 27 teams, student specific programming and a student reception sponsored by Endovac Animal Health.
The conference isn’t all about CE, however. Numerous receptions and meal events offered networking and socializing with colleagues and peers. One of the conference highlights was the 7th Annual 5k Stampede Fun Run sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim, which added over $10,000 to the Amstutz Scholarship Fund – AABP’s premiere scholarship fund. An entertaining live auction and dinner on Sept. 13 sponsored by Zoetis, which also supports the Amstutz Scholarship, combined with a silent auction, garnered over $87,000. A welcome reception sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim, an educational breakfast sponsored by Diamond V and an ending “Gateway Gala” sponsored by Merck Animal Health gave attendees plenty of time for socializing and networking with peers, colleagues and new acquaintances.
“The program committee has once again put together a conference of relevant continuing education for our members,” note AABP Executive Director Dr. K. Fred Gingrich, II. “We are appreciative of the countless hours the AABP staff and volunteers dedicate to ensure our members enjoy the conference each year.”
“My membership in AABP over the last 40 years has made me a better veterinarian and a better person,” adds AABP outgoing President Dr. Glenn Rogers, Graford, Texas. “I truly believe that the future our country depends on a strong rural America and the future of rural America depends on talented professionals, with veterinarians at the top of the list.”
Gingrich adds that AABP will hold its 3rd AABP Recent Veterinary Graduate Conference Feb. 20-22, 2020, in Columbus, Ohio. “If you are a recent graduate AABP member, I encourage you to look at the exciting program that has been put together for you at this upcoming conference,” he says. Conference registration will open in October – check the AABP website at https://aabp.org for upcoming information.
In addition to the annual conference, AABP has been active in producing business management workshops for bovine veterinarians through its Veterinary Practice Sustainability Committee, has offered hands-on bovine embryo transfer seminars in conjunction with Virginia Tech and has recently offered webinars to members on cattle genomics and pain management. AABP has also played a leadership role in conversations around issues of importance to members and animal agriculture including animal welfare, antimicrobial use and resistance, and prudent drug use.
The 2020 53rd AABP Annual Conference will be held September 24-26 in Louisville, Ky.