The President's Letter:

While many may know me, I would however venture that most do not. By way of introduction allow me a few lines telling you about myself. I was born and grew up in west central Arkansas near Russellville. While taking an indirect path I graduated from Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine in 1986 last century. Subsequently, my wife Cindy and I moved to Fort Smith Arkansas to join a Small Animal practice. Since that time, I have practiced companion animal medicine in the same practice.

We made our home in Fort Smith, and have remained there for the entire duration of this journey. We have a son, Chase, who is currently a senior in the School of Architecture at the University of Arkansas Fayetteville. In my off time, I’m a Certified Flight instructor attempting to teach people how to fly airplanes without killing themselves or others. I Fish when I can, travel all I can and complain often about anything. However, one thing that I will not complain of is the distinct honor that I have to serve as your president on the board of your state Veterinary Association. While I try to not take much too seriously, I intend to take this very seriously and will do my utmost to serve you for the next year.

Dr. David Blount, former board president and ArVMA representative to our legislator, invited me to run for district IV representative in 2007. When I joined the board, I had little knowledge what the function of the ArVMA was other than to provide continuing education opportunities in the state. I knew little of the importance of the ArVMA to veterinarians and our profession in the state of Arkansas.

Since then I’ve learn that our association serves us in a multitude of avenues at multiple levels. Not the least of which is maintaining a constant watch on the legislative body of our state government through our lobbyist Bill and Bradley Phillips. It is the Associations duty to ensure that the best interest of the profession is served and that the profession is not adversely affected by legislation considered. While the State House and State Senate are in session, maintaining watch is a job requiring experience, talent, and full devotion. We have that in our lobbyist and are fortunate to have them on board.

Your association is a conduit to The American Veterinary Medical Association. In this function the Association serves you by keeping abreast of ideas, and changes that are enacted by the AVMA that could affect you and your practice at the national level. The AVMA is also the watchdog monitoring the US Senate and House lobbying for your good at that level. In this manner the ArVMA keeps an eye on the doings at the federal level.
Then there is the Arkansas Veterinary Medical Foundation, created and funded in no small part by your association. This foundation provides support and promotion for our profession. In addition, they offer scholarships to Arkansas Veterinary students studying out of state. These scholarships are based on need and performance in addition to scholastic ability.

Time and space limit my ability to mention all the attributes that your association brings to the table. Attributes, like animal welfare considerations, disaster relief, financial advice, business advice, interactions with the USDA, and representative to the public for you. A tour about the web site will fill that void. Just rest assured that I will attempt to conduct myself as your president to the best that my ability will allow.
The winter meeting, the 108th winter meeting is now in the books. For the most part, the meeting was a success. I received many positive comments and compliments with reference to the venue, speakers and subjects. Our business luncheon and awards banquet were well attended. The featured speaker, Paul Vitale did an outstanding job motivating and entertaining us at the banquet. Congratulations to the Veterinarian of the year, Dr. Jim Ralston and congratulations to the Pet of the year “Avery” nominated by the staff at the Vilonia Animal Clinic..

In closing, I encourage you to get involved with your association. Learn what it has to offer, and take advantage of that.

Until the next time, peace be with you
Rusty Henderson DVM

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