I have been most honored to serve as your ARVMA President this year. I am blessed to be able to practice in a busy 4 doctor mixed-animal practice in Searcy, on the land that my family has farmed and owned for over 80 years. I am a graduate of LSU School of Veterinary Medicine (Class of 2007), and still a huge fan of those Tigers! In my free time I love to hike the beautiful trails of the Natural State with my mastiff sidekick, as well as ride horses.
I was lucky enough to be able to serve with Drs. Laura Lynch and Karen Sherman (past ARVMA Presidents) on the ARVMA board prior to being elected to the Presidency, so I knew going forward that I would have huge shoes to fill. We are lucky as a state association to have so many talented colleagues who are willing to serve, and I have been blessed to get to know a great many of them personally and professionally.
As I’m sure you all know Maggie Milligan, our Executive Director, works tirelessly to ensure our association runs smoothly, and is the glue that holds our ArVMA board together. We are also served by an amazing AVMA Delegate Dr. David Blount, and Alternate Delegate Dr. Lindy O’Neil, both of whom work to keep us informed of AVMA goings on, and also advocate for us at the national level. The trustees and officers of the ArVMA are truly amongst the best of the best, and deserve many thanks for all their hard work. Our association also has the pleasure of working with Paul Vitale, who has greatly improved our branding and marketing presence, as well as working with our Power of Five group last year, and working towards continuing that tradition. Finally, we have been able to forge a strong, lasting relationship with Rodney Baker, our lobbyist. He is an asset to our association and a consummate professional, who represents us, both in and out of legislative session, with grace and fluidity.
I have said from the outset that we need transparency and communication with our membership to make the association feel like a functional, yet tight-knit organization, and it is my hope that we have made strides toward that this year. We have worked to strengthen our relationships with our legislators by having face to face meetings with both the members of the Senate and House Agriculture Committees, and by all accounts we had a successful legislative session this year. Special thanks to Rodney Baker and Drs. Paul Jenkins and Chad Towns who worked tirelessly to ensure we were well represented throughout the session. There were several late night conversations, and last minute meetings in order to make sure we didn’t miss opportunities to voice our concerns, none of which could have happened without these three people! Also, remember that on the ArVMA mobile app (available for either apple or android devices) we have had a weekly update on each week of our legislative session, so you could keep informed of events in real time! We will also be updating our website this year, so be on the lookout for a new and improved design!
We are blessed as a state to house the Veterinary Technician program at ASU Beebe to provide high quality technicians to our state practices. I was able to serve on the AVMA Accreditation team this year, and ASU Beebe’s program received their accreditation with many accolades. The AVMA staff was impressed with the program, as well as the students and graduates. We also continue as an association to work closely with the surrounding veterinary schools (Louisiana State University, Mississippi State University as well as others) to ensure that the pre-veterinary students in our state have an outlet to continue their education
Speaking of education, quality continuing education is one of the huge highlights of our association, and a big reason for our Winter Meeting (aside from getting to socialize and network, and of course meet with our fabulous sponsors)! Dr. Paul Jenkins has worked so hard to put on a fabulous continuing education program for this year’s meeting, and I’m looking forward to attending lectures, and bringing back new ideas to our practice.
The ArVMA continues to work hard to support the veterinarians in our state, and is always on the lookout for ways we can improve as an association. We value your thoughts and also encourage you to become involved. If you are looking for ways to serve, please reach out to myself, a board member, or Maggie. We would love to have you join us!
Natalie Cooper, DVM
ARVMA President 2019