January Message from the President

Jan 18, 2022, 00:00 AM by Dr. Jane Sykes
Message from the president

Dear ACVIM Diplomates,

I hope this message finds you well and the new year off to a wonderful start! As the holidays season concludes, there is much to look forward at the ACVIM. I’d like to begin by welcoming our new board members.


Dr. Harold McKenzie will now lead the ACVIM Board of Regents as Chair. Dr. Laura Garrett will continue to serve as the Immediate Past Chair for an additional year. I am really excited to welcome Dr. Joerg Steiner as the incoming President Elect, as I have now stepped in as the ACVIM President. Additionally, Dr. Roger Hostetler will now lead the SAIM specialty as their President. Please join me in welcoming them when you get the opportunity! I would also like you to join me in expressing gratitude to Dr. Jane Armstrong, whose Board term has now completed and whose contributions have been invaluable to the College.


You may be wondering about the difference in some of these officer positions, or even about the role of the Board of Regents in general. As Board Chair, Dr. McKenzie leads the work of the Board, which includes working with our CEO to define the Board agendas and ensure that the Board’s focus remains strategic and mission driven. As the ACVIM President, my role is to be more forward facing, serving as a resource and voice to you, our members. I will work with Dr. Steiner as he spends the coming year observing and onboarding to his future role as President.

As Immediate Past Chair, Dr. Garrett plays an important advisory role that is commensurate with her length of service on the Board. Together with the specialty presidents, Members-At-Large, Treasurer, and Certification Liaison, we are accountable to you, our members, and the broader public through strategic planning, ongoing evaluation of programs and services, and wise utilization and expansion of organizational resources. (See the feature included in this edition of the newsletter for more information on the role of the Members-At-Large.)

"While we are comprised of six specialties, we are connected by our singular mission, and it is that mission that the Board of Regents keeps top of mind as we consider the opportunities and challenges facing our community."

Historically, the ACVIM Board of Regents has balanced its governing obligations with performing much of the work of the organization. As our membership has grown, and we have built a staff who have expertise in association management, certification, education and finance, the Board has been able to direct its energy to the primary duty of a governing board, which is to guide the organization’s direction in alignment with our mission, vision, and values. It is a strategic role, that demands regular engagement with our members, and intentional awareness of the trends and influences in our profession in order to make decisions in the collective best interest of our college. While we are comprised of six specialties, we are connected by our singular mission, and it is that mission that the Board of Regents keeps top of mind as we consider the opportunities and challenges facing our community.


Our shift to a more strategic board is typical and necessary for an organization who desires to sustain the growth and success the ACVIM has enjoyed. To maintain this momentum, we are in the process of revising our bylaws so that we can be nimbler and more responsive to your needs and the pace of change in our environment, while still maintaining the rights and privileges that are the cornerstone of a membership organization like the ACVIM. We acknowledge that bylaws changes don’t always stimulate an enthusiastic turnout, but we need a strong response for these changes to be enacted. You will hear more about this in the coming weeks, but I want to use this opportunity to issue a personal and direct appeal for your participation in this important vote.

Our college is growing in size, scope and influence. However, that is only sustainable if we have a meaningful and ongoing connection with each and every one of you. The Board is committed to leveraging the opportunities that come with growth, with the strong desire to maintain the connections that were developed when we were a community of a few hundred people building careers in emerging specialties. That group had a vision and a strength of community that continues to be the source of our success. I am eager to work with you in the coming year as we build on that legacy in service to our shared commitment to excellence in specialty veterinary medicine.

I look forward to engaging with all of you in the year ahead.



Jane Sykes, BVSc (Hons), PhD, MBA, DACVIM (SAIM)
ACVIM President


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