July Message from the President

Jul 19, 2022, 11:35 AM by Dr. Jane Sykes

Message from the president

Dear ACVIM Diplomates,

The months are flying by and with more than half of year behind us, it is exciting to see the ACVIM community finally begin to return to a more normal cadence than in previous years. Many of our colleagues from around the world just returned from attending the ACVIM Forum event that took place June 22-25 in Austin, Texas. There are many highlights to share that took place at our first in-person event in two years. And in case you were unable to be present at the live event, there's still an opportunity to take part virtually. I also encourage you to save the date for the live virtual interactive event coming up September 21-22.

To begin the week at Forum, the Board of Regents and many volunteer committee Chairs participated in a facilitation workshop led by Jeffrey Cufaude. During the half day interactive session, those that attended learned strategies for effective meeting facilitation with the goal of further developing leadership skills within the Board and our volunteer groups. In the years ahead we hope to continue to develop this training to offer to all incoming volunteer leaders.

The ACVIM Forum was anchored by several exciting events, including the dynamic keynote address given by Risha Grant on the topic of The Brain’s Role in Unconscious Bias. Attendees were given the opportunity to explore their biases, while also learning about applicable tools to face and move past them. Risha’s guidance during the session made what often can be an uncomfortable subject approachable and engaging.

On June 24, the ACVIM celebrated our esteemed colleagues during the ACVIM Awards Luncheon. This was just the second time this ceremony took place apart from the Annual Membership Business meeting and grew to include recognition of the 2022 Resident Research Awards, Sponsored by Purina Institute. During the ceremony, Dr. Mark Kittleson was honored as the recipient of the Robert W. Kirk Award for Professional Excellence. Dr. Bill Fenner received the Lee & Inge Pyle Service Award. Dr. Philip Fox was honored with the Specialty Lifetime Achievement Award for cardiology as was Dr. Philip Johnson for the large animal internal medicine specialty. Please join me in extending a warm and sincere congratulations to our 2022 ACVIM award recipients!

Additionally, during the ceremony, a new award was announced named in honor of Dr. Bill Fenner’s exemplary service. The William R. Fenner Early Career Award for Outstanding Service will recognize Diplomates boarded for 10 years or less who exemplify exceptional service to the College or in their specialty in a volunteer capacity.

The ACVIM worked hard to make the time spent in Austin feel inclusive and supportive of our diverse membership. Efforts included:

  • Hosting events like Colleagues and Cocktails in partnership with PrideVMC including co-author of the Gender Identity Bill of Rights (GIBOR), Dr. Ewan Wolff
  • Partnering with local LGBTQ+ artists to create the 2022 ACVIM Forum t-shirt and sticker
  • Providing space for LGBTQ+ artists through Bumperactive to sell artwork and apparel during the event
  • Using a local women-owned business to print the event program
  • Additionally, the mayor of Austin wrote a letter reaffirming the city’s opposition to the legislation in the state of Texas, which is not reflective of Austin’s spirit or values.

The ACVIM continues its effort to support Diversity Equity and Inclusion initiatives (DEI) and perspectives. The work of our DEI consultant is well underway. You can expect to receive an online assessment sent out in the coming weeks that will inform the ACVIM’s overall strategic plan for our DEI efforts. I encourage you to participate and offer your perspective and insight.

We also have a number of important voting actions in the coming weeks in relation to Governance Committee recommendations for bylaws amendments. It was challenging to reach a quorum in the last voting action and so we urge you to be engaged in the voting process and also encourage your colleagues to vote. Please watch out for the voting actions on the ACVIM360 Community forums.

With all the activities in the previous months and what we still look ahead to accomplish, it serves as a reminder of how grateful and honored I feel to be part of the ACVIM. I want to recognize all the incredible members that compose our college. Your service, achievements and ingenuity continue to advance specialty veterinary medicine in a diverse field of outstanding professionals!



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


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