Foundation News: Moving Forward to Improve Medical Outcomes
Life is about relationships - how we connect and what we exchange. The better the connections and exchange, the healthier the group. Well, at the Foundation we are connecting and exchanging in larger and larger spheres!
The AHVM Foundation is a separate group from the AHVMA. It can be confusing at times as we share similar names, officers, web site servers and office staff. In the future this will change as both groups grow, but for now it is efficient and easier for us to have these ties. The AHVMA annual meeting was in Birmingham, Alabama, and holistic and integrative veterinarians came from all over the world. We met for a great time and exchanged a ton of new information, and Jean Dodds delivered the keynote address discussing the past, present and future of medicine. She says that integrative veterinary medicine is here to stay! The Foundation was there working full time, too, as we progressed forward on our mission to provide scholarships, improve education and research, and establish academic centers within veterinary professional schools here in the USA.
The AHVMA banquet is always a blast. The AHVMA sponsored silent auction there netted a record amount (over $9,000) for Foundation scholarships. We are grateful to our Foundation Partners (Vetzlife, RxVitamins, Vetriscience, and Kemin) for their support. I was honored to receive the Peacemaker of the Year award for helping to bring peace within the field of medicine. For me this is all a big dream come true!
Marge Lewter, a foundation Board member and Scholarship in-charge, awarded six veterinary student scholarships and our first scholarship for a preprofessional veterinary student. The students at the meeting were so energized. They recognize and desire to share the goodness that is part of the integrative and holistic health movement. One texted me a message while attending a lecture on Chinese diagnosis and was on fire about how useful the data was for his clinical rotations. I spoke with Stephanie Watts, a pre-vet student and winner of this year's Cal Poly Integrative Veterinary Medicine scholarship. She is an incredibly bright and motivated young woman who is working to develop an integrative preveterinary program at Cal-Poly. I asked her why and how she became this involved with the holistic movement, and she simply said, "I began eating healthy and experienced such a feeling of wellness that I simply had to share this with others that I care about."
That statement embodies why we feel the foundation of health is nutrition and why we want a special department of biologically appropriate nutrition to investigate the power of proper diet.
And these students are not just sitting around. They are active. They chair or participate in student holistic clubs, sit on the Student Board of Directors or work in hospital programs, animal rescue groups, and veterinary and human health services. One of the students announced that she had singlehandedly raised $20,000 for the new acupuncture program at Tennessee! How's that for a way to celebrate the good news that Tennessee just added two acupuncturists to their professional school faculty?
How nice is that?
Under the leadership of our Treasurer, Larry Bernstein, the foundation is now finalizing our financial lines. Our first $100,000 matching funds check arrived this week and we are all excited to see the bank balances growing. Now that we have this working smoothly so people can continue to donate without difficulty, we turn to developing long term and productive relationships with the public, clinicians, veterinary schools, undergraduate programs and allied researchers. It's exciting to see this all manifesting.
Over the next few weeks a letter will be sent to all US veterinary schools. A copy will go to the deans, associate deans in charge of research, and the university fund raising department. We are asking who, what, where questions so we better know where resources are located and who is interested in doing this work. The Board of Directors approved a special $10,000 grant which will be awarded to the school we think is most deserving. LSU will be receiving grants from the foundation totaling $110,000. Florida State University's School of Veterinary Medicine is getting $10,000 for use in its acupuncture program. Tennessee is receiving $25,000.
The Artists for the Foundation group is
taking shape. People interested in creating art, donating art or proceeds from fund raisers should feel free to contact us. Our latest celebrity addition to this group is bass guitar maker, Jimmy Coppolo (AllevaCoppollo.com), who agreed to make a special instrument for the Foundation, which he and his dog Caesar are working on now. Jimmy's instruments are seen with famous artists all over the world from Bon Jovi to Jay Leno's band. Barbara Royal, our vice president, also announced she would be donating a portion of her new book sales to the group. New York author and celebrity, Cornelia Guest, named us as a charity of choice at a recent book signing at Sotheby's in Beverly Hills.
We all share the joy of life and the blessing that is good health. Each of us plays a part in this game and we welcome your energies and help. Feel free to contact us at any time and share your vision for improved health through improved knowledge and understanding, Nancy Scanlan, our able and tireless Executive Director, is happy to help!
Richard Palmquist, DVM