One of the wonderful things about DC is how easy it is to connect with people with similar passions and interests.
This week, we had the opportunity to meet with AVMA’s Legislative Advisory Committee, composed of veterinarians from different states and organizations representing a wide array of industries within veterinary medicine. The team’s role is to assist with, and represent, the AVMA’s legislative agenda, which entails meeting with federal officials to share these veterinary legislative concerns.
The best thing about meeting new people is finding ways in which you are already connected – either through others, or through similar interests. Not only do these commonalities pave the way for great conversation, but they also serve as a source of comfort. A good example of this is Laura and I meeting with Dr. Matt Holland, one of the current AVMA fellows. We shared a common feature with him – the enthusiasm and interest in anything and everything. Matt came from a background of sports journalism before deciding on pursuing veterinary medicine, and within that, he has continued to explore and stay open to opportunities that come his way. I like to think of the joint struggle in in broad interests that Matt, Laura and I seem to share as a “good problem.” It is comforting to know, that even as a graduated veterinarian, even with the title of “Dr.”, it is alright, in fact, encouraged, to keep exploring. As I connect with more veterinarians involved in different aspects of the career, and learn about their unique career paths, the importance of staying flexible and open to opportunities is continuously reaffirmed.
Some fun connections that I made with the LAC team: Dr. Mike Topper and I, of course, have Georgia in common (and have met there before). I sat across from Dr. Kelly Still Brooks at the LAC dinner, only to realize that we had both attended Berry College and had the same double major! I found a couple of fellow running enthusiasts – Dr. Pawlowski and Dean Johnson from LMU. Dr. Johnson, who has done international work himself, was great in giving me tips and more connections to pursue my dreams of working in developing countries. It was amazing, and comforting to see that he has kept his enthusiasm for running, and continues to pursue it as a part of his lifestyle.
Laura and I were lucky enough to be able to attend a couple of meetings on the Hill with some of the LAC members, as well as Congressman Yoho’s reception. We met with Senator Risch, with whom I found a connection as well! When he found out that I grew up in Dubai, he told me that he had taken a trip there, where he had the chance to meet the Sheikh – and his horses!
Laura and I also had the opportunity to visit the Department of Defense, where we met with Major Paul from the Defense Health Agency, and junior veterinary officers. We got great insight into the roles that veterinarians can play in the military: food safety, clinical medicine for the dogs and pets of army personnel and their families, and international outreach programs. Speaking of connections – Major Paul had recently been in Georgia for my mentor, Dr. Corrie Brown’s, army training program.
Through these connections, I am realizing how small the world really is, and how wonderful it is to get to know somebody and uncover mutual interests.