Hail to the Chief Veterinarian


I now know what all the commotion was about in Atlanta at the AVMA Convention. Streets were closed, secret service was everywhere. I thought it was for this guy:

But instead could it have been for this guy?

On July 30,, Dr. Larry Kornegay was installed at the new President of the American Veterinary Medical Association. In his speech before the AVMA House of Delegates, Dr. Kornegay talked about diversity in veterinary medicine….and my hope is also to consider diversity in a broader way, to communicate the joys of pet ownership to more people.

Dr. Kornegay has a long history of supporting diversity, encouraging minorities to enter veterinary medicine (where there is under-representation compared to the general population) and allied professions. I personally believe the secret to that, in part, is to encourage broader based pet ownership.

However, increased diversity in pet ownership could lead to greater difficulties in an increased number of pet owners not affording veterinary care. In some places, that’s happened and is now occurring. Believe it or not, I think that’s where pet insurance could come in (for at least those who can handle monthly premiums – which I realize not everyone can). Of course, government doesn’t pay for pet care when people aren’t able to afford it and there is no welfare for pet owners. I concede I don’t have anywhere near all the solutions – this is a complex issue. But I also think that sometimes the people who may be deterred from getting a pet because they can’t afford the care might also be the same people who could benefit the most if they did have a pet. 

In his speech, Dr. Kornegay also spoke about public policy. Unfortunately, the AVMA doesn’t often get the same ‘ear’ of public officials compared to others who market that they best know about the animal welfare. But do these others really know best?. They usually don’t, and that’s often not in the best interest of companion or farm animals.

Dr. Kornegay served as president of the Harris County Veterinary
Medical Association in 1981 and as president of the Texas Veterinary
Medical Association in 1991.

A 1971 graduate of Texas A&M University College of Veterinary
Medicine, Dr. Kornegay has practiced companion animal veterinary
medicine in Houston for 36 years, and his leadership at the AVMA
includes service on the AVMA Executive Board representing Arkansas,
Louisiana and Texas. Dr. Kornegay has served as Executive Board liaison
to the Council on Communications, the Committee on Human-Animal Bond,
the Strategic Planning Committee, the Committee on Veterinary Technician
Education and Activities, the American Board of Veterinary Specialties,
the Member Services Committee and the Council on Veterinary Service.

In 2005 and 2006, Dr. Kornegay served as chair of the AVMA Diversity
Task Force and of the Executive Vice President Search Committee in

Dr. Rene’ Carlson was unanimously voted the AVMA President-Elect.