For Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine students Amanda Craig and Matthew Kuhn, last week was no ordinary week.
From February 9 to 11, both took part in the 2014 American Veterinary Medical Association’s Legislative Fly-in, which gives college students a chance to learn more about federal legislation and voice their opinions on certain bills that are important to their future profession.
“I spoke with congressional staff about legislation that directly affects the everyday lives of American veterinarians and the welfare of animals around the United States,” said Kuhn, president of his 2017 graduating class. “I focused most of my time on the Veterinary Medical Mobility Act.”
This legislation amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow licensed veterinarians to legally transport and dispense medicines in order to treat patients in many places of work, including rural areas, mobile clinics and emergency response situations. It is one of the AVMA’s highest legislative priorities.
“As I’m studying to focus on large animal research, this issue directly affects the ability I have to do my job in the future,” said Kuhn.
Craig agreed and added that the opportunity to ask for support from legislators on key issues was a great experience.
“We met with our respective senators and representatives, or their staff members, about co-sponsoring the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act,” said Craig, who graduates in 2016. “It was very rewarding to see that even as students, we can have an influence on the future of our profession.”
Participants applied through the student chapter of the AVMA by submitting a personal statement and answering questions on topics such as leadership and legislative advocacy. Seventy-one students participated in the event, representing nearly every veterinary college in the United States.