Purdue SAVMA President Brenda Najar Joins Dean Willie Reed for AAVMC Advocacy Day

Friday, March 30, 2018

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Dean Willie Reed with U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Purdue SAVMA President Brenda Najar (right), and Dr. Yava Jones-Hall, PVM associate professor of veterinary pathology, who accompanied Dean Reed on the Capitol Hill visit as part of her participation in the AAVMC’s Leadership Academy.

On the eve of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) annual meeting March 2-4 in Washington, D.C., dozens of veterinary medical educators visited with federal lawmakers as part of “Advocacy Day.”  Among the veterinary school representatives participating were Purdue Veterinary Medicine’s own Dean Willie Reed and Purdue SAVMA president, Brenda Najar, of the DVM Class of 2019.

Each year, the AAVMC organizes “Advocacy Day” in conjunction with its annual conference to encourage attendees to take part in advocacy meetings on Capitol Hill with government and NGO leaders. This year, Brenda delivered 27 letters with real-life stories from Purdue students in each year of the veterinary program to the office of Indiana 4th District Congressman Todd Rokita, urging him to join the Veterinary Medicine Caucus as the congressional representative of Lafayette, Ind., and ultimately work to help lower student debt for veterinary students. “You will hear a common theme discussing the importance of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program that strongly affects many of our long-term loan repayment plans,” Brenda wrote in her letter to the congressman.  “You will find disturbing totals of current federal loan debt, including sky-high interest rates between 6 and 8.5 percent, and what that looks like over 20 years. You will read compelling examples of how veterinarians are healthcare superheroes, and ultimately, why the government should be investing in us. I have compiled these stories and given them to you for a better glimpse of the upstanding, role-model citizens of your Lafayette district.”

In addition, Brenda and Dean Reed also paid a visit to United States Senator Joe Donnelly.  Afterword, Brenda said, “I had a wonderful time on Capitol Hill talking to representatives about the changes we’d like to see. It was an honor to speak for my peers.”  A total of 72 educators representing 27 states participated in Advocacy Day, making the trek to Capitol Hill where 138 meetings were held at scores of Congressional offices.

Writer(s): Helen Thimlar, PVM Communications Intern | pvmnews@purdue.edu

Category: DVM, Our Impact, Students

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