Newly Elected AVMA Leaders Look To Guide Profession Into The Future


The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) welcomed a new group of volunteer leaders for 2020-2021, with the association installing a new president, president-elect, vice president and board chair and vice chair during the AVMA House of Delegates summer session.

Dr. Douglas Kratt began his term as AVMA president, with Dr. Jose Arce becoming the first veterinarian from Puerto Rico to be named president-elect of the association. Dr. Sandra Faeh Butler assumed the role of vice president, while Drs. Lori Teller and Karen Bradley were elected AVMA Board of Directors chair and vice chair, respectively.

AVMA President 2020-20201: Dr. Douglas Kratt
In his inaugural remarks as AVMA president, Dr. Douglas Kratt, La Crosse, Wisconsin, said his mission as AVMA president is not to bring a personal agenda but to connect, serve and listen to AVMA members, to bring together shared interests and to be inclusive.

“The AVMA is committed to making sure everyone feels welcome, included and an important part of this great profession,” Dr. Kratt said. “I am making, and will continue to make, an intentional effort to listen more, learn more and do more. The same is true for the AVMA.”

Dr. Kratt’s focus on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) within the AVMA and the veterinary profession will further enhance the association’s commitment to DEI initiatives, which include:

1.    Strategies to increase the number of diverse applicants to colleges of veterinary medicine.
2.    Strategies to build DEI capabilities/capacities within the AVMA itself (staff and volunteers).
3.    Strategies to build DEI capabilities/capacities of veterinarians and their teams so they can support healthy practices and best serve their clients and communities.

“Without question, it has been a difficult year on several fronts,” Dr. Kratt said. “These are historic times, and it is in times like these that we can unite and recognize that a focused commitment to diversity and inclusion has never been more important. Valuing diversity and condemning racism is part of a healthy, thriving veterinary profession. After all, we veterinarians are here to serve our patients and clients—in addition to embracing our role as leaders in the communities we serve. Just as important is putting those values into action.”

Prior to his election, Dr. Kratt served as Wisconsin's delegate in the AVMA House of Delegates and president of the Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association. He has also served on AVMA's House Advisory Committee as chair, Strategic Management Committee and Task Force on Volunteer Engagement, and was a member of the 2012-2013 AVMA Future Leaders program.

Dr. Kratt, a 1998 graduate of the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, will serve as AVMA president through August 2021, when current AVMA president-elect, Dr. Jose Arce, will assume the presidency.

AVMA President-elect 2020-2021: Dr. Jose Arce
As the newly selected president-elect of the AVMA, Dr. Jose Arce is in line to become the first Puerto Rican veterinarian to serve as president of the AVMA.

A 1997 graduate of the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Arce was a member of the AVMA House of Delegates from 2000 until 2014, when he began serving on the AVMA Board of Directors. He had previous leadership experience in the Student AVMA throughout his years in veterinary school and later at the state level in the Colegio de Médicos Veterinarios de Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico VMA).

“Becoming the first Puerto Rican president of the AVMA will be an honor, and I will do my best to lead by example and hopefully inspire others from more diverse backgrounds to become involved in organized veterinary medicine,” Dr. Arce said. “I am ready to accept the responsibility that has been bestowed upon me and work in conjunction with President Kratt, the AVMA Board of Directors, the AVMA House of Delegates and AVMA staff in leading our profession into the future.

“I am truly passionate about our profession, and I cherish every opportunity to educate, promote and advocate for our profession, whether it is in a kindergarten classroom or with members of the U.S. Congress.”

Following his year as president-elect, Dr. Arce will assume the presidency at next year’s AVMA House of Delegates summer session, scheduled to take place in July at AVMA Convention 2021 in Minneapolis.

AVMA Vice President 2020-2021: Dr. Sandra Faeh Butler
Dr. Sandra Faeh Butler, a companion animal veterinarian from River Forest, Illinois who represents her state in the AVMA House of Delegates, was selected by that body to serve as AVMA vice president in 2020-2021.

The AVMA vice president serves a two-year term and is the association's official liaison to the Student AVMA and its chapters. The vice president is a voting member on the AVMA Board.

Dr. Faeh Butler has served as president of the Illinois State and Chicago Veterinary Medical Associations and has been a member of the AVMA House of Delegates since 2012, including a term as House Advisory Committee chair. Additionally, Dr. Faeh Butler, a 1996 graduate of the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, previously served as president of the Student American Veterinary Medical Association, where she first set the goal of one day becoming vice president of the AVMA.

“These last few months have been difficult to say the least, and the future is full of uncertainty and challenges,” Dr. Faeh Butler said. “But with every challenge comes opportunity. I look forward to collaborating with AVMA staff, students and the colleges to make a difference.”

AVMA Board Chair 2020-2021: Dr. Lori Teller
Dr. Lori Teller of Houston, Texas, will serve as AVMA Board Chair for 2020-2021, presiding at all meetings of the AVMA Board of Directors.

Dr. Teller will maintain her current role as AVMA Board representative for District VIII, a post she has held since 2015, which includes AVMA members in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas. She is also chair of the AVMA State Advocacy Committee and a past member of several AVMA committees and task forces and has served in the AVMA House of Delegates.

Dr. Teller, a 1990 graduate of Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, has held a number of leadership roles at other organizations, including president of the Texas Veterinary Medical Association and Harris County Veterinary Medical Association, as well as the American Society of Veterinary Journalists. She was a founding board member of the Women's Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative, which is dedicated to helping develop female leaders in veterinary medicine.

“In my role as AVMA Board chair, I want to help the board continue to advance the strategic goals of the AVMA, where we have done a tremendous job building resources for our members around wellness, economics, animal welfare, COVID-19 and so much more,” Dr. Teller said. “In addition, diversity, equity and inclusion are key to the future of veterinary medicine. We are taking action to build up our focus in this area as well and are focused on making sure everyone feels welcome, included and an important part of this profession. The AVMA will continue to evolve and grow to meet the needs of our members, the profession and society at large.”

AVMA Vice Board Chair 2020-2021: Dr. Karen Bradley
As the newly elected vice chair of the AVMA Board of Directors, Dr. Karen Bradley, Montpelier, Vermont, will substitute for AVMA Board Chair Dr. Lori Teller in her absence and perform other duties as prescribed by the board or the chair.

Dr. Bradley, a 1996 graduate of the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, also serves as AVMA Board of Directors representative for District I, representing New England and New York veterinarians. She is a co-founder of the Women’s Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative, a former executive board member for the Vermont Veterinary Medical Association and a chair of committees for the AVMA and Vermont VMA.

“I am grateful that my fellow board members have entrusted me with this position and am eager to work with them to make AVMA the greatest it can be. Our profession needs a strong AVMA now more than ever and we are all committed to being there for our members,” Dr. Bradley said. “I look forward to helping us navigate the challenges our profession is facing; we can celebrate our successes, but we must strive for continuous improvement. My role is to listen and facilitate the very important conversations we must have as a board and as leaders of our association.”

For more information, contact Michael San Filippo, AVMA media relations manager, at 847-732-6194 (cell) or