Voting Opens for AABP 2023 Vice President
Voting is open for the 2023 office of AABP Vice President. Drs. Jessica Gernhard and Callie Willinham, respectively, are on the ballot.
Voting is open through Dec. 30, 2022. AABP members can log onto the website at https://aabp.org and click on the scrolling banner, or access the voting page directly at https://aabp.org/ballot/default.asp after logging on.
The bios of the two candidates follow:
Jessica Gernhard, DVM
Dr. Jessica (Laurin) Gernhard grew up in central Kansas on a diversified family farm. From her youth, Gernhard assisted her dad in day-to-day farming operations. Their farm included crops and livestock, including wheat, corn, milo, soybeans, prairie hay and alfalfa, swine and cattle. From the time she was 10 years old, she learned how to run the head catch of the chute and processed cattle on the farm. When Gernhard was in high school, she had already decided that she wanted to be either a veterinarian, a beef cattle nutritionist or a vocational agriculture instructor. She was very active in FFA in high school, participating in various contests and leadership positions. In her first year of college at Kansas State University, she served as the Kansas State FFA Reporter. Gernhard was also very active in the Block and Bridle program while attending animal science and industry courses in undergraduate. In veterinary school, she participated in many AABP events, served as the SCAVMA representative, worked several part-time jobs, and graduated Cum Laude, as well as got married and had a child.
Gernhard has always had a driving interest in production beef operations. In her first jobs after graduation, she served several feedyards in southwest Kansas, before coming back to her home base to set up her own practice. She built her practice from scratch, striving to serve the livestock and pets of the local communities. She currently owns two locations with two associate veterinarians on staff. Gernhard’s beef interests remain diversified, as she serves cow-calf, stocker, backgrounder and family-owned feedlots, and owns her own farm ground and cow herd.
Gernhard has been active in several capacities for several organizations, but has focused on young practitioner development, practice sustainability and rural practice development. She has worked with the Academy of Rural Practitioners and presented at several veterinary schools. Gernhard has been on the Kansas committee of the Veterinary Loan Repayment Program for over 10 years. She was instrumental in developing the algorithm to define need by using real numbers of cattle and practitioners per Kansas county that is still being used today.
Gernhard has participated in AABP in a similar capacity. She was active in the Ad Hoc Committee on Rural Veterinary Practice, which led to the development of the Veterinary Practice Sustainability Committee, which she participated in the first two years. She has presented at the AABP conference to student members on practice development. Gernhard has also been a member of the Amstutz Committee.
Outside of AABP, Gernhard has also been active in the Academy of Veterinary Consultants, and served in several capacities, including parliamentarian, ad hoc committee chair, board member, vice president, Program Committee chair, president and past president. During her involvement, she has worked with several issues including bringing a member of FDA into a closed-door presentation to discuss Veterinary Feed Directives before they came online. Of the many things she did, one highlight was developing program content and trying to look for controversial or innovative ideas to cover as well as presenting items of a practical and usable nature.
Gernhard is excited to see what the future holds, but does have several concerns that she believes can really affect veterinarians’ ability to practice in the future. While agricultural consolidation is a term that has frequently been used over the past decades, it seems to again come to the forefront to affect future veterinarians. Plant-based products erode milk sales, and the devastating drought that this year grows to cover a larger percentage of the United States is having a real effect in reducing beef cow numbers. Gernhard would like to see AABP continue to provide high-quality CE for its members and look at how we as veterinarians can continue to assist our producers in surviving and thriving in this climate. She is not afraid to identify and tackle issues that affect veterinarians’ livelihoods, and she likes to look for alternative and out-of-the-box ideas that may mitigate problems. Gernhard appreciates many of the issues AABP tackles for practitioners, including working with AVMA to provide a voice in legislature, and developing a virtual committee to tackle mental health issues. She also appreciates the hard work AABP members give the organization, the great ideas they bless it with, and the comradery. It is an exciting time to be a member and participate. Gernhard believes AABP has a strong, intelligent membership and is able to bring in new practitioners that members can help mentor.
Callie Willingham, DVM
Dr. Callie Willingham grew up in northeast Texas, spending much of her time in her parents’ mixed animal practice. Callie earned a BS in Biomedical Science (2003) and her DVM (2007) from Texas A&M University. She was fortunate to attend the Summer Dairy Institute at Cornell University in 2005 which changed her career trajectory from mixed animal practice to dairy exclusive practice. Upon graduation, Dr. Willingham joined Dairy Veterinary Services in Chandler, Arizona. Becoming a partner in 2010, she practiced in Arizona for 11 years. In 2018, Callie left practice to move to Calgary with her husband and currently splits her time between Alberta and Texas.
While with Dairy Veterinary Services, Dr. Willingham provided routine veterinary care to dairy herds with a focus on on-farm employee education and training, proper drug use and residue avoidance, and improving, maintaining and monitoring herd records. Callie was fortunate to have progressive clients who challenged and encouraged her to expand her knowledge and skills. She also enjoyed hosting veterinary student externs throughout her time in practice.
Fortunately, both Callie’s practice partners and clients supported her involvement in organized veterinary medicine, including the AABP, the AVMA, and the Arizona Veterinary Medical Association. Her active involvement with the AABP began when Dr. Jason Osterstock suggested she join the Membership Committee as he was rotating off the committee in 2007. Through participation on the Membership Committee, Dr. Willingham was able to learn more about the AABP and the many ways in which engaged members impact and work to improve the association for all members. This involvement led to further opportunities within the AABP, including being selected as the Emerging Leader Representative for the AABP at the AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference in 2008, coordinating the Faculty Representative, Extension Veterinarian, and Food Animal Educators’ Breakfast (2010-2013), serving on the Student Activities and Membership Committee after its creation and assisting with the Student Delegate Program and Quiz Bowl, and serving on the Amstutz Scholarship Committee as a member (2017) and as the Chair (2018-2022). Callie saw firsthand the hard work and planning required for a successful Annual Conference when she served on the Planning Committee as the coordinator of student sessions (2015) and dairy sessions (2018). In 2014, she was honored to receive the AABP James A Jarrett Award for Young Leaders.
Giving back to this profession is a responsibility Dr. Willingham embraces as it has enriched her life so much.There have been, and will continue to be, challenges to overcome and opportunities to embrace, but at the end of the day, Callie is excited for the future of the profession and the industries it serves. Through leadership in the AABP, she hopes to play a small role in ensuring that the next generation of bovine practitioners turn to the AABP for their own professional development and support.
Through the AABP’s CE opportunities, one can become a better practicing veterinarian. Through the networking available within the AABP, one can grow their social support systems. Through the AABP’s advocacy work, one can feel more secure about the future of the profession and the industries it serves. As Dr. Mark Hilton advises, always end by asking “What else can I do for you?”