Lincoln Memorial students hold first AVMA Student Virtual Town Hall

Published 1:41 pm Friday, January 31, 2020

HARROGATE, TENN. — Veterinary medicine students from Lincoln Memorial University-College of Veterinary Medicine (LMU-CVM) and the University of California-Davis held the first AVMA Student Virtual Town Hall on Oct. 8, 2019, to discuss well-being as veterinary students and within the veterinary profession. The two schools were chosen by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) to participate in this first-of-its-kind intercollegiate activity among veterinary colleges.

Mental health and well-being are widely discussed issues within the veterinary profession today. Veterinary students from coast to coast are also faced with stressors from the academic environment. within the academic environment. The AVMA and the Student American Veterinary Medical Association (SAVMA), organized the event in an effort to connect students in the veterinary field to partake in a dialogue with their peers on the topic of well-being.

“Veterinary professionals and students tend to put their personal well-being on the back burner,” said Melanie Vasquez, a third-year veterinary medicine student and president of SAVMA at LMU-CVM. “This event was a way to connect with our colleagues across the U.S., share concerns within the profession and exchange ideas on what we can improve on for our generation and those to come.”

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Approximately 240 people attended the event including AVMA officials, students, faculty and staff from both veterinary colleges. The event was broadcast via livestream, and students were able to see each other and ask each other questions in real time. A common thread in the discussion included activities to help students take a break from studying such as exercise, spending time with friends, or simply getting outdoors. Also discussed were available resources at each university for counseling and support.

“This was a truly momentous occasion, never done before, and an amazing accomplishment,” said LMU Vice President and Dean Jason Johnson. “It is invigorating to bring together two diverse groups to dream about the future of veterinary medicine, and the issues most dear to their hearts and minds.”

The event was greatly supported by the AVMA with the hope of continuing to foster opportunities for discussion among more veterinary schools in the future.

“It was also an opportunity to share aspects of our lives and discuss both our common ground and how we differ based on culture (both university and geographically),” said Vasquez. “We also wanted to bring awareness of how small the veterinary community is and regardless of distance, we are all one interconnected community.”

Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) is a values-based learning community dedicated to providing educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies. The LMU-College of Veterinary Medicine is located on LMU’s main campus in Harrogate, Tennessee, with additional academic facilities in nearby Lee County, Virginia. LMU-CVM is an integral part of the University’s medical programs and provides real-world, community-based education in a collaborative learning environment. For more information about LMU-CVM, call 1.800.325.0900, ext. 7150 or visit us online at