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AAVA Educational Conference Held on a Historic Day in Boston

Friday, October 16, 2015   (0 Comments)
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AAVA Educational Conference Held on a Historic Day in Boston

Leslie Phillips, MS, DVM, AAVA Past President

The AAVA conference was held over St. Patrick’s Day weekend. We were present for the historic day, when Boston broke its all-time snow record, but our collective yang energy held the snow at bay. Boston was magical. There were even a few Irish attendees, among them leprechaun Doctor Leslie with her prosthetic greenish ears, but that’s a story in and of itself. And that story is about the laughter, comradery and learning that we all share at AAVA. 

The morning of Friday, March 13, began with Steve Marsden, DVM, ND, MSOM, Lac, Dipl.C.H., our keynote speaker, who set the mood for the conference.  Dr. Marsden’s speech was empowering. He stated that the original concept of evidence-based medicine included the incorporation of clinical treatments with the results reported by clinicians and their patients. He has developed a website dedicated to the collection of data from our clinical work and encouraged our alternative veterinary community to begin on-going data collection immediately, in order that we begin to use this community’s enormous evidence, to demonstrate the effectiveness of acupuncture and herbal treatments.

John Chen, PhD, PharmD, OMD, LAc gave participants excellent information regarding pharmacokinetics and their potential, and the occasional adverse side effects with herb-drug interactions.

To end that day we had members present case studies that were very interactive. This format was so effective that we plan to use it again next year. If you have an interesting case to present, please consider this format at a future AAVA meeting venue.

Saturday had large and small animal tracks (no pun intended). We learned about treating equine laminitis with acupuncture from Dr. Lisa Lancaster and equine acupuncture research with Dr. Sarah Le Jeune. Dr. Nancy Martin gave us “food for thought” with a review of the canine mono-gastric digestive system, more than we could remember from our vet school days. Dr. Michelle Tilghman shared ways to honor our geriatric patients while treating some common geriatric syndromes. Dr. Xie presented important ways to treat those itchy dogs with herbal formulas.

We concluded the day with Keum Hwa Choi, DVM, MS, PhD, OMD leading a workshop that informed us about Acupuncturists Without Borders, a group of dedicated individuals who treat hundreds of human patients for post-traumatic stress syndrome after a disaster.  The discussion included how veterinarians can create their own group and begin helping traumatized animals. 

Saturday evening was very special as we set sail on a Boston Harbor dinner cruise. The harbor waters were calm with all of the excitement taking place on board.  Our wonderful vendors donated exceptional items for our banquet ticket raffle which was exciting, especially for the winners!

We welcomed our new board members: Dr. Kevin May, and Dr. Maurice Casey.  I was presented with a beautiful crystal clock to commemorate my term as president.

We honored Dr. Robert (Robbie) Schwyzer for his many hours of service with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. May made the presentation and Dr. Yelinek spoke beautifully about his ‘ole' friend. And Robbie threw a teabag overboard in his own celebration of the “Boston Tea Party.”

Sunday morning we had a fantastic production animal lecture given by Dr. Tim Holt, to excellent reviews. Dr. Michelle Tilghman continued her talk on geriatric animals and tongue diagnosis, always well received.

After lunch, we held our wet labs with Dr. Steve Marsden, teaching pulse and tongue and the use of thermography in diagnosis.  On a beautiful farm by the shore in Ipswich Massachusetts, we had Dr. Sarah Le Jeune, UC Davis, discuss acupuncture in a sport horse practice.

The conference hotel was in a perfect location and the hotel staff assigned to our conference paid special attendance to the needs and wants of our members.  What more can you ask for? Good times and great education were had by all.

I do want to thank our Executive Director Simon Flynn and Associate Director Rebecca Hawkins and staff for all their hard work in pulling off a successful conference.

Please join us in Tacoma, on Washington’s Puget Sound, in a joint conference with IVAS in June of 2016. Tacoma is 32 miles from Seattle and has a view of nearby Mt. Rainier.  It will be breathtaking, and the perfect place to meet again! Look to for more information about our shared community of alternative therapies.



Boston Photos: