New Orleans-The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) shattered more than one record this year. Total attendance
climbed and veterinary student numbers doubled from last year's AAEP annual convention.
The 2003 meeting brought together 3,107 veterinarians, veterinary technicians and veterinary students, compared to the 2,590
veterinary professionals who convened in Orlando in 2002.
Nearly 400 students were pre-registered for the event, compared to the previous year's 200 students. AAEP organizers link
the rise in student attendance to stepped-up efforts to reach young people early in their academic career.
Total attendance, including exhibitors, topped off at 6,175 attendees.
David Foley, AAEP executive director, says he attributes the record-breaking attendance to three factors: "An outstanding
scientific program; the attractiveness of New Orleans as a convention destination; and, at least from a student participation
standpoint, the before-Thanksgiving dates did not interfere with finals week, thus allowing more students to attend."
At the meeting, Larry R. Bramlage, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, internationally renowned equine orthopedic surgeon, was installed
as the 50th president of the AAEP. He is a partner with Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky.
In addition to the convention's scientific sessions, professional development seminars and hands-on workshops, AAEP featured
the Frank J. Milne State-of-the-Art Lecture, delivered by Alfred M. Merritt, DVM, MS, who highlighted advances over four decades
in the understanding of the equine stomach. William D. Brown, Ph.D., addressed attendees as the keynote speaker with his presentation,
"Ethics in Action for Equine Practitioners."
During the convention, Norman W. Rantanen, DVM, Ph.D, MS, ACVR, who has devoted his equine veterinary career to the specialties
of radiology and diagnostic ultrasound, was honored for his significant impact on the development and training of equine practitioners.
He received the Distinguished Educator Award. Rantanen maintains a consultation practice in Fallbrook, Calif.
A second Distinguished Educator Award goes to Loren H. Evans, DVM, who was recognized for his efforts as an educator and mentor.
Evans, who spent his career at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, retiring in 1993 and remaining
an emeritus professor of surgery, taught 32 classes of veterinary students, interns, residents and young faculty during his
Next year's 50th anniversary AAEP convention is in Denver, Dec. 4-8.