It is with great feeling that I pen memories about Dr. Janis Audin. To sum up all of her many wonderful attributes in two words: She cared.
Dr. Audin died April 22 after enduring pancreatic cancer and multiple sclerosis for three years.
Janis received the DVM degree in 1979 and joined the AVMA staff as an assistant editor in 1985. She advanced to associate editor in 1989, editor in 1994 and became editor-in-chief of the Publications Division in 1995. She devoted her professional career to the quality of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Journal of Veterinary Research.
I have vivid memories of thoughtful conversations that I was privileged to have with Janis over the past 25 years. From my discussions with her I learned that sometimes you're the dog and sometimes you're the fire hydrant; sometimes you're the bug and sometimes you're the windshield. Even though we did not always agree on various topics, we respected each other's viewpoint and together we learned to reach win-win solutions.
Janis epitomized the thought so eloquently captured by Albert Einstein when he said, "Strive not to be a person of success; rather, strive to be a person of value."
Many of us have been taught to measure personal success in terms of what we have accomplished, how much education we have, how much wealth we have accumulated and perhaps the title of our position. But to be of value, our success should be measured in terms of our desire to give the fruits of our education, our talents and our wealth to others.
Janis was a giver, and she generously gave from her heart. By example she taught us that not what we get, but what we give, measures the worth of the life we live. By example she taught us all that it is the will, not the gift, that defines the giver. By example she taught us to love people and to use things rather than to love things and to use people.
Those of us who had the privilege of working with Janis learned from her firsthand that most problems are best solved by following the philosophy that "we must do something, rather than something must be done."
But with the goal of constructively using our zeal for making progress, she diplomatically reminded us on frequent occasions that, just as different parts of our bodies must work together to allow us to function effectively and efficiently, so cooperation of different members of the profession are essential to promote unity of purpose. By example, she taught us the meaning of relative authority by not using her position as a convenience or an excuse to bypass the policies and guidelines of AVMA.
Janis's contributions lie far beyond being of one of AVMA's leaders. She was warm, thoughtful and kind and had the ability and desire to make each of us feel wanted and needed.
I treasure the opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks in memory of Janis for her empathy, compassion, patience, perseverance and encouragement. She was indeed an esteemed colleague and very special friend who proved that man's best friend ought to be man.
Her life was unique in that she touched the lives of so many living beings — animal and human. By example Janis taught us how to live ... and then she taught how to die.
Let us renew our desire to try to do the same.