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New AVMA president-elect calls diversifying profession a major priority

Kornegay sails into top elected seat following uncontested presidential race

July 11, 2009
By Jennifer Fiala

Filling American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) highest elected office proved a one-man show.

Yet fanfare that accompanied the nomination of Dr. Larry Kornegay, 61, as AVMA’s 2009 president elect was impressive, with a four-color brochure, slideshow presentation and a parade of supporters who publicly sang the veterinarian’s praises.

In yesterday's speech before the AVMA House of Delegates annual meeting in Seattle, Kornegay addressed economic challenges that face the profession, as well as his personal goal to increase racial, ethnic and cultural diversity within veterinary medicine.

“We are looking less like the United States population we serve,” Kornegay said. “You only have to compare United States census data with our profession’s makeup to see striking differences.

“In the long term, a lack of inclusiveness could affect our ability to relate and deliver our professional services to certain segments of our population.”

What traction he gains toward achieving his goal remains to be seen. But Kornegay, the 2010-2011 public face of the nation’s largest veterinary membership body, is nothing if not politically connected. His resume shows a near 40-year history in association politics, starting with local elected seats and eventually serving as president of the Texas Veterinary Medical Association.

But his climb up AVMA’s political ladder might appear more impressive. Kornegay now serves as vice chair of the AVMA Executive Board, following years of service directing and chairing various high-ranking association boards and committees. He’s served as a trustee to AVMA’s Professional Liability and Insurance Trust and participated in the search for AVMA’s executive vice president, which resulted in the hiring of CEO Dr. Ron DeHaven.

At the same time, he’s owned a small-animal practice in Houston since 1977, working with his veterinarian wife, Chris, who also serves as Texas’ delegate to the AVMA House.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve in a leadership role as we advance our beloved profession,” he said.

VIN News Service commentaries are opinion pieces presenting insights, personal experiences and/or perspectives on topical issues by members of the veterinary community. To submit a commentary for consideration, email

Information and opinions expressed in letters to the editor are those of the author and are independent of the VIN News Service. Letters may be edited for style. We do not verify their content for accuracy.


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