AAEP's Educational Programs Committee
Article first published online: 27 NOV 2012
© 2012 EVJ Ltd
Equine Veterinary Journal
Special Issue: 58th Annual Convention of the American Association of Equine Practitioners. Guest Editors: N. White, D. Sellon and B. Ball. Publication of this supplement was supported by the American Association of Equine Practitioners
Volume 44, Issue Supplement S43, page 2, December 2012
How to Cite
Garrett, K. S. and Mueller, P. O. E. (2012), AAEP's Educational Programs Committee. Equine Veterinary Journal, 44: 2. doi: 10.1111/j.2042-3306.2012.00676.x
- Issue published online: 27 NOV 2012
- Article first published online: 27 NOV 2012
The major role of the Educational Programs Committee of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) is to coordinate, design and produce continuing education opportunities for our members. The AAEP offers a variety of meetings throughout the year but the Annual Convention is the centrepiece of the educational program and a highlight for many members. Many people may not be aware of how the Annual Convention is constructed and the extensive behind-the-scenes efforts of AAEP committee member volunteers, officers and staff.
The AAEP is fortunate to have a large and diverse membership, consisting of general equine practitioners, mixed animal practitioners and specialists. They work in large university referral hospitals, solo ambulatory practices in rural areas and in government and industry sectors. We count both veterinary students and experienced practitioners among our members. Consequently, one of our aims in creating the program for the Annual Convention is to ensure that there is a wide range of topics to suit our broad member base. The Educational Programs Committee strives to create a program that consists of innovative cutting-edge science as a preview of what is to come as well as practical take-home information that can be utilised immediately by our members.
Planning for each Annual Convention starts over a year in advance. The President-Elect of the AAEP serves as the Program Chair for the Annual Convention and creates the program with the assistance of the Educational Programs Committee. The program consists of 2 major components: invited presentations and submitted presentations. Invited presentations include in-depth sessions, invited how-to sessions and other specific topic sessions. In contrast, submitted papers are chosen from the pool received via the AAEP Call for Papers. Special features such as the Milne State of the Art lecture and the Kester News Hour round out the meeting.
Topic areas for invited sessions are chosen based upon member feedback from surveys. A special effort is made to emphasise practical topics that have immediate usefulness for the equine practitioner. To ensure continuity from year to year, broad topic areas are designated according to a rotating 3-year plan with specific topic selections made approximately 18 months before the Annual Convention. Invited sessions include both scientific topics as well other components of equine practice, such as equine welfare, drug compounding and ethics. The speakers for the invited topics are selected based upon their expertise in the various topic areas.
The remainder of the scientific program is selected from papers submitted for possible inclusion in the program. These papers include scientific and clinical research papers, review papers and how-to papers. The committee encourages practitioners from all types of equine practice to submit papers for consideration. Every paper is given full consideration and the review process is thorough. A double-blinded review process is used, so reviewers are unaware of the identity of the submitting authors. Each submitted paper undergoes review by 3 individuals who assign numerical scores in various categories. After independently scoring the submissions, the committee meets to discuss the submissions and create the final program. The Educational Programs Committee members take this responsibility seriously and dedicate a tremendous amount of time to extensively review the submissions. For the 2012 Annual Convention, 245 papers were submitted for consideration and 77 (31%) were able to be included in the program.
One of the goals of the AAEP is to be a primary source for new techniques and research for our members. We strive to have this information presented at our Annual Convention where it can reach a large number of our members. The membership has also expressed a desire to have the full text of the presented papers available rather than only short summaries or abstracts. In the past, these 2 goals have at times been in conflict. Authors may prefer to publish their findings in indexed journals for a variety of reasons, including requirements for tenure or specialty board certification. However, most proceedings (including the AAEP Annual Convention proceedings) are not indexed. If the AAEP insisted upon publication of the full paper in the Annual Convention Proceedings, many authors would choose not to submit their papers, which would reduce the quality of the Annual Convention program. As a result, the AAEP allows authors that intend to submit their full papers to an indexed journal to publish a short abstract in the Annual Convention Proceedings so that they can preserve their ability to publish in an indexed journal.
Because many members wish to have access to the full text of the Annual Convention presentations for their later reference, the AAEP and EVJ have partnered to produce a special EVJ Supplement containing full papers of a subset of the short abstracts in the AAEP Annual Convention Proceedings. This issue marks the second such supplement, which has been very well received. It is available in electronic format at: (www.wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/evj). Authors benefit from a rapid turnaround time between submission, review and publication in an indexed journal. Members of the AAEP can access the full text of the papers in the EVJ Supplement at no additional charge. This partnership represents the best of both worlds and is a mutually beneficial arrangement.
Although we are proud of the educational offerings provided by the AAEP to its members, the Educational Programs Committee endeavours to critically review meetings from prior years in order to continually improve. Membership surveys are a very important component in assessing our success in providing the quality and type of continuing education desired by our members. For example, the use of audience response technology in interactive lectures has been very well received and we plan to incorporate more of this technology into educational programming in the future. This year, as part of our continued emphasis on practicality, we created short ‘Practice Tips’ presentations to allow practitioners to share useful tidbits that have helped them in their practice in both big and small ways. Members have indicated that some of the most valuable information is gleaned during Table Topics discussions, so we continue to offer these extremely popular sessions. In these challenging economic times, business education has become increasingly important. Consequently, a subcommittee of the Educational Programs Committee was charged with creating business education programming and has done a stellar job finding interesting and relevant speakers from both within and outside the equine industry. Based on the feedback we have received, these programs have given our members new ideas and perspectives on how to be successful in the current economy.
Finally, the human elements in the process of creating the Annual Convention must be recognised. The AAEP President-Elect serves as the Program Chairperson in addition to all of his or her other AAEP duties. This person oversees the entire Convention, helping to ensure that it comes together as a seamless whole. The dedicated members of the Educational Programs Committee volunteer their time and expertise to review papers, attend committee meetings and work on other educational initiatives throughout the year. The average committee member reviews over 40 papers a year, most of which must be reviewed in March and April. This requires a great deal of time, especially during some of the busiest months of the year for equine practitioners. The tireless work of the entire AAEP staff should be recognised in making the Annual Convention a reality. The staff coordinates all of the logistics, makes sure that deadlines are met, monitors the budget and performs countless other thankless tasks.
The partnership between EVJ and AAEP is an excellent example of synergy that benefits equine veterinarians. We appreciate the efforts of the editors of EVJ in supporting this enterprise and providing us with the space to explain the process behind the AAEP Annual Convention.