Alumnus John Howe runs for AVMA president


John HoweAt the time of this publication, the results from the election had not yet been announced. John Howe has since been elected president-elect of AVMA, and will begin his term as president July 2019.

John Howe, ’77 DVM, spent two governor-appointed terms on the Minnesota Board of Animal Health, where he has represented veterinarians on regional and state veterinary organizations. He has also served on the board of directors of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). All that in addition to building his own vet practice, teaching gun and archery safety, and serving at his local church.

And he isn’t ready to slow down.

Howe is running for AVMA president. A new president will be elected in mid-July at the group’s convention in Denver.

A 1977 graduate of the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, Howe recently sold North Country Veterinary Clinic, a six-doctor mixed-animal practice in Grand Rapids, Minn., though he still fills in as a relief vet.

But winning the election would be the opposite of retiring. The winner will serve for three years in total—one year as president-elect, one year as president, and one year as the past president. Both positions require up to 300 days of travel each year, including testifying before Congress. “It’s pretty much a full-time position,” says Howe. “There’s no way you could run a practice.”

So why put off the fishing and hunting he enjoys?

“I still have more to give,” he says, “and there are things I want to see done.” He says he believes strongly in the profession’s mission of protecting animal and human health. And he wants to create better opportunities for AVMA members.

“Members want to know, ‘What am I getting for my dues?’” he says. “I think we still need to do a better job of showing them how it’s worth it.”

Among the benefits of joining the AVMA are a job-seekers’ database to help young vets find professional opportunities. The AVMA also lobbies for laws and regulations that aid veterinary practice.

Howe “represents the ideal candidate to lead the AVMA,” says Trevor Ames, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. If that endorsement carries weight, Howe may have to put off retirement. But he may not mind. 

Says Howe, “I always liked being involved.”

Photo courtesy of John Howe