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More Than 5,100 Gather in San Francisco for AAEP Convention

Dec 10, 2018

With a focus on practical knowledge and skills, cutting-edge treatments and advanced diagnostics, the American Association of Equine Practitioners’ 64th Annual Convention drew 5,156 veterinary professionals, students, guests and exhibitors from 45 countries to San Francisco, Calif., Dec. 1–5.

The meeting offered 127.5 hours of continuing education across all aspects of equine medicine, including dentistry, complementary medicine, reproduction and more. The Dec. 2 Opening Session established the importance of hands-on medicine and contemplation in an era of increased technology when esteemed physician and author Abraham Verghese, MD, MACP, delivered the keynote address. The following day, acclaimed equine cardiologist and ultrasonographer Virginia B. Reef, DVM, DACVIM, DACVSMR, provided a blueprint for interpreting the audio and visual clues of equine heart diseases along with the ramifications for performance, life expectancy, and horse and rider safety.

“The educational program assembled by Program Chair Dr. Jeff Berk and the members of the Educational Programs Committee brought together many of the leading minds in equine medicine to dispense solutions that attendees can use to promote healthier patients and grow their practices,” said AAEP Executive Director David Foley. “With the changing demographics of equine practice, I am also proud of the initiatives implemented this year to support convention attendance by our members with young children and newborns.”

In addition to acquiring the latest thinking in diverse areas of equine medicine, practitioners and students expanded their professional footprint at numerous networking and social events; and discovered the newest products and services for equine practice among the 340 companies exhibiting in the trade show.

Highlights from the 2018 convention included:

Installation of 2019 officers: Jeff Berk, VMD, MRCVS of Lexington, Ky., was installed as the 65th president. He is joined as a 2019 officer by David Frisbie, DVM, DACVS, DACVSMR, of Fort Collins, Colo., president-elect; Scott Hay, DVM, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., vice president; Lisa Metcalf, DVM, MS, DACT, Sherwood, Ore., treasurer; and Margo Macpherson, DVM, DACT, of Micanopy, Fla., immediate past president.

New members of the board of directors are Luke Bass, DVM, MS, DABVP, of Fort Collins, Colo., and Mitchell Rode, DVM, of Berryville, Va.

Presentation of annual awards: Five AAEP members were honored during the Dec. 4 President’s Luncheon.

  • Distinguished Educator Award – Academic: John Stick, DVM
  • Distinguished Educator Award – Mentor: Richard “Chip” Estes, DVM
  • AAEP Research Award: C. Wayne McIlwraith, BVSc, PhD, DSc, FRCVS
  • Distinguished Service Award: W. Kent Fowler, DVM
  • Sage Kester “Beyond the Call” Award: Tom Lenz, DVM, MS, DACT

Award of scholarships: The AAEP Foundation, through the generosity of five of its scholarship program partners, awarded $295,000 in scholarships to 13 veterinary students and five recent graduates. 

The AAEP’s 65th Annual Convention will be held in Denver, Colo., Dec. 7-11, 2018.

The American Association of Equine Practitioners, headquartered in Lexington, Ky., was founded in 1954 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the health and welfare of the horse. Currently, AAEP reaches more than 5 million horse owners through its over 9,000 members worldwide and is actively involved in ethics issues, practice management, research and continuing education in the equine veterinary profession and horse industry.

Note: Photos of officers, new board members and award winners are available by contacting Michelle Behm at In addition, individual press releases about each award winner and the new board members are available at