I’m thrilled to be back in Washington, D.C. and looking forward to the next 4 weeks with the AVMA! As a frequent visitor to the city, I get by fairly well without my car, although having grown up near the Motor City I do miss it! Even with the help of the Metro, Google Maps, and Uber I still get lost sometimes.
Yesterday, I spent some time studying the map so I would feel more comfortable venturing out on foot. Turns out DC is built on a quadrant system: Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, and Southwest, with the US Capitol Building at the center. East/West streets are named alphabetically; North/South streets are named numerically.
In theory, navigation should be straight-forward, but last night I got turned around trying to walk from one quadrant to another. First Street SW and First Street SE stumped me, so I did what any self-respecting city navigator would do: Called an Uber. To complicate the system, there are also traffic circles connected by diagonal streets named for other states. For example, Dupont Circle is near the AVMA office and is where Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire Avenues intersect. These streets more or less divide the city into neighborhoods.
Thanks to veterinary school, looking at this map makes me think of the structure of the liver, specifically the liver acinus model we learned in histology.
Conveniently, getting to Capitol Hill from Dupont Circle is pretty straightforward. Radhika and I followed Dr. Ashley Morgan and Dr. Elise Ackley of the AVMA Governmental Relations Division to two meetings in the Senate offices. The AVMA GRD focuses on issues that influence animal and human health by advocating for veterinarians. The two topics discussed were the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, which the AVMA supports, and the Fairness to Pet Owners Act, which the AVMA opposes. I think veterinary school actually prepares you well for working in DC. In the clinic, a patient comes in with a disease that you quickly need to learn everything about and then explain your findings to the owner. On the hill, a bill is introduced, you learn everything you can about the topic, and then explain your position to legislative staff. I am looking forward to discussing these and other issues with the legislative staff from my home state in the weeks to come. Next up our first meetings with federal veterinarians!