The AVMA’s mission is twofold – to improve animal and human health and to advance the veterinary medical profession. In reality, the elements that drive this Association are inextricably intertwined. After all, how can we, as veterinarians, improve animal and human health if we don’t constantly work on advancing and strengthening the profession?
In this edition of AVMA@Work, we’d like to let you know about some of the many things the AVMA is doing to ensure an ample workforce that is alive with highly educated and dedicated professionals. Our efforts reach far and wide, and they continue to evolve as new challenges and opportunities come our way.
From research and public health to food animal veterinary medicine, we have all heard about a shortage of veterinarians in many practice areas. A big part of the AVMA’s strategy to address the shortage is to provide outreach and recruiting tools to our veterinary schools, state associations, allied organizations and our members. So how about helping the cause by requesting a copy of the new AVMA career video, “Veterinary Medicine: It’s More Than You Think.” Available in English and Spanish, as well as closed-captioned for the hearing impaired, the 29-minute DVD is now available to members for $5 and can add some excitement to your career day presentation or entertain and inform clients and their kids in your reception area. Who knows? Younger visitors who view the DVD just might tell their parents that they want to become a veterinarian. If you’d like a copy, contact Lori Goszczynski in our Communications Division at email@example.com or (847) 285-6655.
Speaking of the shortage in the food animal field, we are extremely pleased to inform you that our AVMA Web site, www.avma.org, is now home to a new Web page highlighting the food animal veterinarian shortage and what is being done to address the issue. The Animal Agriculture Liaison Committee, whose members were looking for a way to assemble in one place as much information on the topic as possible, was the driving force behind the idea. Staff members in our Scientific Activities, Communications and Information Technology divisions gathered the content and got the Web page up and running in record time. A key component of the page is a series of maps created by the AVMA marketing staff within the Communications Division. The maps provide a unique look at each state to pinpoint the counties with few or no food animal veterinarians. We believe this special Web section will help us bolster the ranks of those veterinarians practicing in the food animal field.
The AVMA’s Veterinary Career Center (VCC) is yet another way in which we are reaching out to our members in an effort to help them recruit top-notch veterinarians to their practices, to industry and to associations. To say the least, the VCC is busier than ever these days. Résumé postings in the online service, according to Dr. Rosemary LoGiudice, director of the Membership and Field Services Division, have grown by more than 550% over last year. AVMA members and student members have used the electronic service since October 2001, and we enhanced the VCC this year by opening it up to veterinary technicians, and veterinary office and hospital managers. In addition, the formation of the Veterinary Career Network (VCN) in late 2006 by the AVMA has greatly enhanced the reach of the VCC. The VCN is an alliance of professional associations with a combined registered membership of more than 80,000 veterinary professionals with reach to more than 100,000 individuals related to the veterinary profession. There are now more than 2,500 résumés online, up from about 375 at this time last year. The VCC averages nearly 600 active job postings. To reach the Veterinary Career Center, go to www.avma.org/vcc.
A big part of strengthening the profession lies with our members and what the AVMA can do to assist them in meeting their professional and personal goals. A new service introduced in September will help do just that. The newly created AVMA Veterinary Salary Calculator is a members-only, Web-based service that lets members calculate how their salaries compare to those of their colleagues based on a number of career factors, including type of practice, species served, ownership status and experience. The calculator is based on the findings of the 2007 edition of the AVMA Report on Veterinary Compensation and provides information that is useful to all veterinarians when it comes time for salary negotiations. The AVMA Salary Calculator can be found at www.avma.org/myavma.
On a national scale, AVMA staff members at headquarters and at our Governmental Relations Division in Washington, D.C., continue to reach out to the public and lobby our federal lawmakers on the importance of two vital pieces of legislation that will have far-reaching impacts on the profession, and on our nation’s food safety and overall security. Passage and full funding of the Veterinary Public Health Workforce Expansion Act (VPHWEA) and the Veterinary Medical Services Act (VMSA) would help reverse a growing shortage of public health and food animal veterinarians by providing money to our veterinary colleges for expansion and by offering debt relief to graduates who agree to work in underserved areas, respectively. The challenges we face are to make sure the VMSA is fully funded and implemented, and to ensure that our voices are heard loudly enough on Capitol Hill to influence passage of the VPHWEA. We need your help to make this happen. Additional information on both acts, as well as how you can contact your representative, can be found at www.capwiz.com/avma. You can also contact Dr. Robert Nichols at (800) 321-1473 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the farm to Capitol Hill, and everywhere in between, new challenges create new opportunities for all of us in the veterinary profession. One of our five strategic goals mandates that we identify shortages in the veterinary workforce, its infrastructure and the resources at its disposal, and that we develop solutions to ensure that veterinary needs are met on the local and national level. Dr. DeHaven and I invite your input on this important matter. We are strongest when we address these issues together.
|Gregory S. Hammer, DVM
|W. Ron DeHaven, DVM, MBA
Executive Vice President