Members Respond to Economic Strategy Initiatives

Today was busy.  We have received a lot of responses to our Economic Strategy initiative.  Many were enthusiastic.  Some were skeptical which I think is partly understandable given the monumental task.  Some simply had questions.  Thank you for giving us feedback and being part of the discussion.  I spent much of today responding to questions and comments.   The important first steps are:

  • Understand the true sense of Urgency of this situation.  Do you understand it?  What are your specific economic concerns about our profession?
  • Set up a Guiding Team that will monitor our progress and hold us accountable.   We have an inital one.
  • Develop the Vision and Strategy for better times.  Our vision is simple, “Veterinary medicine is a personally and financially rewarding profession.”   The strategy must be comprehensive.  We are beginning to work on it.
  • Communicate the Vision and Plan.  We all need to be positive and get on board with this.  This will take a concerted effort for a long time but we can change the course of this ship.

Veterinary medicine is important to everyone.  It touches every person’s life on earth somehow directly or indirectly, whether they know it or not.  Look at our Strategic Plan, especially the Economic Goal on page 7.  Help us get started.  Watch for further news.

6 thoughts on “Members Respond to Economic Strategy Initiatives

  1. I am delighted to see the lines of communication open, even if the content or formatting of the message isn’t perfect. Look forward to more.

  2. In response to where all the responses came from, they were replies to the e-mail blast we had sent out to members. So most were in e-mails that I answered personally. The responses ranged from enthusiastic support, to stories of hardship, to very skeptical responses that anything would change (perhaps understandable). However, this is the first time AVMA has had so many things in line to really make a difference, such as a serious commitment to act to address the economic challenges this profession faces, an amazingly talented and dedicated staff to support this initiative which many can’t appreciate until you interact with them on a daily basis, and a volunteer leadership that has placed it high on AVMA’s priority list. This will be a new AVMA that engages all of us as resources.

    Second, this is just the start. As you all know, this is a huge and complex problem with a lot of dimensions, too many to innumerate here. This will be a comprehensive approach, not a one-faceted approach, like raising fees. And it will take time. I appreciate the many offers to get involved. Keep an eye on the blog and AVMA@Work e-newsletter for further information.

    Finally, I am a VIN member and do monitor VIN commments. I am not surprised by the skepticism, however that doesn’t solve the problems. We all need to be part of the solution. In answer to some of Craig’s questions:

    1. The Veterinary Economics Strategy Committee (appointed by a nomination process that worked very well for the Vision 20/20 Commission) would advise the Executive Board and future Economics Division, and lead to recommended strategies, programs, and activities.

    2. The new Economics Division will take some time (a few months) to develop (hiring the right people and defining the structure), and would be the 11th Division within AVMA (not counting the Executive Division). The EB established a $5 million commitment to this initiative over the next 5 years, coming from Reserves, with a designated
    National Economics Strategy Fund to be used to fund tactical plans and programs, approved by the Executive Board to advance the national economic strategy. A new Economics Division can cost upwards of $250,000 to house, equip, and staff. Any further recommendations would be submitted to the Executive Board by the Executive Vice President or their designee and would require a simple majority vote.

    3.The Economics Vision Steering Committee’s charge was originally to focus on planning the Economics Strategy working session to look at addressing this issue. That session took place August 21-23. We understand the urgency, we approved a clear and relevant vision statement, we are beginning to work on strategy, and we understand the need to communicate both of those widely to membership and outside entities. What we didn’t have was a strong guiding coalition to monitor progress and accountability (hold our feet to the fire). That led to the continuation of the Steering Committee, at least initially until we get some of these initiatives in place.

    4. This is a different time and a different AVMA. We can’t do this alone, we need collaboration of many other partners, industry and otherwise, to bring this vision to fruition. This is a day of interdependence, not independence.

    5. Finally, AVMA is not out of touch with all the other groups out there doing economic practice management communications. However, this is problem for the profession, and AVMA needs to take the lead in bringing all resources together to improve this situation. This needs to be a unified effort, not a fragmented one.

    Thank you for your comments. If you want to help, spread the word that AVMA is on this, be optimistic, help in the effort, educate clients to the value of veterinary medicine in their everyday lives, whether they own animals or not, take every moment to become in your community as visible and vocal role models. Become part of the solution. Stay tuned.

  3. Dr. Carlson,
    As a veterinarian with deep concerns about the continued economic viability of our profession, I applaud your efforts to tackle this issue. Our profession is at a crossroads and really needs strong leadership. I hope sincerely that you will be able to provide it.

    If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to visit and follow the discussion on VIN that is debating the five points listed in your e-mail. Over twenty veterinarians have chimed in with their thoughts on your ideas– many are skeptical and frustrated with the slow pace of progress at AVMA– but others are very insightful. I always try to encourage my fellow VINners to post their feedback on this site, but most just don’t log onto regularly. Others are uncomfortable posting their comments to the general public. In any case, I think VIN is an extremely valuable tool for you to really know what your constituents want and wish for the AVMA to do for them. I wish AVMA@work would cross post their stories onto the AVMA folder on VIN. Instead of 1 or two comments per story, you would likely receive hundreds and get a better guage of your members’ sentiments.

    Your vision of veterinary medicine being “financially rewarding” is sadly untrue for MANY in our profession. I fear that trend will continue to worsen if strong action is not taken. Many of your fellow AVMA members feel strongly that AVMA is not looking out for their best interests. Many would drop their membership if it was not required for PLIT. I am still optimistic that things can be turned around. I wish you all the best as you fight the battle. Please make every effort to maintain strong communication with your fellow veterinarians. Thanks again for investing your time and efforts in serving our profession.

    Deborah, in case you are not a VIN member

  4. “We have received a lot of responses to our Economic Strategy initiative.” Where? I haven’t been able to find an entry with more than a few comments.

    “I spent much of today responding to questions and comments.” Again, where?

    I would like to see the questions others have asked and see your answers.