This has been a very busy month indeed. At every meeting I attend, I give a summary of the progress we have made on the many AVMA initiatives related to our five Strategic Goals, which focus on strengthening veterinary economics, catalyzing the transformation of veterinary education, promoting animal welfare, advancing scientific research and discovery, and enhancing governance and member participation.
At our last AVMA Executive Board meeting in April, we approved the development, promotion and launch of the Animal Health Network in support of the goal of advancing scientific research and discovery. The Animal Health Network is the new name for the Institute for Companion Animal and Equine Research, which the Executive Board approved in concept back in 2007. The Executive Board reaffirmed its commitment to the effort last year, when it voted to encourage the American Veterinary Medical Foundation to develop an action and business plan for the initiative. The AVMF, with support of the AVMA Council on Research, has expended its own resources to help start the Cat Health Network, the species-specific pilot component of the Animal Health Network, and now resources must be invested into the overarching parent entity. This network has great potential to develop new knowledge and improve animal health care for many species.
Under our goal of catalyzing the transformation of veterinary education, we have met with the deans of our veterinary schools twice already – in January and March – to discuss common issues facing the profession. After identifying 17 areas of potential collaboration, we are currently concentrating on three critically important issues:
- Gathering accurate workforce data on the current and future demand for veterinary medical services on which to base our strategy.
- Immediately putting into action plans to help students manage their educational debt, and
- Starting to plan how veterinary schools might better prepare graduates for a more productive first year of employment. This includes incorporating more preventive care experience through use of the Partnership for Preventive Pet Healthcare Guidelines in their community practices.
Our goal is to achieve our vision that “Veterinary medicine is a personally and financially rewarding profession.”
Animal welfare continues to be a key issue for veterinary medicine and the AVMA, especially as it relates to food-animal welfare. AVMA leadership recently met with the leadership of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians to discuss issues of importance to food-animal agriculture and production. This has been a timely topic of late due to the AVMA’s support of H.R. 3798, the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments bill for layer hens. It has led to further discussions on how we can better serve our AVMA members who are food-animal veterinarians, who work so hard to assure an abundant, affordable and humanely produced food supply for this country through food sources from this country, not elsewhere. How can we best serve these members and the animals they care for, and assure food security?
The Task Force on AVMA Governance and Member Participation and the Task Force on Foreign Veterinary School Accreditation both had very productive meetings last month, and we will keep you posted as their work continues. Other issues of interest include not-for-profit, full-service veterinary clinics, working to stop the practice of horse soring, the judicious use of antimicrobials and infringement on our veterinary practice acts by non-veterinarians. What is keeping you busy? We certainly welcome your comments.
In closing, be sure we have your updated email address and watch the AVMA blogs log for regular updates, especially during our website renewal project. The new website is scheduled to launch during the AVMA’s Annual Convention in August in San Diego. That will be exciting! Thank you for being AVMA members!