Help us shape the future AVMA

We’re asking for your support of a vitally important AVMA effort. 

Beginning this month and continuing over the next several months, the AVMA is embarking on a comprehensive evaluation of what you – our members – need from your national veterinary association. Our goal is to fully understand what services and products you value most from the AVMA, and also the areas where you desire even greater support. 

We are launching this effort with full appreciation that our members’ needs are continually evolving. This period of evaluation will give us necessary feedback to help the AVMA focus our resources appropriately to ensure you receive the greatest value from your membership and the necessary support to thrive in your profession.

Of course, for this initiative to be truly successful, it will require the participation of our members – across all groups and practice types. Over the next several months, you may be asked to participate in conversations or surveys that are designed to help us gauge your needs, our performance and how we can best serve you as an AVMA member. 

We encourage you to respond to any survey or information requests you may receive on behalf of the AVMA or our partner organizations. We also ask that you share your opinions honestly and clearly, as this will only improve the quality of the outcome. We will make every attempt to limit the number of times we solicit your feedback, but we also ask for your understanding and cooperation in the event you are asked to participate more than once.

As our work progresses, we will keep you informed about what we learn and how the information you share is being used to help refocus the AVMA’s services and support to the more than 85,000 veterinarians we are so proud to represent. 

Thank you for your participation in this important initiative. We look forward to sharing more with you as our work progresses.

27 thoughts on “Help us shape the future AVMA

  1. We had the membership numbers to self insure to replace our excellent coverage that was lost due to the obomination called ACA. The AVMA did not provide the leadership and resources for this so why should we expect them to provide the leadership to address the other major concerns affecting our profession? I for one am not renewing my AVMA membership.

    • Dear Dr. Kosted,

      I am in receipt of your post on the AVMA@Work blog and would like to take this opportunity to respond to your comment regarding the GHLIT medical insurance becoming self-insured. You mentioned that the AVMA has “…the membership numbers to self- insure to replace the excellent coverage that was lost” due to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

      The medical plan offered though the AVMA GHLIT was a bona fide association plan and not an employer plan therefore the laws surrounding self-funding of insurance are different. Although the GHLIT did have the membership numbers and financial resources available to self-fund, we were precluded from doing so because we are not an employer of our members. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) determined that bona fide association plans like ours, would be considered individual health plans under the new law, rather than group plans as they were previously. Therefore self-insuring wasn’t an option available to AVMA GHLIT (although we did explore this possibility).

      We would like to thank you for your loyalty to the AVMA and GLHIT over the years and hope you reconsider terminating your membership.


      Felicia Watson
      GHLIT Trust Representative

  2. I cannot understand how the House of Delegates can tolerate such quackery as homeopathy. I will look again for alternatives to the AVMA PLIT.

  3. I would like to participate in this series of surveys and the initiative. We need to work from within our own professional ranks to be better about educating animal owners to be better caregivers and pet care consumers, and deemphasize the popular idea that veterinary care should be selected for on the least-cost basis. We need to hold each other to higher standards of the care we offer, and stop offering “cut-rate” services outside of a more comprehensive wellness program or valid doctor-client-patient relationship.

  4. Dear Members,

    Thanks for your feedback on this blog and for those of you that received our survey, thank you for taking the time to complete it. The survey response window has closed and we have just started the process of analyzing the feedback. Clearly we are not going to be able to do all the things that 85,000 members would like us to do, but we certainly expect to get a sense of what programs, activities, and services that we can provide will give our members the most return on the investment of your dues dollars. This initial survey will help us determine what major “lines of business are the most important to our members, e.g., advocacy, journals, convention, and then future surveys will drill down into more specifics about the what it is you want within those lines of business. Stay tuned!

    Based on some of the comments about AVMA doing something to promote members, I want to mention Partners for Healthy Pets. This initiative started in 2010 and was in response to a decade-long decline in the frequency of pet visits to veterinarians for routine preventive healthcare. The PHP mission is to “ensure that pets receive the preventive healthcare they deserve through regular visits to a veterinarian.” It started with an initial core group of 7 organizations and has now grown to over 110 organizations with AVMA and AAHA providing the leadership. Our members include corporate partners, 47 state veterinary medical associations, most of our colleges of veterinary medicine, and a number of allied organizations. We spent the first couple of years organizing and building a fabulous toolbox to help practices emphasize the delivery of preventive care and, just as importantly, communicate the value of preventive care to their clients. In September of last year, we launched a $5.5 million consumer campaign with everything from TV spots to ads in national magazines (e.g., People Magazine) and in the social media. In addition to leading the effort with our staff resources, AVMA and AAHA have also contributed financially to this consumer campaign – $1 million from AVMA and a proportionate $200K from AAHA. I could go on and on about PHP, but in the interest of space and your time won’t do so here. But I do hope you will go to the website ( and check it out. Enroll your practice (over 4,400 practices have enrolled already) and use the tools – they’re very well done and no cost to you. And look for my commentary on PHP and emphasis on preventive healthcare in the May 1 issue of JAVMA.


    W. Ron DeHaven

    • Ron,

      I have been a member for nearly 50 years and did not get a survey. Who gets surveys?

      If you and others in the AVMA management read through the responses below, you should realize there are many very unhappy members. I hope this attempt at gathering membership thoughts on subjects works well and is not hampered by bureaucracy as has been the case many times in the past.

      There may be 85,000 members on the rolls, but the fact is many of those do not agree with the direction our national association is going and with some of the major decisions being made. It seems to many of us that dealing with the American Veterinary Medical Association bureaucracy is about dealing with the federal government, much talk and little done that the membership desires. Your most successful program, the one that held many here, was insurance, and now it is gone, gutted and left to die by Obamacare, a failure in the making.

      Let’s not let the statement, “Clearly we are not going to be able to do all the things that 85,000 members would like us to do,” be a crutch on which the AVMA leadership leans to support their long term goals, and not those of the dues paying members. Should that happen again, you will likely have many less dues paying members.


    • Wow. You guys aren’t getting it. I didn’t get the survey. I’m not satisfied with the AVMA. Beyond PLIT I see very little reason to be associated. AVMA leadership seems completely out of touch with my practice, my local VMA and my state VMA. What does AVMA do for me? Not much, but I want them to. Catch a clue.
      Please send me a survey.

      • Thanks for writing, Dr. Evans. We’ve received questions from some AVMA members as to why they didn’t receive our most recent survey. While not every AVMA member will be asked to participate in each of our surveys, we want to assure you that the surveys will be sent to veterinarians representing all groups and practice types in the AVMA’s overall membership. We do hope that if you do receive a survey over the coming months, that you will participate honestly and candidly, as this will only improve the quality of the outcome.

      • Dr. Evans,
        Please don’t think the surveys are the only way you can provide feedback to your AVMA leadership. As a member, you can go to the “My AVMA Leaders” link under the Member Center section on the AVMA homepage and it will tell you who your HOD delegates and Executive Board rep are. It also provides means of contacting them. For example, please contact your HOD delegates and let them know what you think of the plan for revision of the AVMA governance structure ( You can also express your constructive feedback on how the AVMA can better serve you as a member to your HOD delegates and EB rep.

  5. I agree w Dr Shaw.
    The AVMA has done nothing to promote the Veterinarian. Value for service rendered. Customer service in the health field is not the norm yet we provide it daily.
    General practices provide wellness care, surgery, radiology, dentistry, pain management, geriatric care and euthanasia and that’s just the medicine.
    Does the average consumer know this? NO
    I thought the AVMA would’ve been our biggest cheerleader but over the last 20 some odd years of practice I have not seen one ad campaign or any information for the general public on my behalf.
    And don’t even get me started on the nutrition disinformation campaign afoot (when did corn become poison?)
    I will also agree that too much supply is hurting the new grads; be it either for foreign accreditation or new schools here in the US. Has the AVMA not read the latest studies about the lack of jobs ?
    My 2 cents, ….. thanks for finally asking

    • Dr. Hagan,
      We have produced a number of products and campaigns that have directly informed the public of the value of veterinary care and have provided opportunities to help vets express that value. Just because we haven’t done a national TV ad campaign doesn’t mean we’ve done nothing. Our social media channels reach hundreds of thousands of people (or more) every week, and the majority of our content focuses on informing the public of the value of veterinarians. The Partners for Healthy Pets (of which AVMA is a founding member) campaign includes public outreach (with more to come) about the value of preventive care. The Pet Nutrition Alliance (of which AVMA is a participant) focuses on providing resources for veterinary clinics to communicate about nutrition. The Healthy Pets section of WebMD provides animal health articles written or reviewed by veterinarians, and AVMA member veterinarians interact with members of the public in the forum. We produce brochures, on-hold messages, and flyers for veterinary clinics to use to inform and educate pet owners. The Smithsonian traveling exhibit, Animal Connections, focuses on the value of animals in our lives and the value of veterinarians in preserving health and welfare. We have a number of other efforts in development as well.

  6. As a Diplomate ACVP who has not practiced since 1996 and hopes never to practice clinical medicine again, I hope the surveys will ask ME pertinent questions as well. I have NO good reason to remain an AVMA member – and yet I have done so year after year, largely because my employer is willing to pay my dues. The JAVMA is rarely worth my time to read (except perhaps the obits), and I don’t need health or disability insurance. What are you doing for me as a non-practicing veterinary professional? Nothing that I can see.

  7. Dear AVMA. Thank you for asking for fed back and suggestions. I have suggested this in the past and would like to formally present this idea (described in the paragraph) further.

    The One Medicine initiative you have been involved with is very good. Might suggest you expand this further with the support of the BDLS and ADLS courses we have begun that teach veterinarians and veterinary technicians to be support physicians and nurses caring for people should a massive disaster occur. The AMA has highly supported the initiative and have offered to provide assistance.

    In 1963 the US Public Health Service with blessings from President Kennedy asked that all US veterinarians be called upon, should a massive disaster occur, (where there would be overwhelming numbers of human casualties), to provide direct care support and assistance to physicians and nurses trying to provide the care required. In Katrina and other large regional disasters veterinarians have been faced with having to care for people directly.

    What I am proposing, is that the AVMA officially bless and sponsor the training necessary so that veterinarians and their veterinary technicians can be prepared to lend the aid needed when catastrophic disasters occur.. As history has provided evidence for It’s not if but when this happens… We, as a a profession, need to be prepared to care for both humans and animals in desperate need. The National Disaster Life Support Foundation and the AMA are looking to also help in the organization of this training which could be provided at the Annual AVMA meeting, and at national, regional and state VMA meetings. The training could also be provided to veterinary students. The Basic Disaster Life Support course for the veterinary profession as well as the more hands on Advanced Disaster Life Support course have designed and given with also blessings from the Department of Homeland Security. From my experience also as a volunteer certified firefighter and licensed EMT-I active with my local EMS service, and a responder to past catastrophic incidences, I am confident that veterinarians trained in B and ADLS would be a major positive manpower source in disasters that could make the difference on the saving of thousands of human lives.

    Dennis T (Tim) Crowe, DVM, DACVS, DACVECC, FCCM
    Past member of UGA ‘s Institute of Destruction Defense, Athens, GA
    Chief of Surgery and Critical Care
    Regional Institute for Vetetinary Emergencies and Referrals, Chattanooga, TN
    Assistant Chief, Station 7, Oconee County Fire and Rescue, Watkinsville, GA

  8. I have been a member of the avma for 22 years. I do it primarily for the insurance(of which I no longer have health insurance, but the disability/own occupation is impossible to beat, so remain a member), and for the hope of maintaining professionalism in the AMERICAN vma. the journal is average or below average for a general practitioner–I understand it is a primary avenue for residents to get published, but we could certainly use many more retrospective studies to everyday disease we see in practice, and new tx on the horizon.

    aside from the insurance aspect(which for many years was a big advantage), the avma has helped my professional development and the profession in general close to zero percent. we have given away animal chiropractic, equine dentistry, vaccination clinics, pharmaceuticals, and numerous other prior–“veterinary only” procedures with little fight back from our avma. euthanasia is likely the most important, dangerous(drugs misused, in wrong hands, accidental inj, etc), and the only ‘final’ procedure that can be performed on an animal, yet, the avma stood idle as state after state issued legislation allowing ‘certified euthanasia technicians’ to kill animals in high numbers. giving that procedure away pretty much guarantees we as a profession, and the avma as a ‘support body’ are willing to give up any procedure we have a ‘monopoly’ on.

    it is no wonder we supposedly(have seen this mentioned at least 1/2 dozen times in my 22 yrs as a member) face a surplus of veterinarians, and a decline in patients and income, when we give away dozens of procedures to laypersons. oddly, the avma, and their concern for our economics, make little mention of the procedures taken over by laypersons claiming(admittedly some are well-trained) expertise in these specialties.

    I believe the bigger problem re: graduate veterinarians being unable to find work is the extreme amt of debt they have upon graduation. private practitioners cannot afford the income they need(and they certainly are a drain on the practice their first year out(I know how little money I brought into a clinic my first yr in practice) to cover their debt, let alone find housing, feed themselves, and have some semblance of a life. as much has been made over inflationary medical care costs, the only industry with a higher inflation rate is the cost of education–yet, few are doing anything about this.

  9. I know there are many important issues including accreditation of schools, over supply issues, legislative concerns, but I think the AVMA, also, needs to start a campaign to bolster veterinary professionalism. I have been a member of this profession for over 36 years and over this time I have seen an erosion of collegiality between veterinarians and an increase in competition.
    Being a member of a veterinary association seems to some, more of a duty or burden than it used to be. When asked to participate in a state association about half of us decline. When asked to help with the association you are a member of more than half decline.
    Veterinarians are faced with many challenges in our professional lives with more to come. Associations can help guide the profession into the future. They can effect positive legislative change for members. (Political action committees need to be funded and members need to understand why.) Associations can help members remember and realize their ethical obligations to society as well as one another. How we behave toward one another seems to be a growing concern. We see more advertising as the web becomes a bigger part of our business lives. As we advertise, we should remember to be considerate of our colleagues. Associations can help us understand the importance of how we communicate with or clients about our fellow veterinarians.
    Professionals get up everyday with our ‘A’ game. Our integrity is unquestionable. We strive to be at our best and gladly further our education in our field. We need to stay committed to helping our clients, our patients, and each other. We need to remember we are part of a noble profession with a rich history of achievement.
    Some of our colleagues don’t understand what the veterinarians working on their behalf in associations are doing for them. They don’t understand, they don’t participate, and they don’t support financially, but they do reap the benefits of other’s efforts.
    The AVMA can help us all understand our need for strong professionalism. We are all in this together.

  10. The AVMA is accrediting too many foreign schools. The AVMA is supposed to be an organization of American veterinarians, in business to aid and protect American veterinarians, or at least, that is the assumption when the organization is titled the American Veterinary Medical Association. Neither I nor most other members pay our dues, so that graduates of foreign schools can enter the U.S. and practice as we do.

    The present President of the AVMA made a remark earlier this year intimating that the average veterinarian in the United States did not understand the complexities of the global economy and realize that the current AVMA policy was the best to follow; this was relayed to the Board of Directors of the Texas Veterinary Medical Association at it’s last meeting. I will readily admit that I am far from worldly. I am from Texas and my world consists mostly of my practice, my family, and our holdings here. Compared to some, I am sure I am quite country, but I do understand survival, as do most other veterinarians no matter their home state. My aim in life, veterinary medicine, and other ventures is success and survival. The current AVMA accreditation policy makes that infinitely more difficult by overpopulating the United States with foreign graduated veterinarians, many of whom were unable to pass the rigorous entrance requirements and qualifications imposed on those of us who graduated here.

    This accreditation policy should be stopped immediately. If it is not, the AVMA, an organization of which I have been a member for nearly 50 years, runs the risk of irrelevance and extensive membership loss, although the Association bureaucracy may not realize that fact, since this is a very insulated ruling group in my and most veterinarians’ experience. Because of a variety of AVMA policies and past mitakes, and if you weren’t the only game in town nationally today, the AVMA would be a far smaller organization with little clout.

  11. The AVMA leadership needs to stop being co-opted by pharmaceutical companies. AVMA takes in millions to underwrite conferences but fails to realize that the relationship is costing veterinarians in general hundreds-of-millions of dollars and leaves them open to non-differentiated product pricing. These companies have effectively made leadership incapable of developing opposition to combat competition from national chains. Every veterinarian could profit from specialty branding of “veterinary approved” products that carries there own label i.e. Veterinary Select. Veterinarians have the power, they just don’t use it. These special branded products could only be obtained through veterinary clinics and hospitals. They would not be available online, at national chains or big box stores. Wasn’t that the initial idea behind Science Diet? Imagine! Also get tough on those veterinarians who would resell or divert said products outside of the veterinary clinic/hospital distribution channel.

  12. I feel the AVMA needs to start a nationwide advertising campaign. The public needs to be educated on the value of having their pets, especially cats, seen by a veterinarian yearly. Emphasize the adage that one human year is seven dog years. So for the dog that means he’s really getting a seven year exam. Tell the public that getting vaccinated in the parking lot of the local feed store is not the same as a comprehensive physical exam by a veterinarian who truly cares about the pet’s health. Inform the public about the amount of schooling and expertise it takes to become a veterinarian.
    Only when the public appreciates the many facets of being a veterinarian will the profession be elevated in their eyes.

    • I agree– the general public does not see the value of paying for an office visit. Our national organization should be advocating for the profession to the general public in a positive & educational way. I am a relief vet, so I do occasional work vx clinics. And virtually the universal complaint from the clients that do complain is that their vet wanted to charge them $40-60 for an office visit. I explain to all of them that my 5 minute quick once over (sometimes longer if it’s not busy) is absolutely not the same as a full, in-office checkup where most dx needs can be met. I always encourage them to followup with their regular vet, particularly if the pet is older or if they’ve never had a pet before. I feel that our national organization needs to publicize the benefits of yearly or every 6-month exams & also should explain the value of this service in terms the general public will understand. And when blatantly wrong/negative “news” reports such as that 20/20 episode with the non-vet as the expert air, the AVMA should be the first ones up with the correct, useful info for clients. With the advent of Dr Google-stein, people’s access to information has certainly increased, but somehow, they always find the weird info to glom onto. Vets themselves also need to then step up, market more specifically for each individual pet & develop a style that doesn’t come off to the consumer as only caring about money–that is exactly how many consumers feel & for the most part, they are completely wrong. However, somewhere, our communication failed & the owner got the wrong impression.

  13. Please do not make me lose my job for bringing up this very old problem, but could the AVMA say/do something about those of us paid as independent contractors, when we are actually employees… plain & simple.

    • If you are in the work schedule regularly on a weekly or very frequent basis, maintaining an Independent Contractor status is very difficult to justify from an IRS and tax standpoint. There are regulations concerning this already. We have discussed this topic many times on VIN and texasvets; regular, frequent employment at a specific practice usually means you are an employee in the view of the IRS. Having said that does not mean that I agree with it, but I have been through this discussion myself for my own practice years ago. It turned out the the veterinarian who worked for me was an employee by IRS definition. Independent Contractor status is a tough battle to fight for the practice owner and the employee veterinarian because both think they are right.

  14. The AVMA is accrediting too many new and other veterinary colleges at a time when most veterinary colleges are expanding their class sizes. The studies of vet med needs shows overproduction of veterinary graduates even today, much less in the future. The quality of those new schools are in question. How can the AVMA accredit a veterinary college that allows all applicants to be accepted, teach 400 freshman students and lose half of the number by attrition? There has to be something wrong with that method. Standards of accreditation have to be raised not lowered.

    My 2 cents.

    • I totally agree with this statement. In the years I have been an AVMA member, I cannot count the times the AVMA bureaucracy said the same thing, “Tell us how we can help,” and I can easily count on one hand the times the bureaucracy has responded as the majority of dues paying members wished. In a veterinary practice, all talk and no positive action results in your losing your practice; in professional associations, the same thing can happen.

      If it seems to you that I am frustrated with the leadership, bureaucracy, and management of the AVMA, you would be correct in your assumption.