Board of Directors meeting summary, January 2016

By: Dr. John de Jong, Board of Directors Chair; Dr. Joe Kinnarney, AVMA President; Dr. Tim Montgomery, House Advisory Committee Chair; Dr. Ron DeHaven, AVMA Executive Vice President 

BOD3_VLC2016As we bring you news from the Jan. 8 Board of Directors meeting held during our annual Veterinary Leadership Conference in Chicago, we’d like to start with an exciting update that our AVMA Future Leaders program participants shared with the Board about their ongoing efforts to address the important issue of wellness.

The 2015-2016 class of Future Leaders is building on the excellent momentum established by last year’s class, which took up the issue in earnest and set a solid foundation for the future. The latest initiatives from the 2015-2016 class include the development of a 5-Step Countdown to Wellness toolkit that will be posted on our website and shared with members through AVMA convention programming and other means. The Future Leaders also are assisting in the planning and development of our upcoming AVMA Wellness Roundtable, which will be held in March.

The Board approved the 2016 budget and strategic operating plan, both of which include emphasis on the strategic priorities that our members made clear to us during our extensive survey and scanning process over the past year or so. Those areas include advocacy and public policy, accreditation and certification, and veterinary economics.

As we work to enhance and improve the efficiency of our governance process, the Board agreed to establish a Strategy Management Committee, which will be comprised of members of the Board and the AVMA House of Delegates. The Board believes this committee is critical to the success and performance of our governance initiatives and our ability to best serve member needs.  The committee’s work will help us in our efforts to establish and maintain efficient decision-making and effective operational processes, and improve allocation and management of resources.

The Board also spent a day working to improve its own performance and functionality through broad discussions held by the entire Board and in smaller breakout sessions. As we mentioned in the November Board update, we are striving to become a Board that is more focused on strategic thinking and actions, and a lot of our discussion during Friday’s meeting centered on the primary strategic issues we should address in the next two years, including, but certainly not limited to, growing member value across all segments of the profession, the financial health of the association, enhancing AVMA governance to become more nimble and member responsive, increasing member profitability, and helping build the leadership development skills of our members.

As we continue to evaluate all of our programs and services to ensure that we are best meeting your needs, the Board also agreed to work with our Veterinary Medical Assistance Team volunteers to assess the program and determine how it fits into the AVMA’s goal of strengthening the AVMA’s value to its members. We anticipate that a report from this work will be submitted for Board review in April.

In our ongoing efforts to improve the continuing education experience for our members, the Board also discussed and revised policies related to the Convention Education Program Committee.

And finally, the Board agreed with the recommendation from our Legislative Advisory Committee and other volunteer entities to take a position of “no action” on the draft version of the Veterinarian Payments Sunshine Act legislation, which you can read more about in the this AVMA@Work blog post. If you’d like to learn more about the AVMA House of Delegates session that was held during the Veterinary Leadership Conference, please check out our update on the AVMA@Work blog.

Sincerely,

Dr. John de Jong, Board of Directors Chair

Dr. Joe Kinnarney, AVMA President

Dr. Tim Montgomery, House Advisory Committee Chair

Dr. Ron DeHaven, AVMA Executive Vice President

5 thoughts on “Board of Directors meeting summary, January 2016

  1. Perhaps the words of Floyd Allport, 1933 on Institutional Behavior may explain the current dilemma.

    The past and present of men’s endeavors in this direction have been recorded in libraries of books and documents. Record and conjecture concerning the workings of human institutions comprise, indeed, the bulk of our traditional social science.

    Living as we do in this complex institutional era, the lack of awareness which many of us display concerning the nature of institutions and our own participation in them is little short of astonishing. Our hunger is satisfied through a world-wide system of habits intricately cooperating in the production, transportation, and distribution of goods.
    Our control over our environment is extended by collective enterprises involving extensive habits of capital, credit, and invention. Dangers are removed, diseases are prevented, and our heaviest labors lifted from us through an elaborate system of corporate action, engineering, and machine production. Our property, our civilized culture, and our very lives are protected through institutionalized habits and methods,—through laws, courts, schools, insurance systems. traffic regulations, police and fire departments, clinics, health bureaus, and housing commissions.
    Modern life is lived largely in and through those institutional activities which make all these collective adjustments possible. But since all these patterns of organization are a part of the cultural heritage into which each of us, by no will of his own, was born, we tend to take them for granted. Forgetting that they are, after all, only the product of human effort and that they can be changed or even abolished _if we will, we regard them as final and absolute. We accept them almost as unconsciously and uncritically as the air we breathe.
    Scarcely anyone has deemed it necessary to peer beneath the implicitly accepted thing we call the institution, whose purpose is regarded as the inexorable purpose of Society, in order to gain a glimpse of the acts and purposes of individuals beneath. Nor is there any considerable evidence that we are changing in this respect. Just as we have ordered our previous living through the notion of institutions, without asking ourselves what institutions are, so we are now projecting our institutional planning for the future, oblivious, meanwhile, to the meaning of institutional behavior in the lives of individuals themselves.

    A realistic study of institutional behavior is sorely needed at the present time. Our preoccupation with our institutions as the only practicable realities with which we have to deal, the limiting of research and discussion to the merits of this institution as compared with that, the neglect of individuals in our impetus to satisfy the needs of Society,—these distortions of emphasis have made us short-sighted and have thrown our perspective out of line. Many observers interpret our present problems as arising from a discrepancy, or lag, between the accelerated development of our institutions in some particulars and their retardation in others. Some also assume the difficulty to lie in the gap between the rapid progress of our material culture and our slower perfection of those institutional habits necessary for using the new tools without friction. It is considered, in any case, that social progress is to be achieved essentially by the modification of old institutions and the creating of new ones. The details of such reconstruction have been proposed and discussed at great length; numerous defects in our institutions have been pointed out and equally numerous remedies suggested. Upon the vital question, however, of the nature o f institutions themselves almost nothing has been said.

    The working of the institution has often been conceived as more important than the human beings to whom it is supposed to minister. We have been so intent upon utilizing the efforts of individuals, through their institutions, for the improvement of society that we have overlooked the effects of these methods upon the individuals themselves. Little attempt has been made to describe what men and women are actually doing when they cooperate to make their institutions ‘work,’ or how they fare in the process when all their needs and potentialities as individuals are taken into account. Our leaders have built up institutions ; but they have been oblivious to the problems of institutional behavior.

    This blindness to one-half of the problem of human adjustment has affected not only our social practice but our social theory as well. Inasmuch as the attention of leaders has been devoted so largely to institutions (as though these were the only possible agencies through which to work) many teachers and scholars have been led into believing that institutions are explicitly denoted, independent realities, existing in the same category with biological organisms and with the objects studied by the physical scientists. Finding no method of putting this assumption to a test, and no way of explicitly encountering an institution, yet feeling constrained, both in their teaching and by their reputation as social scientists, to give a clear and objective definition, some of these students have resorted to the long discredited method of the ‘armchair.’

    It is this attempt to substitute ‘pure reason’ regarding institutions for the contacts of explicit experience which explains that sorry output of abstractions, tautologies, and metaphors to which I have previously referred. Challenging as these failures should have been, they have been quickly passed over; and their authors have slipped quietly back into the more comfortable approach where definitions are accepted ‘implicitly,’ and explicit contact with one’s materials is not required. Having paid their respects to the duty of defining one’s terms, they have hastened to cross over into the other pathway, that in which we accomplish things through institutions and do not trouble ourselves about what institutions are. With this gesture the whole problem has been side-stepped; the institutional behavior of individuals has been ignored. Brought back to ‘institutions’ as the all-absorbing and sufficient reality, we are prevented from regarding them in their relation to the world of our more explicit experience, or from appraising their value to those human beings of whose behavior they are a part.

    Unfortunate indeed have been the consequences of this one-sided approach. The ideology of government, industry, and education which we have set up has made it peculiarly difficult to view social questions from the standpoint of individuals. Since there is no provision for the latter approach, any improvement or solution which is proposed must be directed first towards the objective of making our institutions operate more smoothly, and only indirectly, if at all, to the welfare or self-expression of individuals. The whole scene of responsibility and human values seems to have shifted from men and women in the concrete to Society in the large. We are tending to drive from our lives our former face to face relations with our fellows, and to envisage human living as the processes of the great society. And in keeping with the outward practices.

    There has grown up a philosophy in which our values are centered in institutions as super-human realities, agencies which we accept uncritically as controlling and directing our human existence.

  2. Dr. May,

    I thank you for your response. I am sorry that the job of responding to colleague concerns falls on you instead of those on the Executive Board. How refreshing and inspiring it would be to see just one person on the board find the intestinal fortitude to address this issue head on instead of hiding in the corner (aside from Dr. de Jong).

    “We appreciate your thoughts on anesthesia-free dentistry. The AVMA recognizes that some practitioners believe such procedures may be an acceptable adjunct to anesthetic dentistry, whereas other veterinarians believe they present a risk that a more thorough dental exam will be delayed or will not occur, resulting in adverse consequences for the patient. The AVMA believes strongly in the exercise of professional judgment to assure the best care for the patient that is actually in front of the veterinarian.”

    In a similar vein, if a group of practitioners decided, without proof, that lobotomy was an effective treatment for otitis,, would the AVMA sit by and allow those to exercise their professional judgment?

    Can we be honest here and call complete crap on this pathetic statement. It is bad enough that ANY member goes against policy statements from the AVDC, AAHA, and the AVMA, but for the chair of the executive board to do so is embarrassing and inexcusable. We are talking about a person and an organization that is supposed to represent your members. This amounts to advertising for nonanesthetic dentistry and the company that he utilizes. That alone is unprofessional and in such poor taste as to show a major display of poor judgment. For that reason, I would think all other board members would expect Dr. de Jong’s immediate resignation from the Board of Directors. If I still maintained a membership in this organization, I would expect nothing less.

    “Current AVMA policy emphasizes the need for anesthesia for procedures such as periodontal probing, intraoral radiography, dental scaling, and dental extraction (view the policy at https://www.avma.org/…/AVMA-Position-on-Veterinary…).”

    Perhaps I misunderstood, but don’t these nonanesthetic tooth groomings include scaling and polishing? Why have a policy, why put your volunteers under the burden to craft a policy, if YOU don’t even care to follow it?

    “Differing – even dissenting – opinions within our membership and leadership (such as those that exist on this issue) are valuable because the discussion that stems from constructive disagreement provides all of us with a broader view of the issue and ensures complete and careful consideration when policy is adopted by the AVMA”.

    But, you have already shown that the AVMA policies are next to worthless. You can’t even get the Executive board to respect them, much less your members.

  3. Dr. Nutt, AVMA replied to the comments on Facebook, where the conversation was taking place. Here is the AVMA’s response:
    We appreciate your thoughts on anesthesia-free dentistry. The AVMA recognizes that some practitioners believe such procedures may be an acceptable adjunct to anesthetic dentistry, whereas other veterinarians believe they present a risk that a more thorough dental exam will be delayed or will not occur, resulting in adverse consequences for the patient. The AVMA believes strongly in the exercise of professional judgment to assure the best care for the patient that is actually in front of the veterinarian.

    Current AVMA policy emphasizes the need for anesthesia for procedures such as periodontal probing, intraoral radiography, dental scaling, and dental extraction (view the policy at https://www.avma.org/…/AVMA-Position-on-Veterinary…). The AVMA considers veterinary dentistry and oral medicine and surgery to be part of the practice of veterinary medicine. Veterinary dentistry includes the cleaning, adjustment, filing, extraction, or repair of animals’ teeth and all other aspects of oral health care in animals, and such activities require appropriate veterinary oversight.

    Differing – even dissenting – opinions within our membership and leadership (such as those that exist on this issue) are valuable because the discussion that stems from constructive disagreement provides all of us with a broader view of the issue and ensures complete and careful consideration when policy is adopted by the AVMA.

    And Dr. de Jong shared with us his response to one of the emails he received:

    Thank you for your email and reaching out to me with your concerns. I fully appreciate hearing your opinion. I understand your anger about my apparent disagreement with AVMA policy, and I appreciate the opportunity to respond.

    I also had serious reservations about conscious dental cleanings in companion animals, but I wanted to experience it for myself so I could make an informed decision. I closely observed how the procedures are done, and I asked many questions. What I saw changed my mind on the procedures. I feel there is excellent dental charting and promotion of oral radiography and anesthetic dentistry. Based on my observations, the providers are skilled at recognizing dental conditions that necessitate anesthetic dentistry. I call them conscious cleanings, not dentistry, for a reason: in my hospital, these procedures are performed as a complement to, and not a replacement for, anesthetic dentistry with oral radiography. In addition, when performed in my clinic, conscious dental cleaning is performed only under veterinary supervision. I have found that clients value the opportunity to provide basic dental cleaning for pets with unacceptable anesthetic risk or when the pet seems basically healthy but the client cannot afford anesthetic dentistry at the time.

    I believe that there is a need for more research as well as increased dialog and collaboration on this topic. I welcome your input and hope that you’ll continue to be involved in the discussions.

    Respectfully,

    John de Jong

  4. Hey,

    Any chance the Board of Directors discussed Non anesthetic dentistry during this meeting?

    I am appalled that a member of the Board of Directors, a group charged with moving our profession forward, is a willing participant in this substandard dental care. Didn’t the AVMA issue a policy statement against this practice?

    Are the Board members immune to the policy statements they publish?

    • Hello. Anybody? Does anyone on the Board of Directors even care about this issue? Do any of you ever communicate with your colleagues about anything?

      Lets see. New logo. Check. To the tune of what, six figures of your member’s money (without asking for their opinion, by the way).

      Dancing acrobats and champagne- paid for by your members again to signal in the new era of a more inclusive and responsive AVMA. Check

      No response to colleague’s concerns. Same old AVMA.