Thanks to great member interest and your extensive input, the AVMA House of Delegates (HOD) conducted a successful, first-ever Veterinary Information Forum (VIF) during its regular summer meeting during the AVMA Annual Convention in San Antonio, Aug. 6-9.
The HOD-wide forum provided an opportunity for open discussion of issues brought forth by the delegates and their constituents. Through outreach to AVMA members, the HOD was able to assess which topics deserved discussion during the forum so that ideas could be shared and rapid response provided to the issues if needed.
The three topics that rose to the top and were discussed during the VIF were cyberbullying, student debt and AVMA efforts to support large-animal veterinarians. After extensive discussion of each topic on the House floor, the topics were referred to HOD Reference Committees, where more in-depth discussion occurred and where recommendations were formulated and then presented to the full House later in the day.
The topic of cyberbullying resulted in an approved recommendation calling for the AVMA Board of Directors to elevate cyberbullying on its priority list with specific emphasis on continuing education, member awareness, crisis management and collaboration with PLIT on reputation management tools. The recommendation also asks the Board to consider as an option a hot line or rapid telephone support for veterinarians experiencing cyberbullying. The AVMA has online resources to help members manage their online reputation and mitigate cyberbullying, and the Board and staff will discuss additional efforts to assist members.
The student debt issue discussions resulted in a successful recommendation vote on a proposal calling for the HOD members to support the recommendations of the recently held Economics of Veterinary Education Summit and urged every House member to disseminate the information on the summit to their colleagues and constituents to raise awareness of the student debt issue.
In response to discussions held regarding AVMA efforts to support large-animal veterinarians, the House approved a recommendation calling for numerous action items, including:
- Making available to AVMA members the professional bios and areas of expertise of all AVMA staff who hold a position of assistant director and above.
- Making it a priority that the large-animal information on the AVMA website be updated.
- Providing HOD Reference Committee 5 with historic information regarding AVMA Convention programs, including the number of CE hours by specific species, attendance figures of each program and the amount spent on each species’ programs.
- Consideration of a review of the Veterinarian’s Oath to include a reference to agriculture or livestock.
The HOD asked AVMA staff and the Board to provide updates on each request for the 2017 House of Delegates Winter Session.
The HOD also acted on two bylaw amendments and two resolutions.
- The House voted to approve proposed Bylaw Amendment 1-2016: Executive Vice President and Assistant Executive Vice President with 71 percent of the vote. The change removes the requirement that the AVMA executive vice president/chief executive officer be a veterinarian but requires at least one of the two offices of executive vice president and assistant executive vice president be a veterinarian and a voting member of the association for a period of at least five continuous years immediately prior to election.
- Bylaw Amendment 2-2016: Treasurer was approved with 98 percent of the vote. The move makes the AVMA treasurer an official, but non-voting, member of the AVMA Board. The AVMA treasurer has historically attended all Board meetings, but not as an official member of the Board.
- Resolution 3-2016: Revised policy on free-roaming, owned cats was approved with 93 percent of the vote. The policy encourages veterinarians to educate clients and the public about the risks associated with allowing cats free-roam access to the outdoors. The revised policy will be posted on our website within the next few weeks.
- The HOD also amended and approved Resolution 4-2016: Request for the Council on Education to Adopt a Standard on Financial Literacy with 93 percent of the vote. The amended resolution states that the AVMA COE support the process of adding a new student financial literacy and wellness standard to its standards of accreditation as initiated by the Student AVMA.
In other business, the HOD elected Dr. Stacy Pritt to the office of AVMA vice president. Dr. Pritt, who ran unopposed, is director of the institutional animal care and use committee in the Research Administration department at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. The AVMA vice president serves a two-year term as the association’s liaison to the Student AVMA and student chapters, and is also a voting member of the AVMA Board.
Dr. Michael Topper, the immediate past chair of the HOD House Advisory Committee and a member of the HOD since 2008, was elected AVMA president-elect. Dr. Topper is a veteran of the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps, and he currently serves as director of clinical pathology and immunology for Merck Research Laboratories.
The HOD also elected individuals to AVMA council positions. The councils and those elected are:
- Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents: Drs. Alice Jeromin, Laurel Gershwin, Brad Tanner and Fred Gingrich
- Council on Public Health and Regulatory Veterinary Medicine: Drs. Elizabeth Wagstrom and Karen Ehnert
- Council on Research: Drs. Sasha Caudle, Daniel Grooms and John Middleton
- Council on Veterinary Service: Drs. Christopher Gargamelli, Stanley Robertson and Jennifer Quammen
- AVMA Judicial Council: Stephen Barghusen
Elected to the HOD House Advisory Committee (HAC) were Drs. Michael Ames, Jon Pennell and David Ylander. Dr. Ylander, an HOD delegate from Nebraska, was elected chair of the HAC, and Dr. Doug Kratt, an HOD delegate from Wisconsin, was installed as HAC vice chair.