By: Dr. Mark Helfat, Board of Directors Chair; Dr. Tom Meyer, AVMA President; Dr. David Ylander, House Advisory Committee Chair; Dr. Janet Donlin, AVMA Executive Vice President
How does the AVMA Board of Directors best try to meet the needs of our members? How can we as a Board help keep the AVMA vital and relevant?
If we as a Board are going to protect, promote and advance veterinarians and the veterinary profession, we must think strategically and act in your best interests, whether we’re talking about advocacy, economics, accreditation, member communications or providing valuable member products and services. Today, we are more focused than ever – through targeted business plans, and strategic spending and resource allocation – on meeting your needs.
Your AVMA has become more strategically focused, and one example of this concentration can be found in our advocacy efforts. Our members expect that the AVMA:
- Is THE place for advocacy and policy on behalf of the veterinary profession.
- Actively engages our members as we develop and implement our plans.
- Leads the development of professional standards.
- Excels as the trusted convener and evidence-based policy maker in the profession.
- Provides tangible products for our members as a result of and to support its advocacy efforts.
- Synergizes with our constituent (state and allied) veterinary associations to maximize impact, and;
- Provides leadership development opportunities to grow the next generation of advocates.
As 2016 draws to a close, and as we recently met for the last time this calendar year, your Board heard from AVMA staff about our successes in 2016 and the plans we have for 2017. Since we’re on the topic of advocacy, let’s take a look at some of our 2016 advocacy efforts. The successes are many, and they include but are certainly not limited to:
- The establishment of the AVMA Committee on Antimicrobials.
- The creation of Veterinary Feed Directive resources.
- The successful opposition to the international scheduling of ketamine.
- The publishing of the AVMA Guidelines for the Humane Slaughter of Animals, and;
- Transitioning our Reaching Up initiative from a pilot to a model program.
Now we are focused on building on our momentum in each of our business units: Advocacy and Public Policy; Accreditation and Certification; and Products and Services. During our strategic discussions, we focused on several key themes for 2017:
- Our business plans are solely focused on member value.
- Our association is in a period of transformation leading us to new ways of doing business and meeting your needs.
- Member priorities are our priorities.
- We are allocating our resources to services and programs that you have told us are priorities.
- We’re investing more in you, our association and our staff.
- We’re reducing the number of objectives and initiatives and focusing our efforts on those that will bring you the greatest return for your membership dollar and build member value.
The Board also heard updates about our collaborative efforts with others across the profession to address the issues of cyberbullying and student debt. During its Veterinary Information Forum last August, the AVMA House of Delegates (HOD) requested that the AVMA elevate the priority of providing cyberbullying resources for members, increase outreach efforts, and consider offering a hotline for members who are being victimized. Student debt was also a topic of HOD discussion. We’re making great progress in both areas, and the Board was pleased to hear how things are progressing. (We’ll share more about each topic in future AVMA@Work blogs, so stay tuned.)
In addition to the Board approving the AVMA’s 2017 budget and our three-year strategic operating plan, we also took action on several policies, as well as one resolution and one AVMA Bylaws amendment, including:
- A new AVMA policy on Inherited Disorders in Responsible Breeding of Companion Animals that supports the responsible breeding of companion animals such that only animals without deleterious inherited disorders are selected for breeding. This policy was referred to the HOD without a recommendation.
- A new policy that the AVMA recognizes that lead in the environment is a health risk to people, pets, livestock and wildlife, and encourages research, education and actions to mitigate the risk by elimination of lead exposure and continued development and use of alternative products.
- A revised policy on Surgical Procedures by Nonveterinary students that was referred back to the AVMA Council on Veterinary Services.
- A resolution requesting that the HOD recommend that the Board of Directors considers offering financial remuneration to the host veterinary medical association where the AVMA Convention will be held was referred to the HOD with a recommendation of disapproval.
- A bylaws amendment related to the length and duration of the AVMA treasurer’s term was referred to the HOD with a recommendation of approval.
The Board also approved financial support of networking events for the Women’s Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative (WVLDI). The funding will provide the opportunity for the AVMA to co-host up to four events with the WVLDI that will take place at national or regional veterinary meetings in 2017.
The Board supported the association hosting a meeting at AVMA Headquarters between the AVMA and the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy to collaboratively discuss issues of concern on pharmaceuticals used in veterinary medicine.
The Board also voted to approve a reconfiguration of the American Board of Veterinary Specialties (ABVS) and the establishment of the Veterinary Specialty Organizations Committee. The reconfiguration is designed to align the ABVS with best practices related to accreditation and certification. You can read more about the ABVS changes in a Jan. 15 JAVMA News story.
The AVMA is fortunate to have a membership that crosses the veterinary spectrum, and our volunteer entities rely on that breadth of diversity and the expertise of our members to formulate policy and address issues of interest. With that in mind, the Board appointed several members to numerous AVMA committees, as well as liaisons to two groups. They are:
- Drs. Sarah Lowry and Peregrine Wolff to the Animal Welfare Committee
- Dr. Nora Hickey to the Clinical Practitioners Advisory Committee
- Dr. Stacey Piotrowski to the Early Career Development Committee
- Dr. Rena Carlson as the Board of Directors representative to the Legislative Advisory Committee
- Dr. Karen Bradley as the Board of Directors representative to the Veterinary Leadership Conference Planning Committee
- Dr. Katrina Taylor as AVMA liaison to the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International
- Dr. Daniel Grooms as AVMA liaison to the National Coalition for Food and Agricultural Research