By: Dr. Michael Whitehair, Board of Directors Chair; Dr. Michael Topper, AVMA President; Dr. Douglas Kratt, House Advisory Committee Chair; Dr. Janet Donlin, AVMA Executive Vice President
Whether the topics were related to the AVMA’s budget, our advocacy efforts on behalf of the profession, veterinary economics or furthering our focus on leadership development, the interests of our members were at the heart of the AVMA’s recent Board of Directors meeting.
The AVMA’s commitment to meeting member needs was evident in discussions that focused on the 2018 AVMA budget and strategic operating plan. The Board approved the $38 million spending plan Friday.
Dr. Rena Carlson, AVMA Board member and chair of the AVMA’s Strategy Management Committee, said of the budget and planning process, “I’m seeing a real connection between what our members want and need, and the Board’s objectives. Staff has delivered a realistic and actionable plan. Our plans are focused on the member and how we can improve what we are doing.”
The Board voted to support the recommendations from the AVMA Legislative Advisory Committee on a number of advocacy-related initiatives, including:
- Support of the Federal Perkins Loan Program Extension Act of 2017. This legislation would extend the Federal Perkins Loan Program for two additional years by moving the authorization expiration from Sept. 30, 2017, to Sept. 30, 2019. The federal program is a campus-based student aid program through which colleges and universities provide subsidized, low-interest loans to undergraduate and graduate-professional students demonstrating financial need. In the past year, approximately 539,000 students received Perkins loans, totaling $1.2 billion in new loans.
- Support of the Student Loan Relief Act, which would, among other things, eliminate origination fees, create a new loan refinancing program for loans made under certain programs, and lower and cap interest rates.
- Nonsupport for the Horseracing Integrity Act of 2017. Included in the bill is language that prohibits the administration of any substance within 24 hours of a horse’s next racing start, effectively eliminating administration of race-day medications. The Board agrees with the American Association of Equine Practitioners and the AVMA Animal Welfare Committee positions that to protect the health and welfare of the horse, we must preserve the use of race-day furosemide until an alternative treatment for exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage is developed.
Supporting women’s veterinary leadership
The Board also voted to continue support of the Women’s Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative (WVLDI) by funding events co-hosted by WVLDI and the AVMA in 2018. This year, the groups hosted networking events at the AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference, the North American Veterinary Conference, the Western Veterinary Conference and the AVMA Convention. Another co-branded networking event is being planned for December at CVC San Diego.
These events allow AVMA leadership to connect with a broad and grass-roots cross-section of the veterinary profession and provide a forum for attendees to hear about AVMA initiatives.
Veterinary technician news
In the veterinary technician arena, the Board agreed to establish the AVMA Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA) Selection Committee. In an effort to model best accreditation practices recently established by the AVMA Council on Education (COE), the CVTEA recommended that the selection process of its members be modified by establishing the selection committee. Under the newly formed committee, the appointment of CVTEA members would be a shared process between the new AVMA CVTEA Selection Committee, the CVTEA, the COE and the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association.
Also, the Board agreed to support the goals of the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) Veterinary Nurse Initiative without taking a position on the use of the title “veterinary nurse.” The goals of the Veterinary Nurse Initiative include the standardizing of credentialing processes requiring the same level of education and competency throughout the United States, and unifying of the credential title to clarify the profession’s role in the veterinary medical team.
The Board also took steps to enhance our relationship with the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) by approving AVMA participation in the group as a member of its Board of Trustees. The AVMA recognized the institute as an organization that is key for veterinary medicine when we joined its steering committee upon the group’s inception seven years ago. The HABRI’s reach and impact has only grown since that time. Founded by the American Pet Products Association, Zoetis and Petco in 2010, the HABRI is a nonprofit research and educational organization that seeks to improve understanding of the human-animal bond, demonstrate the positive health impacts of companion animals, and encourage public policy that makes good human-companion animal relationships easy to form and maintain.
Wrapping things up, we’d like to congratulate the following people who were elected to AVMA volunteer entities. Thank you for your commitment and service to your colleagues and our profession. The entities and those elected are:
- American Board of Veterinary Specialties: Drs. Jill Stetz and Vito Del Vento
- Convention Education Program Committee: Drs. Tam Garland and John Sanders
- Veterinary Leadership Conference Planning Committee: Dr. Jeff Thoren and David Foley