AVMA’s Role in Global Veterinary Activities

Veterinary education. Animal welfare. Food safety and public health. What role should the AVMA play in these areas on a global scale? Do we have an obligation and a responsibility to stay engaged in international issues related to animal and human health? What are the benefits of that engagement? 

These questions – and many more – drove a recent study we conducted that summarizes the AVMA’s current role in global veterinary activities. The report explores the rationale behind our international involvement, and it quantifies the general costs of such engagement, including what is spent in terms of staff resources.

The report, titled “AVMA’s Current Role in Global Veterinary Activities,” concluded that the AVMA is considered by many national and international regulatory and standard-setting organizations, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the World Organization for Animal Health, as both a valued partner and a leader in the global veterinary profession, with particular expertise in the areas of veterinary education, animal health, animal welfare, food safety, public health, aquatic veterinary medicine, emergency preparedness and response, and association building. Efforts to ensure that the U.S. veterinary profession’s voice is heard in the international arena are intimately connected to AVMA’s national efforts to advance its strategic plan. Further, because current AVMA international activities are minimal in terms of overall resources, there is no evidence that the association’s international activities result in any measurable loss of national opportunities. 

The report is the result of a resolution passed by the AVMA House of Delegates in July 2011 that resulted in the Executive Board directing the Office of the Executive Vice President to prepare a comprehensive report summarizing our role in global veterinary activities. With the report complete, we invite you to give it a read and let us know what you think. You can share your thoughts by clicking on the “Leave a Comment” button above.

5 thoughts on “AVMA’s Role in Global Veterinary Activities

  1. @Beth Sabin

    Thank you for the information. I misread the graph. The major question that you left unanswered is, in fact, the most important one. IS THIS WHAT THE AVMA MEMBERSHIP WANTS?

    Unfortunately, there is no real way to know because nobody ever asks.

  2. @Greg Nutt
    Dear Dr. Nutt:
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on international issues. The AVMA House of Delegates will be discussing the Report on the AVMA’s Current Role in Global Veterinary Activities (available at the last link at http://www.avma.org/issues/globalization/default.asp) at its January 2012 meeting, because the report was requested by the House in Resolution 9, which it passed this past July 2011.

    There are a couple items in your December 21st post that may be misinterpreted by other readers, so to ensure that no one thinks the AVMA spends 30 million dollars (which basically comprises the total annual budgeted expenses for the AVMA in 2011 and 2012) on international issues, readers are encouraged to refer to Appendix 11 on page 67 of the full report. The AVMA spent $713,488 on international activities in 2011 and has budgeted $615,918 for international activities in 2012. These amounts represent 2.46% and 2.06% of total AVMA expenses in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Income received from international sources can be found on page 69 in the international income summary table in Appendix 11. International income in 2011 is $566,287 and in 2012, is anticipated at $598,400.

    Given that between 2% and 2.5% of the total AVMA annual budget is spent on international activities, 97.5% to 98% of the total AVMA annual budget will be spent on non-international (or national) activities, to include advocacy, continuing education, marketing, etc.

    The report also takes into account, albeit not in one place, the time staff and volunteers spend on international activities, to include the relative costs for each. This information is available in the full report in the following places:
    • Entities: page 4 (under the section title “AVMA Entities Involved in Global Veterinary Activities”)
    • Staff: pages 4-5 (under “AVMA Volunteer and Staff Positions with International Veterinary Responsibilities staff”), Appendix 6 on pg 43-44
    • Officers: First table in Appendix 11 on page 67. For those officers who receive stipends (President, President-Elect, Vice President, and Board Chair), the table provides the amount of stipend related to international activities, which is based on percentage of time spent on AVMA work that each officer focuses on international activities.

    Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    Dr. Beth Sabin, Assistant Director, Education and Research
    Staff Coordinator for International Affairs

  3. I believe it is important and appropriate for the AVMA to work with other veterinary organizations and health organizations around the world in a collaborative fashion. We should share what knowledge and experience we may have and learn from them in return.

    I do not think it is appropriate for the AVMA to take it upon itself to serve as the global accrediting agency for veterinary education. Not only would this be an arrogant assumption on our part, but the veterinary profession in the United States is in a state of economic crisis, and solving this problem should be the focus of new AVMA activity.

  4. I hope I live for the day when Americans, and the AVMA, mind their own business, and treat everyone else in the world as if they are perfectly responsible adults capable of taking care of themselves and making their own decisions that advance their own strategic plans.

  5. I believe few members would argue the importance of the AVMA’s involvment in global veterinary concerns. I do feel that the “level” of involvment would be arguable in terms of importance to the majority of our dues paying members. I can’t say for sure because there is no easy way to ask all 80,000 right now.

    A few things that stuck with me from reading the report:

    1). There does not seem to be a way to easily quantify the amount of leadership time and effort spent on these efforts. I would imagine it taking quite a bit of time to travel and participate in the many activities listed. Could this time and effort have been spent in a more productive manner back home? Is the benefit of establishing the AVMA as a world veterinary leader greater than the risk of neglecting the many pressing issues that continue to plague our profession here and now?

    2). In terms of income and budgetary percentages, these numbers are failry low. In terms of dollar figures, we are talking around 30 MILLION dollars. Is this the best use of these resources and is this how the membership wants these resources allocated? How much money did the AVMA spend during the same time period for public relations and promotion of our profession to the general public in the U.S.?

    3). Finally, regardless of whether or not this is the right thing to focus our time and resources on, the most important question to me remains to be answered: IS THIS WHAT THE AVMA MEMBERSHIP WANTS?

    How can the AVMA answer this without asking the members of the organization? How can our needs/desires be represented when our leadership does not know what they are?

    How encouraged would the AVMA be by their membership into a world veterinary organization if they had minimal to no voice in the proceedings? I would argue not much. And that is the root of many of our profession’s problems.