Pilot panels: Working to provide more member volunteer opportunities

VolunteerOpps_250x250pxlYou may already be aware of the AVMA’s Strategy Management Process and our ongoing efforts to become more nimble, proactive and responsive regarding veterinary professional issues and the needs of our members. As a part of this process, we are developing an advisory panel pilot program and want to keep you apprised.

The hundreds of volunteers who serve on AVMA councils, committees and task forces are the real workhorses of our organization, and their collective expertise and effort have shaped the organization for 150 years. However, we have consistently had trouble filling vacancies on committees and councils. For example, since January 2014, we have had 113 committee/council vacancies, and 78 of them had one or no nominees. The most common reason we’ve heard from members to explain their reluctance to serve has been the time commitment required for existing entity participation.

We need to provide more opportunities with high value but with less time commitment. This new program is expected to provide that. In addition, we expect the advisory panel model to streamline processes and improve the overall efficiency and efficacy of our volunteer leadership.

The pilot program is still in development, and there are many details that must still be worked out. We expect this to be a learning and refining process.  Throughout the process, we plan to continually evaluate the program.

The model is most applicable to those groups involved in professional policy development and advocacy. Two advisory panels – a Practice Advisory Panel and a Regulatory Advisory Panel – and their associated systems will comprise the pilot program and will incorporate the councils and committees currently affiliated with the AVMA’s Scientific Activities Division. These entities are the Animal Agriculture Liaison Committee, Aquatic Veterinary Medicine Committee, Committee on Disaster and Emergency Issues, Committee on Environmental Issues, Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents/Clinical Practitioners Advisory Committee, Council on Public Health and Regulatory Veterinary Medicine, Council on Veterinary Service and the Food Safety Advisory Committee. The program will not affect any council or committee member’s term of service during the pilot.

The advisory panel model is intended to provide more opportunities for members to participate in the association, but with a lower time commitment, through the formation of a large pool of “busy experts and professionals.” Instead of committing to the several-year term required for council or committee participation, you can declare your expertise and interests and be given the opportunity to serve as members of short-term, ad hoc working groups that will address issues relevant to the profession. You’ll also have the choice to opt out if the time is not right for you to participate. We’ve already implemented similar ad hoc groups and they’ve been very effective.

We plan to implement the pilot program with the 2015-16 association year, which begins in July 2015. The program is still in development, and we will keep you informed of its status and progress through our regular communications channels – including the AVMA@Work blog.

2 thoughts on “Pilot panels: Working to provide more member volunteer opportunities

  1. I just retired after founding and owning a five vet practice in Oregon. I am seeking a way to give back, in my own little way, to the profession that always made me feel like a knight at the Round Table! Please keep in informed. Thanks. jill

    • I can’t tell you how happy that makes me to read that, Dr. Hanson! We’re still developing plans for how we’ll gather info from the pool of experts/professionals, but in the meantime, I’ve got one or two things cooking right now that might interest you. Could you please email me at kmay@avma.org, and I’ll let you know what they are in case they interest you?