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
AVMA membership exceeded a record of 91,000 this year, and three out of every four U.S. veterinarians are members. So, for those who are already AVMA members, thank you! For those who are not, we invite you to join your national veterinary organization, which serves the needs of our entire diverse profession.
The latest AVMA Performance Survey shows that satisfaction is up and more AVMA members are recommending that other veterinarians join their national association. With that in mind, we are setting our sights on growing our association to 95,000 members by 2019.
News like this, which was shared with the AVMA Board of Directors during its meeting April 5-6, keeps your volunteer and staff leadership energized and inspired. It is our job to ensure that our members’ needs are met as we work to protect, promote and advance veterinarians and the veterinary profession.
Here are some meeting highlights focused on actions we took to better serve you and the veterinary profession.
A new AVMA website
The Board approved funding for a digital agency to assist the AVMA with a full redesign of the AVMA.org website, helping us advance our digital experiences to meet our members’ needs and expectations. The project has just started and we anticipate launching the new website later in 2019.
Care to underserved populations
You may recall that the AVMA House of Delegates (HOD) hosted a Veterinary Information Forum in January and asked that AVMA staff collect information from state veterinary medical associations and other organizations about the provision of veterinary care to underserved populations. As a follow-up to that request, the AVMA is seeking input from our members and several stakeholder groups, including state VMAs, animal welfare organizations, veterinary medical colleges and others, about existing programs and practices that deliver care to a variety of underserved populations. We anticipate sharing these findings with our HOD and AVMA members in January 2019. Additional collaborative efforts will then lead to the development and sharing of best practices for those access-to-care models that depend on coordination between veterinary hospitals and animal welfare organizations.
Many volunteer experts and AVMA staff have been hard at work on the AVMA Guidelines for the Depopulation of Animals: 2018 Edition. This will be the third product in the AVMA’s Humane Endings series, joining the Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals and the Guidelines for the Humane Slaughter of Animals. The depopulation guidelines, funded through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, support advance planning by facilities to maximize their opportunity to use the best possible technique when depopulation is required during emergency situations only and when options are often highly constrained. With Board approval of the guidelines coming during our meeting, the report is now undergoing editorial review and formatting before publication in the coming months.
The Board also approved the AVMA submitting a bid to host the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) World Congress as part of the 2022 AVMA Annual Convention in Philadelphia. The AVMA will submit a bid to the organization as a candidate to be the host committee for the WSAVA meetings.
Recognition, sponsorships, policies
In other actions, the Board approved:
- Full recognition for the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation
- Full recognition for the Exotic Companion Mammal recognized veterinary specialty within the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners
- Sponsorship of the 2018 International Association of Aquatic Animal Medicine Conference
- Sponsorship of the 2018 Annual Conference of the American Association of Fish Veterinarians
The Board also acted on several policies submitted by many of our volunteer entities. One policy, the policy on Canine Devocalization, was referred to the AVMA House of Delegates for consideration at its July meeting. The Board referred the devocalization policy to the House with no recommendation.
Wrapping things up, we’d like to congratulate the following people who were elected to AVMA volunteer positions. Thank you for your commitment and service to your colleagues and our profession. The entities and those elected are:
- Animal Welfare Committee: Drs. Jodi Wiktorowski, Clara Mason, Nora Grenager, Jennifer Graham and Kevin Lewis
- Aquatic Veterinary Medicine Committee: Drs. Jay Sweeney, Christine Richey, Timothy Kniffen and Mr. Rodman Getchell
- Pan American Association of Veterinary Sciences Directive Council (AVMA liaison position): Dr. Carmen Fuentealba
- World Small Animal Veterinary Association (AVMA liaison position): Dr. Julie Stafford
- Clinical Practitioners Advisory Committee: Drs. Laura Niman and Megan Lighty
- Committee on Antimicrobials: Drs. Randall Singer, Hector Cervantes, Janet Whaley and Patricia Gaunt
- Committee on Disaster and Emergency Issues: Drs. Michael Parker and Peter Mundschenk
- Committee on Environmental Issues: Drs. Mark Starr, Camille Fischer, Judy Marteniuk, Clayton Johnson, Terry Ryan Kane and Clayton Hilton
- Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities: Drs. Seyedmehdi Mobini, Jennifer Asher and Lawrence Kosmin
- Convention Education Program Committee: Dr. Ivan Alvarado
- Early Career Development Committee: Drs. Gillian Angliss Glaser and Stacey Piotrowski
- Food Safety Advisory Committee: Drs. Signe Balch, Joan Rowe, William Mc Beth and Kerry Collins
- Legislative Advisory Committee: Drs. Suzanne Dougherty, James Zeliff, Brad Tanner, Elizabeth Nunamaker and Donna Clemons
- Political Action Committee Board: Dr. Timothy Montgomery and Ms. Bridget Heilsberg
- State Advocacy Committee: Dr. Derine Winning, Ms. Candace Joy and Mr. Scott Piper
- Steering Committee on Human-Animal Interactions: Dr. Thomas Catanzaro
- Veterinary Economics Strategy Committee: Drs. Amy Grice, Amanda Price and Peter Weinstein