Governance of the AVMA, and the Report of the Task Force on Governance and Member Participation (FAQ)

Q: What is the history of the Task Force?
A: The Task Force was appointed by the Executive Board at the request of the House of Delegates. Its report built on the findings of the AVMA 20/20 Commission, which concluded in 2011 that the association does not have the system in place to adequately lead the veterinary profession into the new century.

Q: What’s the proposed new governance system?
A: You’ll need to read the report to get the full grasp of the system, but here’s a condensed version.  Four primary group types which serve as the pillars of the governance system:
  • Veterinary Issues Forum – this is the gathering place for interested stakeholders, such as state and allied veterinary groups, to engage with AVMA leadership in environmental scanning and issue development. 
  • Board of Directors – this is the entity that manages the affairs of the association, with fiduciary duty, management responsibility, and policy authority.
  • Advisory Councils – these groups study issues, make policy recommendations to the Board of Directors and support the AVMA’s core strategic areas, which include Economics and Practice; Animal Welfare and Ethics; Education; Governmental and External Relations; Scientific Activities; and Membership and Governance.
  • Volunteer Resources Committee – this group serves as the “human resources” department of AVMA’s volunteer leadership by helping to identify and recruit the best candidates for various leadership positions including Board of Directors and Advisory Councils.
Q: How will this system differ from AVMA’s current governance system?
A: The task force designed this system to make the association more effective, efficient and responsive to its membership and key stakeholders. Compared to the current representative system, the task force feels this new system is streamlined and more focused. It provides for fewer formal entities but more flexibility in addressing specific issues.

Q: How will this system help members?
A: The primary goal of this new governance system is to make the association more responsive to our membership and key stakeholders. It provides members with increased voting power while retaining an important voice for their respective veterinary organizations. The proposed system will also create more opportunities for members to become involved as volunteers in ways that better suit them than the multiple-year commitment currently required for committees and councils.

Q: Is this a done deal? Is it too late for member feedback now that the report is complete?
A: Although the report has been submitted and the task force has been sunset, we’re really just beginning in many ways. At this time, it’s only a structure on paper and in thought. We need to take that written system and develop a strategy and plan to turn the written version into a living, breathing governance system. The Task Force’s report provides the vision and basic structure and principles, but we are seeking your input on the specifics.

Q: What are the next steps?
A: A team of member volunteers, the Governance Engagement Team (GET), has been appointed to engage members about the system proposed in the report. This group will solicit feedback from members and leadership, consider additional details and changes, and submit its recommendation to the Executive Board. The House of Delegates received the task force’s report and will be discussing the report at its meeting in July 2013, although the discussion will be just for understanding and initial feedback. No vote will be taken.

Q: How can members provide feedback/comments?
A: Members can comment on the thread on our NOAH online discussion groups, or can email their comments directly to

Q: When will the new governance system be in place? Will it happen at once, or in stages?
A: A gradual transition of a few years after final approval is envisioned. Current members of leadership will likely populate many of the newly-created positions initially.