November 01, 2003


 AVMA Answers

Posted Oct. 15, 2003

What is the AVMA House Advisory Committee?

Dr. Charles L. Stoltenow,
chair of the House Advisory Committee, responds:

The House Advisory Committee, better known within the AVMA leadership as the HAC, is composed of seven members of the House of Delegates elected by the HOD for three-year terms. The House of Delegates consists of 68 state and allied associations, each represented by a delegate and alternate delegate. One of the purposes of the HAC is to assist the House of Delegates in conducting business. Each of the member associations conducts business its own way, and the HAC provides leadership in bringing these, many times, diverse groups together in an organized and efficient manner.

What are the other duties of the HAC?

The HAC is charged in the AVMA Bylaws with considering all developments relating to veterinary medicine from a long-range point of view, and making recommendations to the House of Delegates and the Executive Board on how the profession can respond to these developments. The HAC assists the HOD in conducting business by making a detailed study of the reports from the councils and special committees of the AVMA, and provides recommendations to the HOD on the contents of those reports. In addition, the HAC reviews and approves the credentials of candidates for AVMA president, president-elect, vice president, councils, and the House Advisory Committee itself. Finally, through the position of the chair, the HAC serves as the voice of the House of Delegates to the Executive Board.

Since the House Advisory Committee is charged with the long-range point of view, what do you see in the veterinary profession's future?

I see adversity and opportunity all wrapped together. There are multitudes of issues present and pending, including animal welfare, pet ownership vs. pet guardianship, bioterrorism, economic viability of the profession, legislative matters at the state and federal level, Internet pharmacies, and not-for-profit clinics, to name a few.

The crux of the matter is engagement by the members of the profession in the issues. The profession has the expertise and ability to deal with the issues presented to it. It is important for all veterinarians to be engaged locally, and just as important, nationally, through the state and allied associations. The House of Delegates represents every veterinarian at the national level. The alternates and delegates within the HOD work diligently to make the correct decisions for the overall welfare of the profession. They receive their direction from their constituent veterinarians engaged in the state and allied associations.

The veterinary profession has the opportunity to define its own future. The aforementioned issues will require the best minds and intent, but even more important, they will require veterinarians to be involved and working together to solve the issues. We all need to become fully engaged in our profession.