AVMA membership has great value for the individual member, the Association and the entire veterinary profession. It is the collective strength of 86 percent of active U.S. veterinarians belonging to the AVMA that allows our Association to help members to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively, while at the same time strengthening the profession.
It is this commitment of our members that positions the AVMA as the authorized voice for the veterinary profession, allowing our Association to continue its public outreach efforts, which continually reinforce the positive perception of veterinarians. This is tremendously valuable to our members.
AVMA membership dues play a vital role in creating a financially strong organization that is able to provide a variety of benefits to its members. Many of these benefits can be easily identified or realized, including a complimentary subscription to either JAVMA or AJVR, a complimentary AVMA Membership Directory and Resource Manual, and access to the members-only section of the AVMA Web site, www.avma.org, and to the Veterinary Career Center, AVMA's online, job placement service. The Veterinary Career Center on the Web site allows members to view job opportunities and apply for jobs online. Another benefit of membership is the AVMA Annual Convention; this year's in Philadelphia, July 24-28, will offer more than 900 hours of continuing education. Other membership benefits are deep discounts on products and services offered by the AVMA, health and business insurance coverage through GHLIT and PLIT, and affinity programs, such as the AVMA/MBNA credit card and credit-card processing services.
In addition, AVMA membership provides its members with a strong voice to influence legislation and regulations that have an impact on the veterinary profession, or in other words, advocacy. This membership benefit is sometimes not as easily recognized as other benefits. But without our members paying membership dues every year, the AVMA Governmental Relations Division staff and AVMA's Legislative Advisory Committee would not have the resources to advocate on behalf of AVMA members and the profession. Some recent legislative victories include the passage of the National Veterinary Medical Services Act, which authorizes the Department of Agriculture to provide student loan repayments for veterinary school graduates who agree to work in underserved areas of the country, and the Animal Drug User Fee Act, which allows the Food and Drug Administration to collect user fees from pharmaceutical companies to provide training for additional scientific reviewers, which will accelerate the review process for new animal drugs.
I feel that another great benefit of AVMA membership is the opportunity members have to become involved with their Association as volunteers, as members of committees or councils, or in some other capacity. I think most of our members who have served in a volunteer capacity at the AVMA would tell you their membership experience had been enhanced, and their pride in the profession increased, by volunteering. As a result, the value of membership is increased as well.