June 01, 2004


 Food supply veterinary initiatives to move forward

 Board approves benchmarking tools, research programs

 Posted May 15, 2004

Development of food animal benchmarking tools and a comprehensive study of food supply veterinary professionals will be set in motion as a result of funding approved by the Executive Board in April.

As recommended by three AVMA officers and the board chair, the AVMA will provide $150,000 for the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues to develop benchmarking tools for food animal practitioners.

Successful tools previously created for companion animal and equine veterinarians will be the models. The NCVEI will draw expertise from veterinarians, consultants, and managers in the various food animal areas to ensure that the tools will be practical, easy to use, and valued by participants. Tools will be customized for bovine (dairy), bovine (beef), other ruminant species, and swine.

Executive Board Chair Joe M. Howell, President Jack O. Walther, President-elect Bonnie Beaver, and Vice President Thomas Kendall submitted the recommendation.

In a related action, the board approved $6,000 in funding for a program at the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine aimed at increasing the use of the NCVEI Web site. Board member, Dr. James Cook (District V), made the recommendation.

With the funding, the MSU veterinary students club, the Veterinary Practice Builders Association, will conduct a project similar to the pilot project the board funded last year for students at Iowa State University. Veterinary students teach practitioners and office managers to use NCVEI online analytic tools. The tools, referred to as the Exam Room at www.ncvei.org, provide users with feedback on how their practice compares with similar ones. Less than 22 percent of the practices in Michigan have used the NCVEI tools.

Two comprehensive research programs on food supply veterinary professionals in the United States and Canada will be conducted, now that the final third of funding has been committed for the $300,000 project. Joining contributions already pledged by industry and several species groups, the Executive Board approved $100,000 in AVMA funds for a project initiated by the Food Animal Summit Task Force.

The first part of the study will address the demand for food supply veterinary professionals. The second will assess student recruitment, student selection, and retention of students and veterinarians.

FASTF is a coalition of veterinary organizations interested in food supply veterinary medicine—the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners, American Association of Swine Veterinarians, Academy of Veterinary Consultants, Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, and AVMA.

From industry, Bayer Animal Health pledged $100,000 for the study. Another $100,000 was committed by the AABP ($50,000), AASV ($40,000), and AAVMC ($10,000).

Dr. James Jarrett, AABP executive director, was present in April when the AVMA Executive Board approved the AVMA contribution. "On behalf of all food supply veterinarians, I thank you for this decision," he said. He noted that one of the keys to success of the project would be people's willingness to provide requested input.

FASTF previously announced it has selected David M. Andrus, PhD, and his group from the College of Business Administration at Kansas State University to perform the study and make subsequent recommendations. At press time, the funding groups were scheduled to meet with Dr. Andrus in May. The researchers expect to complete the project within a year of its start.

In April, the board also approved AVMA membership in the coalition, in accordance with an organizational agreement that has been developed. And, on recommendation of the AABP, AASRP, and AASV, the AVMA Executive Board chair will appoint two persons to represent the Association on the coalition committee supervising the research study.