July 15, 2008


 Projects, policies approved

Fiscal prudence guides Executive Board 

By Susan C. Kahler
Posted July 1, 2008

The Executive Board kept its sights on the AVMA's fiscal state while moving forward with several projects during its June 5-6 meeting, chaired by Dr. Larry R. Corry of District IV. Among the funded items were new steps in the one-health initiative (see page 209), animal welfare advocacy activities (see page 209), and the international campaign Vet 2011 (see page 208).

AVMA treasurer, Dr. Bret D. Marsh, updated the board on Association finances, saying the overall fiscal situation is being monitored. The AVMA is looking at ways to conserve on the expense side and "shore up" the income side, he noted.

Expenditures approved by the board in June were $74,350 from the contingency fund and $1,016,000 from the reserves, including $106,000 from the earmarked Strategic Goal Fund. The board created this $1 million fund in April to finance tactical plans and programs directly related to the AVMA strategic goals.

The meeting began with the introduction of Dr. Karen E. Felsted, a veterinarian and certified public accountant, as the new chief executive officer of the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues, effective June 25.

Dr. Felsted brings the NCVEI more than 15 years' experience in consulting with veterinary practices and animal health companies on business issues.

"There's never been a time when it's been more important to focus on the economic vitality of the veterinary profession," Dr. Felsted said. 

Stipends and reimbursements

A task force assisted by a consultant has been reviewing AVMA policies on stipends and reimbursements for officers and Executive Board members, comparing them with those of similar associations. The board received the consultant's report and approved the task force recommendation to maintain the current $50,000 annual stipends for the president and president-elect, and the $5,000 stipend for the board chair, through July 16, 2013.

The board disapproved the task force recommendation to eliminate the stipends thereafter and to adopt a travel and reimbursement policy it developed. Instead, the board created a task force to define the future roles and expectations for AVMA officers and board members. As recommended by Drs. Joe Kinnarney, District III, and Ted J. Cohn, District IX, the Task Force on Future Roles and Expectations will conduct a strategic evaluation that addresses the increasing time, travel, and financial commitments being asked of these volunteer leaders. One consideration will be indications that veterinary students and faculty desire even greater AVMA representation and involvement in some of their activities.

The board approved the House Advisory Committee's recommendation to reimburse delegates and alternate delegates for up to three nights' hotel expenses for the regular annual session and for the regular winter session of the House of Delegates, replacing the $500 stipends. The HAC believes this policy provides a fair sharing of costs between the AVMA and the principal and constituent allied organizations. Also, AVMA Treasurer Marsh noted this new approach will help with budgeting. 

Foreign graduate assessment

AVMA participation in a joint task force to be formed on foreign veterinary graduate equivalence was approved, as recommended by Drs. Gregory S. Hammer, AVMA president, and James O. Cook, president-elect. Funding of $6,500 was included. Creation of a Foreign Veterinary Graduate Equivalence Task Force is the next step in discussions by the AVMA and American Association of Veterinary State Boards to determine the feasibility and framework for creating a single, independent program to assess veterinary educational equivalence among graduates of colleges that are AVMA-accredited and those that are not.

To address workload concerns, the board approved adding an at-large position to the AVMA Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates. To ensure an efficient process and continuity of representation and experience, the board approved staggering terms of new members appointed in 2009. 

Desirable legislation

As recommended by the AVMA Legislative Advisory Committee, the board approved supporting H.R. 3859, Chronic Wasting Disease Support for States Act, and H.R. 4455, Wildlife Without Borders Authorization Act.

The CWD bill would support research by state departments of wildlife and agriculture, colleges and universities, and related research entities on the causes of CWD, control methods for deer and elk herds, incidence monitoring, and additional state control efforts.

The wildlife bill would authorize the Interior secretary to provide international wildlife management and conservation programs through the Wildlife Without Borders Program in the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. 

Advising proposed specialties

The board approved funding and travel for one meeting a year each for up to four proposed new veterinary specialty organizations with a liaison representative from the AVMA American Board of Veterinary Specialties. The cost could total $4,000. This will enable the ABVS to provide in-depth guidance early in the developmental process to groups that submit a letter of intent to establish a recognized specialty organization. 

Nurturing practitioner research

To encourage more nominations of deserving candidates for the prestigious AVMA Practitioner Research Award, the board approved simplifying the nominating procedure. Later this year, the AVMA will invite nominations for this and other awards by Feb. 1, 2009. The recipient will be selected by the Council on Research. 

Working relationship with NAVTA

To continue strengthening the AVMA's relationship with the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America, the board approved attendance by the NAVTA president or designee at one AVMA board meeting a year, at their expense.

Proposed bylaw amendment, 2008 resolutions

The board approved recommending House of Delegates approval this July of a proposed AVMA Bylaws amendment that would permit the election of council members not only at the regular annual session but also during the regular winter session.

Of the 15 resolutions submitted for HOD consideration in July, the board recommended approval of the following eight: Resolution 2, Veterinary Staffing of USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service; Resolution 3, Funding for Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank; Resolution 4, Increased Involvement with Veterinary Students; Resolution 6, Model Certificate of Veterinary Inspection; Resolution 7, Drug Compounding of Unapproved Mimics; Resolution 8, Livestock Identification; Resolution 9, One Health Initiative; and Resolution 11, Make It a Legislative Priority for Veterinarians To Receive Equitable Pay in Public Practice Compared to Other Health Professions.

The board recommended disapproval of the following six resolutions: Resolution 1, AVMA Eliminate the Position of Vice President; Resolution 5, Student Affairs Division; Resolution 10, Promotion of Research on Canine Influenza; Resolution 12, Adopt Equal Pay for Equal Work for Veterinarians and Physicians as Part of the Mandate of the One Health Initiative; Resolution 13, Commission the NCVEI To Study and Address Economic Issues Impacting Veterinarians in Public Practice and Academia; and Resolution 15, Amend Policy on Antimicrobials in Livestock Feeds.

The board recommended that the HOD refer Resolution 14, Position Statement on Confinement of Calves Raised for Veal, to the Animal Welfare Committee. 


To clarify the appointment process, the board approved a revised protocol.

Then, the board named the following veterinarians to the entities indicated, representing the designated areas. They will begin serving at the conclusion of the HOD session July 19. The duration of terms varies. Animal Welfare Committee: Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges—Dr. Patricia V. Turner, Guelph, Ontario, Canada; American Society of Laboratory Animal Practitioners—Dr. Wendy J. Underwood, Carthage, Ind.; ASLAP, alternate, to a 2-year, unexpired term—Dr. Susan B. Harper, Shepherdstown, W.Va. Aquatic Veterinary Medicine Committee: private clinical practicecompanion aquatic animal—Dr. Jena F. Questen, Centennial, Colo. Clinical Practitioners Advisory Committee: zoo and wildlife, alternate—Dr. Peregrine L. Wolff, Corvallis, Ore; American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners, alternate—Dr. Russel L. Hunter, Astoria, Ore. Council on Education, Candidate Qualification Review Committee: Executive Board—Dr. Douglas G. Aspros, White Plains, N.Y.; House of Delegates—Dr. Walter R. Threlfall, Powell, Ohio. Committee on Disaster and Emergency Issues: equine medicine—Dr. Jennifer A. Brown, Leesburg, Va. Committee on Environmental Issues: veterinary toxicology—Dr. Robert Poppenga, Davis, Calif.; Governance Performance Review Committee: AVMA committees—Dr. Lawrence D. McGill, Salt Lake City. Member Services Committee: industry, exclusive—Dr. Todd L. Towell, Erie, Colo. AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference Planning Committee: recent graduates—Dr. Abigail J. Risius, Eldridge, Iowa; Executive Board—Dr. Ted J. Cohn, Lone Tree, Colo. 

AVMA officer elections

In accordance with the AVMA Bylaws, the board approved re-electing the following officers for one year—Drs. Ron DeHaven, executive vice president and chief executive officer; Lyle P. Vogel, assistant executive vice president; and Bret D. Marsh, treasurer. Their new terms begin at the close of the 2008 regular annual session of the HOD.

WVA councilor nomination

Dr. James E. Nave, Las Vegas, is being nominated by the AVMA for re-election as a North American councillor to the World Veterinary Association.

Headquarters renovations

The board approved two projects for needed expansion and renovations at AVMA headquarters for a total of $860,000 from the AVMA reserves.