June 01, 2009


 Many faces, one profession

Posted May 16, 2009

Member Services Committee
Left to right: Dr. Robert A. Dietl, Dr. Scott T. Aoki, Dr. Lawrence D. McGill, Dr. Todd L. Towell, Dr. Wade A. Northington,
Dr. Grace F. Bransford, Dr. Marianne P. Ross, Virginia R. Kiefer, Dr. Arthur Freeman, and Dr. R. Tracy Rhodes;
not shown: Drs. Byron J.S. de la Navarre and Kira A. Christian

Member Services Committee 

Charge/mission: The purpose of the committee is to enhance the ability of the AVMA to advance the veterinary profession and to address the diversity and economic condition of the profession. 

Dr. Robert A. Dietl (MIN '66), chair, Woodlake Veterinary Hospital, Richfield, Minn.; representing private clinical practice, practice owner
Dr. Byron J.S. de la Navarre (COR '90), Animal House of Chicago; representing private clinical practice
Dr. Wade A. Northington (AUB '72), Murray State University, Hopkinsville, Ky.; representing academic veterinary medicine
Dr. Lawrence D. McGill (OKL '68), ARUP Laboratories, Salt Lake City; representing board-certified specialists
Dr. Arthur Freeman (OSU '55), Indianapolis; representing honor roll members
Dr. Todd L. Towell (VMR '90), Hill's Pet Nutrition, Erie, Colo.; representing industry-exclusive veterinarians
Dr. Marianne P. Ross (VMR '92), Food and Drug Administration Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition; representing nonacademic, public-sector veterinarians
Dr. Grace F. Bransford (CAL '98), Ross Valley Veterinary Hospital, San Anselmo, Calif.; representing private clinical practice
Dr. R. Tracy Rhodes (COL '60), Buffalo, Wyo.; representing private clinical practice, predominantly food animal
Dr. Scott T. Aoki (CAL '06), Harvard Medical School; representing recent graduates
Dr. Kira A. Christian (MSU '05), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; representing recent graduates
Virginia R. Kiefer (TEN '10), University of Tennessee; representing Student AVMA officer or delegate

What current project are you most excited about?
Barbara Baldwin, the interim director of the AVMA Membership and Field Services Division, said the Member Services Committee plans to use the AVMA Web site to increase the accessibility and amount of content for members on wellness and diversity issues.

A recent meaningful accomplishment:
The MSC has been reviewing member data more actively to identify trends, Baldwin said. As the committee notes changing demographics of AVMA members and the veterinary profession, it is able to make proactive and strategic policy recommendations to the Executive Board.

How is your entity addressing the profession's pressing issues?
Baldwin said the MSC annually awards stipends for 15 externships that expose veterinary students to nontraditional or underserved areas of veterinary medicine, with five of the externships in food animal medicine.

How is the entity addressing the strategic or operational goals of the AVMA?
Dr. Robert A. Dietl, committee chair, said the MSC helps address the AVMA critical issues of veterinary workforce, economic viability, and veterinary education.

"We do this by evaluating membership benefits and policies and by promoting diversity and mentorship," Dr. Dietl said. "We promote wellness to the profession and serve as advocates on student issues." 

Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates
Left to right: Drs. Jan C. Hines, Dirk Hanson, Phillip D. Nelson, Nathan D. Voris, James V. Corte, Donald A. Prater, Peter B. Fretz, and Philip A. Bushby

Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates

Charge/mission: The ECVFG evaluates the professional competence of graduates of foreign colleges of veterinary medicine.

Dr. James V. Corte (ROS '98), chair, Fairhope Animal Clinic, Fairhope, Ala.; representing clinical practitioners holding an ECFVG certificate
Dr. Phillip D. Nelson (TUS '79), Western University of Health Sciences; representing Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges
Dr. Peter B. Fretz (UP '70), University of Saskatchewan; representing Canadian National Examining Board
Dr. Philip A. Bushby (IL '72), Mississippi State University; representing Clinical Proficiency Examination site coordinators (nonvoting liaison position)
Dr. Nathan D. Voris (MO '99), Equine Medical Services, Columbia, Mo.; representing AVMA Council on Education
Dr. Donald A. Prater (VMR '96), Food and Drug Administration Center for Veterinary Medicine; representing government service
Dr. Dirk Hanson (KSU '78), Kansas Board of Veterinary Examiners, Wamego; representing senior administrative executives of state veterinary licensing boards
Dr. Jan C. Hines (GA '66), Alpharetta Animal Hospital, Alpharetta, Ga.; representing veterinary members of state veterinary licensing boards

What current project are you most excited about?
Dr. Beth Sabin, an assistant director of the AVMA Education and Research Division, said one of the commission's major projects is the ongoing quality assurance process to enhance the examinations that are part of the ECFVG certification program for foreign veterinary graduates. The examinations are the multiple-choice, computer-based Basic and Clinical Sciences Examination and the performance-based, hands-on Clinical Proficiency Examination.

A recent meaningful accomplishment:
Creating a new, ECFVG-specific Basic and Clinical Sciences Examination required several years of intense development, Dr. Sabin said. The commission first administered the examination in July 2007.

"The ECFVG worked closely with our testing vendor, Prometric, and sought expertise from many, many veterinarians throughout the development process," Dr. Sabin said. "It is a good examination and has performed well in the certification program."

How is your entity addressing the profession's pressing issues?
Dr. Sabin said the ECFVG certified more than 1,000 foreign veterinary graduates in the past three years, helping to address shortages in the veterinary workforce and increase the diversity of the profession in the United States.

How is the entity addressing the strategic or operational goals of the AVMA?
Dr. James V. Corte, ECFVG chair, said the commission helps maintain one of the AVMA's core competencies, setting and preserving the standards of the profession.

"The ECFVG program is the gold standard for evaluating the equivalency of graduates of nonaccredited veterinary schools," Dr. Corte said. "The ECFVG is constantly working to improve and streamline our program without losing any quality in our certificate holders."