The AVMA Executive Board examined several AVMA policies during its June meeting, including ones related to scientific testing activities, disciplinary procedures, and promoting rabies awareness.
In addition, the board approved allowing three Council on Education members, one representative of the Canadian National Examining Board, and one AVMA staff member to travel to Mexico to conduct a comprehensive site visit at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia. The team will be joined by two representatives from an appropriate licensing body or veterinary association in Mexico. The board granted the travel request by the COE to examine the school's program as a step toward accreditation. The site visit is anticipated for November.
AVMA officials first visited the school informally in March 2001, though discussions with the school originated years before.
The COE grants accreditation status to foreign schools and colleges of veterinary medicine on the basis of compliance with 11 standards of accreditation. Foreign colleges are required to undergo a preliminary or consultative site visit to determine their preparedness for a comprehensive site visit and are required to correct all deficiencies identified by the consultative site team before requesting a comprehensive site visit. The COE made a consultative visit to UNAM in spring 2006.
The board considered a number of other recommendations. They are as follows:
- The "Rules of Disciplinary Procedure of the Judicial Council" were extensively revised. The rules had not been reviewed since the AVMA adopted its Bylaws in 2006. Wording was added, for example, that a complaint brought on behalf of the Association may only be initiated by the board, Board of Governors, or the Executive Vice President. The document now states the person complained against may file a written response with the secretary of the Judicial Council within 30 days, and if the respondent does not file a reply in that time, the charges may be addressed as uncontested. Also, the policy was revised to address how the council should proceed if it makes a preliminary determination that includes disciplinary action; no direction had existed before.
- For the third year in a row, the AVMA will participate in World Rabies Day. The board approved a recommendation by the Council on Public Health and Regulatory Veterinary Medicine for continued partnership with the Alliance for Rabies Control. Organizers of World Rabies Day, which will take place Sept. 28, hope to lower the infection rate by raising worldwide awareness of the zoonotic disease, its prevention, and methods to combat reservoirs of the virus in animal populations. AVMA staff will help develop educational materials and facilitate distribution of World Rabies Day materials. Kansas State University's student chapter of the AVMA won first place in a competition involving events for World Rabies Day 2008. The K-State campus will be the site of a full-day rabies symposium this year, which is set for Sept. 19.
- The AVMA policy on the LD50 test, an assay used in scientific and toxicologic research, was rescinded. The Council on Research made the recommendation, which was supported by the Animal Welfare Committee. Both entities expressed the sentiment that the Association already has a broad-based policy on use of animals in any type of research or testing environment. The old LD50 policy was adopted more than 15 years ago.
- The AVMA policy "Comparative Medicine Program" was revised. The COR-recommended changes reflect recognition of the recent National Center for Research Resources strategic plan and the fact that there is no single comparative medicine program administered through the NCRR of the National Institutes of Health, but rather, a division of comparative medicine within the NCRR that administers programs and training opportunities applicable to veterinarians. The name of the policy now reads "AVMA Support of Comparative Medicine Programs at the National Center for Research Resources of the National Institutes of Health."
- The criteria for the AVMA Practitioner Research Award were changed to reflect current veterinary workforce practices and streamline the nomination procedure. The revisions clarify that the nominee need not currently be in private practice and that the award recognizes not lifetime achievement, but rather, research achievement connected to private practice that ultimately leads to advancements in the veterinary profession. The COR made the recommendation in the hopes that the revisions would increase nominations, which have been dwindling in recent years.
- The AVMA "Guidelines for Referrals" was revised on recommendation from the Judicial Council. The revision was to strike the sentence "Referral to a person who is not a licensed veterinarian does not transfer the responsibility for diagnosis and treatment from the referring veterinarian," because it was deemed confusing and contradictory to other definitions in the policy.
- The "AVMA Policy on Prevention and Resolution of Grievances" was revised. The policy will now be titled "Promoting Professionalism and Ethical Behavior" to give it a more positive title and connotation, according to the background of the Judicial Council's recommendation. Also, some outdated language was replaced.
- The Peer Review Procedure Manual was reaffirmed. The Council on Veterinary Service recommended the action after reviewing the document. Adopted by the AVMA House of Delegates in 2000, it is a model for state, local, and allied associations to establish a uniform method for responding to grievances.