September 15, 2009


 Strategic staffing

Executive Office additions part and parcel of AVMA master plan

Posted Sept. 1, 2009

In its pivotal role of advancing the AVMA Strategic Plan, the Office of the Executive Vice President stands to benefit from several recent staff acquisitions. 

Foremost, Dr. Elizabeth Curry-Galvin was appointed AVMA assistant executive vice president by CEO and executive vice president, Dr. W. Ron DeHaven. The Executive Board approved her appointment, effective Sept. 8, the date her predecessor and mentor, Dr. Lyle P. Vogel, retired from staff. 

Dr. Elizabeth Curry-Galvin
Dr. Elizabeth Curry-Galvin

Dr. Lyle P. Vogel
Dr. Lyle P. Vogel

In her new role, Dr. Curry-Galvin said she will continue working diligently to enhance the AVMA's position at the forefront of veterinary medicine by implementing the Association's strategic goals.

"The goals represent the marriage of grassroots member input with leadership's identification of priorities," she said. "I will help Dr. DeHaven and fellow AVMA staff to implement the current goals and continually nurture the strategic planning process."

Dr. Vogel said, "It was really a shift in the function of this office when Dr. DeHaven came and led us to focus on the strategic plan—to actually look at the goals and develop objectives, and more important, to document and track the tactics necessary to meet those goals.

"This office is still concerned with governance, but it has gone on to become a facilitator, guide, leader, and mentor for staff and volunteers working toward accomplishment of the AVMA's strategic goals."

Jodie Taggett came to the OEVP as the AVMA's first corporate relations director in June (see JAVMA, Aug. 1, 2009). The Executive Board created the position as the primary point of contact for the development, coordination, and management of relationships between the AVMA and commercial partners.

Isham Jones joined the OEVP staff Aug. 24 in the newly created general counsel position. Jones will manage and conduct the Association's legal activities, providing guidance on governance and corporate issues and managing litigation and legal strategies.

Dr. Beth Sabin, assistant director of the Education and Research Division, assumed the additional duty in the OEVP of staff coordinator for international affairs in April when the Executive Board approved creation of this role.

Dr. DeHaven said, "We have a fantastic leadership team in the OEVP, and I'm proud of the progress we are making to strategically position AVMA and our profession to meet the challenges we are facing in the future.

"Dr. Vogel's contributions to AVMA have been huge and we hate to see him leave—it has been a pleasure to work with him. With his international experience, Dr. Vogel will continue to serve us well as the AVMA's councilor to the World Veterinary Association. With her breadth of experience and many talents, I know that Dr. Curry-Galvin is a fantastic addition to the OEVP as our new assistant executive vice president."

Dr. DeHaven added, "With our team of new and existing staff, combined with fantastic leadership on our Executive Board and our many volunteers, I feel very positive about the contributions that AVMA will make for the future of our profession." 

Curry-Galvin: a shaping influence 

Dr. Curry-Galvin joined the AVMA in 1996 as an assistant director in the Scientific Activities Division. Among her duties, she served as a staff consultant to the Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents and the Clinical Practitioners Advisory Committee, and she has represented the AVMA before government agencies and related professional, scientific, and industry groups.

In May 2006, Dr. Curry-Galvin was named head of the division when Dr. Vogel was tapped to lead the new Animal Welfare Division.

Dr. Curry-Galvin has represented the AVMA's interests in a number of areas, such as during finalization of the extralabel drug use regulations implementing the Animal Medicinal Drug Use Clarification Act, during development of the Animal Drug Availability Act and its regulations, and during crafting of the Minor Use and Minor Species Animal Health Act that increased the availability of drugs to treat uncommon conditions and species.

In addition, Dr. Curry-Galvin has helped facilitate the AVMA's response to issues related to Internet pharmacies, vaccination of cats and dogs, drug compounding, biologic labeling, and product adverse event reporting.

"During my tenure with the AVMA, I have had the opportunity to listen to and serve our members, build relationships with stakeholders, and work with veterinary leadership to tackle issues of critical importance to the profession," Dr. Curry-Galvin said. "I look forward to applying those experiences to my challenging new role in advancing AVMA's mission."

Before coming to the AVMA, Dr. Curry-Galvin was a technical services veterinarian for Sandoz Agro in Des Plaines, Ill., and worked at a small animal practice in Palatine, Ill. She received her DVM degree from the University of Illinois, where she graduated as class valedictorian in 1988. After graduation, Dr. Curry-Galvin completed an internship in small animal medicine and surgery at the University of Minnesota.  

Administrative staff changes  

The OEVP has also seen several staff support changes. 

Carole Jordan was promoted from senior staff assistant to executive project manager. Jordan moved to the OEVP in 1999 after holding several positions in the Education and Research Division. She coordinates implementation of governance projects and continues to have an active role in staffing and supporting the activities of the House of Delegates, House Advisory Committee, Judicial Council, and Governance Performance Review Committee.

Julie Granstrom was promoted to executive assistant following the retirement of Darlene Verbelia in July after nearly 32 years of service to the AVMA. Granstrom transferred to the OEVP in February 2008 after working for a year and a half in the Education and Research Division as administrative assistant. Granstrom has been coordinator of nominations and credentialing functions for officer, council, and committee positions within the association governance. In addition to these responsibilities, she is now providing additional administrative support to the executive vice president and is the staff coordinator and primary recorder for meetings of the Executive Board and Board of Governors.

Karen LaMantia came to the AVMA in April. In the new position of staff assistant/receptionist within the OEVP, LaMantia coordinates the AVMA president's travel, assists the Human Resources Department, and is the primary receptionist at AVMA Headquarters.  

Vogel: still involved

Newly retired, Dr. Vogel is now serving the Association on the global stage in his new position as the AVMA councilor to the WVA. 

During his AVMA career, Dr. Vogel was responsible for creating and building two headquarters divisions. In 1996 he took the lead in restructuring the Scientific Activities Division. This included reorganizing and streamlining the functions of councils and committees supported by the division; some had previously been supported by other divisions. Then in May 2006, he became the first director of the Animal Welfare Division.

Defining the staffing levels and responsibilities for those divisions and hiring the right people were high-impact decisions. In fact, Dr. Vogel counts his hiring and mentoring of Dr. Curry-Galvin among his most important contributions.

Dr. Vogel said the AVMA bases its decisions and policies on the science that is available, but when definitive science is not available, judgments must be made so as to establish direction for the Association.

"That's eminently clear, for example, with the challenges presented by animal welfare issues," Dr. Vogel said. "We recognize that while science is important, social norms and ethics also contribute to decisions in that arena, so it's a real challenge to operate in that type of environment. We as the veterinary profession like to make our decisions based on good evidence, so it's pushing our comfort zone somewhat to recognize that we need to also pay attention to the social sciences, the 'softer sciences.'"

In the Scientific Activities Division, he was the AVMA's point person on the issue of antimicrobial resistance and judicious use, testifying before Congress in 2008.

"That's another situation where we don't have all the data," he said of antimicrobial resistance. "A lot of the science that is out there is conflicting. Whenever you start discussing that issue, you may end up with a war of competing studies, so the challenge is how to evaluate the science and develop a path forward for the profession."

Dr. Vogel said some have leveled criticism at the AVMA for not being forceful enough in pushing for change in the way antimicrobials are used in animals. He said those critics don't recognize the challenge the profession has in developing policy that protects both public health and animal health.

"We've been successful in ensuring that all the science and all the viewpoints are considered in the decision-making process of Congress as well as regulatory agencies," he said. "If it weren't for the AVMA, I'm sure that decisions would have been already made where we'd be struggling to control disease in animals."

Dr. Vogel spent 26 years in the Army Veterinary Corps with a focus on public health, especially food safety. Nearing the end of his military career, he was looking for an opportunity to continue that focus and found it at the AVMA in 1993.

"My first job, as assistant director in Membership and Field Services, was to provide staff support to the Council on Public Health and Regulatory Veterinary Medicine and what at that time was called the Food Safety Subcommittee of the council," Dr. Vogel said. "My experience in public health and food safety was a perfect fit and gave me the opportunity to do more and to operate in different, broader arenas in the public health community."

Dr. Vogel's crosscutting experience in three AVMA divisions and in providing staff support to the House of Delegates, Executive Board, and other entities was a strong reason Dr. DeHaven enlisted him for assistant executive vice president in 2007.

At press time Dr. Vogel was in Japan readying for his first meeting as WVA councilor, a new challenge he welcomes especially because as the AVMA representative, he will be interacting with the two organizations and sharing the AVMA message.