August 01, 2010


 Board addresses dues, website

Funding approved for leadership development programs and other initia​tives

Posted July 18, 2010

The AVMA Executive Board, meeting June 10-12, deliberated on Association matters such as membership dues, website redevelopment, and leadership development as well as professional issues such as state veterinary practice acts, hazardous waste, and economic concerns.

The board approved recommending that the AVMA House of Delegates authorize a $10 annual increase in dues for regular members from 2013-2015. According to background materials, modest annual dues increases would help the Association keep up with the costs of doing business and have less impact on members than larger and more irregular dues increases would. 

Drs. James O. Cook (left), AVMA's 2008-2009 president, and
Larry R. Corry, 2009-2010 president, participate in the June 10-12
meeting of the Executive Board.

Actions during the June board meeting resulted in new expenditures of $464,370 in 2010 and $63,800 in 2011 from several funds—the contingency fund, general reserves, Strategic Goal Fund, and website redevelopment fund.

The biggest expenditure was $380,000 for the first stage of the redevelopment of the AVMA website, including the licensing and installation of a new content management system. Also receiving funds were a new leadership development program for HOD members and the second year of a program to increase attendance by emerging leaders from underrepresented groups at the AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference.

The board approved forming and funding two new task forces (see article). The AVMA Model Veterinary Practice Act Review Task Force will review the Association's model version of a state practice act. The AVMA National Hazardous Waste Product Database Task Force will consider the feasibility of creating and maintaining a database of veterinary products that contain hazardous materials.

During strategic discussions at the board meeting, leaders of the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues announced that the commission was in the process of forming a partnership with the Kansas State University College of Business Administration to create a Center for Veterinary Economics. The board approved supporting the NCVEI with $50,000 in annual funding from 2010-2012, contingent on the approval of proportionate funding from the American Animal Hospital Association and Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges.  

Membership dues

For some time, the board and HOD have discussed the idea of the AVMA scheduling annual increases in membership dues rather than increasing dues on an irregular basis. 

The Association most recently increased dues in 2004, and the next increase will take effect in 2011. Dues increased by $25 for regular members in 2004, to $250, and will increase by $50 for regular members in 2011, to $300.

Dr. Douglas G. Aspros, vice chair of the board, noted during the meeting that if the HOD were to approve a resolution to increase dues by $10 annually for regular members from 2013-2015, members would see no dues increase in 2012 and modest increases for the subsequent three years.

In terms of percentages, the plan would lead to dues for regular members increasing by 3.3 percent in 2013, 3.2 percent in 2014, and 3.1 percent in 2015. The AVMA would review the policy of annual dues increases by 2015, according to background materials.

"AVMA has historically increased dues on an irregular basis with larger dues increases, which limited the ability of our members and the Association to plan for the future," said Dr. Kevin J. Dajka, director of the AVMA Membership and Field Services Division, following the board meeting.

In addition, the decision-making process for increasing dues on this irregular basis has been resource-intensive for the AVMA, according to background materials.

Annual dues increases would enable the AVMA to keep pace with increases in the costs of doing business and to plan prudently for initiatives to achieve the Association's strategic goals, according to background materials. Annual dues increases of smaller amounts, such as $10, would have less impact on AVMA members than irregular dues increases of larger amounts, such as $25 or $50.

Retired, recent graduate, and educational members would continue to pay half the dues amount of regular members. Associate and affiliate members would continue to pay the same dues as regular members.

The board agreed to submit a resolution on the three years of $10 dues increases for consideration during the regular winter session of the HOD in January 2011.

Dr. Bret D. Marsh, AVMA treasurer, listens to discussion
during the June board meeting.

Website redevelopment

One of the costs of business for the AVMA is the Association's website, which encompasses thousands of pages of content. Transitioning to a new content management system is key to the redevelopment of the website.  

The board approved designating $380,000 from the $1 million website redevelopment fund for the licensing and installation of a new content management system and for other work necessary for the first phase of redevelopment.

"This is a very big building block to a much stronger, much more robust website," said Kim Kishbaugh, assistant director for electronic communications in the AVMA Communications Division, speaking to a board reference committee.

The board will need to designate additional funds for the migration of content from the existing website to the new platform and for hardware, configuration, and hosting costs.

Leadership development

Among the objectives of the AVMA Strategic Plan is leadership development. As such, the board approved spending $11,550 from the Strategic Goal Fund for the inaugural HOD Leadership Development Program. If successful, the program will become annual, pending board approval.

The program is a two-day, two-night orientation at AVMA headquarters for 10 HOD members to learn more about Association governance and processes as well as the depth and breadth of Association activities. New board members already participate in a similar orientation.

An AVMA initiative started this past year to enhance diversity within the profession looks as though it will continue for the foreseeable future. The board approved spending $10,000 to allow 10 selected state or allied VMAs represented in the HOD to each bring an emerging leader to the 2011 Veterinary Leadership Conference this coming January in Chicago—at $1,000 each. These emerging leaders are to be selected from groups that are either underrepresented in veterinary medicine or in the AVMA leadership.

These emerging leaders are in addition to those already being sponsored. The AVMA and American Veterinary Medical Foundation first agreed in January 2009 to sponsor 10 underrepresented recent graduates to attend the 2010 VLC as part of its Emerging Leaders program.

The idea came from the Member Services Committee, which, charged with the task of promoting diversity and mentorship, hopes to increase the diversity of attendees at the conference and encourage them to participate in organized veterinary medicine leadership.

"It's an important area where we can demonstrate our commitment to diversity, and (it) furthers our commitment to fostering and developing future leaders," said Dr. Clark K. Fobian, the board member representing District VII.

Underrepresented emerging leaders selected to attend must be members of both the AVMA and an association represented in the HOD and meet the qualifications for emerging leaders as outlined by the AVMA VLC Planning Committee.