Veterinary students and faculty work together on the Trolley, a communication
and teamwork exercise at the 2010 session of the AVMA Veterinary
Leadership Experience. The AVMA Executive Board approved spending
up to $75,000 on the program in 2012 and $45,000 annually starting in 2013.
A committee could begin work in 2012 to promote the AVMA and improve Association benefits for students and veterinarians who are within 15 years of graduation.
The AVMA Executive Board indicated it is willing to approve spending about $34,000 to form an Early Career Development Committee starting in 2012. The approval is dependent on concurrence by the AVMA Governance Performance Review Committee, but information from the GPRC was not available at press time.
Dr. Melissa Austin-Gundel, a member of the Task Force on AVMA Programs
for Students and Recent Graduates, talks about the task force's findings and
recommendations during the April meeting of the AVMA Executive Board.
The nine-member group would include five veterinarians who are within five years of graduation, two who are between five and 15 years of graduation, one veterinary school faculty adviser, and one representative from the American Society of Veterinary Medical Association Executives. The volunteer committee would be open to all veterinarians who fit in those categories, but former leaders in the Student AVMA and student chapters of the AVMA would receive invitations to participate on the committee, as would young veterinarians who showed interest in membership in other AVMA entities.
Dr. Joseph H. Kinnarney, chair of the Task Force on AVMA Programs for Students and Recent Graduates and an Executive Board member, said the need for and importance of the committee are both great. More than 40 percent of AVMA members are within 15 years of graduation. He noted that those veterinarians are dealing with difficult economic conditions at the same time as they cope with higher debt loads than any previous generation as well as difficulty in balancing their personal and professional lives.
Dr. Kinnarney said veterinarians most need help from the AVMA early in their careers, and he thinks the Early Career Development Committee will help maintain a strong connection between the Association and those veterinarians.
"Clearly, the Executive Board, through the formation of this task force, is sending a message that we are reaching out to members and we want to be a member-driven and member service organization," Dr. Kinnarney said.
The board also approved spending up to $75,000 in 2012 on the AVMA Veterinary Leadership Experience. But that cost could be split with the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, which will decide on the proposal during an AVMF board of directors meeting in July. The VLE promotes personal development among veterinary students, and the AVMA has been a program sponsor since 2005.
Dr. Kinnarney said that, if the foundation were to cover half the costs for the VLE, the money saved by the AVMA would be sufficient to fund the formation and operation of the Early Career Development Committee.
The board approved spending $45,000 annually on the VLE starting in 2013, with the money intended to defray the costs of attendance by one faculty member from each veterinary school represented in SAVMA. Sponsorship money for previous years, including 2012, has not been directed toward a specific use.
The board also approved increasing funding for the Student AVMA Symposium. The association gave $25,000 in 2011 and will give $35,000 in 2012.