January 01, 2012


 Board approves economic, leadership actions

Posted Dec. 15, 2011

The AVMA will study the supply of and demand for veterinarians, meet with college deans on economic issues, continue a program intended to develop leaders among recent graduates, and give companies clearer guidance on the AVMA's advertising policy.

The Executive Board approved these actions at its Nov. 10-12 meeting, during which it also reviewed a report on global activities, established Association positions on pending legislation, and revised or renewed numerous policies and entity descriptions.

Executive Board members Drs. Dee, Meyer, and Helfat
Dr. Larry G. Dee (center), District IV representative to the board, makes a point while Dr. Thomas F. Meyer (left), District XI representative, and Dr. Mark P. Helfat, District II representative, listen closely. (Photo by Katie Burns)

In 2012, a survey of pet owners will be expanded to include questions about the demand for veterinary services and pet owners' attitudes towards, expectations for, and use of such services. The Executive Board approved spending about $30,000 to expand the AVMA's U.S. pet demographic survey, which is conducted about every five years, from a five-minute online survey to a 10-minute one. Answers to the added questions could be used in the demand analysis portion of a potential AVMA workforce study.

The total survey cost will be $161,000.

The AVMA will also look for an organization that could help study the veterinary workforce in the United States. The Executive Board approved a motion to have AVMA staff request proposals for such research, after which a recommendation could be submitted to the Executive Board. 

Executive Board members Drs. Aspros, Rawson, and de Jong
From left, Drs. Douglas G. Aspros, AVMA president-elect;
Chester L. Rawson, District VI Executive Board
representative; and John H. de Jong, District I representative,
vote on a board agenda item. (Photo by Greg Cima)

J. Karl Wise, PhD, AVMA associate executive vice president, said the AVMA expects to have substantial information on the available supply of veterinarians by spring 2012 as well as new information on the demand for companion animal veterinary services. He said preliminary estimates of supply and demand could be available by late 2012. He said the AVMA wants models that predict growth of each segment of the profession for the next 10 to 15 years.

An upcoming one-day meeting among Executive Board members, veterinary college deans, and a facilitator is intended to help the groups address the need for changes in veterinary medical education and improve economic conditions within the veterinary profession. The board members approved spending $26,000 for the Jan. 15 meeting in Orlando in conjunction with the North American Veterinary Conference, which runs Jan. 14-18.

The board also approved a $35,000 budget for travel, consultants, and other expenses in 2012 for the director of the AVMA veterinary economics division, once hired. The board created the division in late August to work with a veterinary economics strategy committee and develop and manage economic programs that would, for example, examine the economic effects of AVMA policies, issues, and strategies. The AVMA expects to hire three staff members during 2012.

The AVMA is also working to increase involvement in Association governance among veterinarians newer to the profession. A pilot program to develop future AVMA leaders will continue through 2013, funding career and personal development for about 10 veterinarians who are within 15 years of graduation. The 2011-2012 pilot program has 10 participants, who are working on educational projects intended to help colleagues develop their own leadership skills and increase their involvement in organized veterinary medicine.

Dr. Heather Case, director of the AVMA Scientific Activities Division, reported to the Executive Board that the projects are designed to help show veterinarians early in their careers that they have a place to participate in AVMA leadership.

The AVMA also revised its policies on partnerships with for-profit organizations. The guidelines are partly intended to define what types of advertising and marketing would be acceptable in connection with AVMA activities. Some policy additions, for example, state that the AVMA will not create partnerships exclusive to industry segments, such as nutrition or pharmaceuticals, and will not guarantee that new programs or initiatives will be dedicated toward any single partner.