Posted July 18, 2012
Members of the AVMA may soon be able to provide direct input on many of the Association’s policies, under a plan that received approval from the Executive Board in early June.
Currently, AVMA members can comment on animal welfare policies up for consideration. The Association also has solicited comments recently on revisions to its euthanasia guidelines, model veterinary practice act, and strategic plan.
“For us to be an effective voice for the profession, we need first to listen to the profession,” said Dr. Douglas G. Aspros, who becomes AVMA president in early August. “That means opening up a dialogue with our members, not just a one-way communication.”
Most of the Association’s policies on professional issues arise from recommendations by councils, committees, task forces, and similar entities for consideration by the Executive Board.
“I think we do a pretty good job, in developing policy, in talking to the right people in the profession—people who are engaged, involved, and understand the issues as they come to various entities,” Dr. Aspros said. “Our current policy development doesn’t allow much in the way for the rank-and-file member to understand that a policy is under review or being developed, nor does it give them an opportunity to provide input in those cases.”
“For us to be an effective voice for the profession, we need first to listen to the profession.”
Dr. Douglas G. Aspros, 2012-2013 AVMA president
As a pilot project, the AVMA created an online portal in 2010 to allow members to comment on policies being developed or reviewed by the AVMA Animal Welfare Committee.
Dr. Gail C. Golab, director of the AVMA Animal Welfare Division, said the committee has not received a tremendous number of comments to date but has received favorable feedback on the opportunity to comment.
In June, the Executive Board approved a plan to allow AVMA members to comment on policies being developed or reviewed by various entities.
“What we’re really looking for is substantive input,” Dr. Golab noted. “So this is not intended as a vote on policies per se. That’s very different than making sure that we have more-detailed comments that enrich the entity’s ability to recommend appropriate policy for AVMA.”
The plan is for the Association’s staff to create a new online portal for member input in conjunction with the second phase of the redesign of the AVMA website. After the portal has been available for six months, the Association will assess member response to the opportunity and the usefulness of comments to entities.