February 01, 2014


 National licensing board CEO on his way out

Posted Jan. 15, 2014
Dr. John R. Boyce announced in early December 2013 he will retire as executive director of the National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners this summer. Dr. Boyce has led the organization since its inception as a nonprofit nearly 20 years ago. 
Dr. Boyce (MSU ’74) started his career by joining the Army Veterinary Corps and was stationed for two years at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Washington, D.C. After leaving the Army, he received his doctorate in microbiology from the University of Tennessee School of Veterinary Medicine.  

The history of the National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners

The AVMA established the National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners in 1948. It was in charge of developing a standardized licensing examination for state licensing boards. The National Board Examination was first offered in 1954, and, within about a decade, it was used as a requirement for licensure in most states and Canada. In 1980, the NBVME was reorganized and renamed the National Board Examination Committee.

In 1994, a negotiated separation between the examination committee and the AVMA came after attorneys general in several states raised concerns about a possible conflict of interest.

The NBEC had become a completely independent organization by 1996 with Dr. John R. Boyce as CEO of the newly formed nonprofit.

In January 1997, the NBEC moved its office from Illinois to North Dakota. The NBEC changed its name in 2001 to reflect the fact that it no longer functioned as a committee, and the organization once again became the National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners.

Dr. Boyce served on the faculty of the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine from 1980-1987. Then, he joined the AVMA staff as assistant director of scientific activities–education. One of his responsibilities at the AVMA was serving as staff consultant to the National Board Examination Committee. When the NBEC became an independent organization, Dr. Boyce left the AVMA to serve as executive director of the committee, which later became the NBVME (see sidebar).
Dr. Boyce will retire along with his wife, Susan, to spend more time with their family. He will still serve as executive secretary of the North Dakota Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners.
JAVMA News interviewed him prior to his departure to get his thoughts on leading the licensing organization and what he envisions for its future. 

What accomplishments are you most proud of during your tenure?

I wouldn’t use the word “proud,” because I see my role primarily as facilitating the work of others. Whatever good things the NBVME has accomplished over the years have been because of the hard work of the board’s volunteers and support staff. I think the most substantial accomplishment since I have worked for the NBEC/NBVME, other than its incorporation in 1994 as an independent organization and subsequent separation from the AVMA, was the launch of the new computer-based North American Veterinary Licensing Examination in fall 2000. The NAVLE replaced the National Board Examination and Clinical Competency Test.
The other major accomplishment, which we have been working on for the past three years, but is not yet finalized, is the new collaborative relationship between the NBVME and the National Board of Medical Examiners regarding the NAVLE.
Finally, the two examinations the NBVME developed for the Program for the Assessment of Veterinary Education Equivalence—the qualifying examination and the veterinary clinical skills assessment—were high-quality assessments that came into being only because of a lot of hard work by many dedicated individuals. 

Where do you see the NBVME heading in the future?

The collaboration with the NBME, once it is implemented, will lead to several important enhancements to the NAVLE assessment system. In addition to the NAVLE, there are opportunities for the NBVME to explore new examination programs. These could include assessments for veterinary education, specialty board examinations, and, possibly, examinations used as part of an assessment of continued competency for licensed veterinarians.