March 01, 2015


 AVMA board laying groundwork for future endeavors

International agreement, clinical trials database among initiatives approved by leaders

Posted Feb. 11, 2015

The AVMA Board of Directors took a big-picture approach at its latest meeting, held Jan. 8-9 during the AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference in Chicago. Board members approved a handful of recommendations that will take the Association closer to achieving the goals and initiatives set out for the foreseeable future.

After a year of planning and preparation, the board approved the AVMA’s overall strategic plan, a three-year operating plan, and ramping up to spending $3 million annually for strategic initiatives directly related to member-focused programs and services (see story).

Strengthening ties

In other action, Board members approved signing a letter of association between the AVMA, Canadian VMA, and Federation of Veterinarians of Europe. The letter, drafted late last year, codifies current practices and provides guidance for strengthening ongoing collaborations among the three organizations.  

The Canadian VMA represents 13,340 member veterinarians distributed among 3,467 practices, most of which are exclusively small animal.  

The Federation of Veterinarians of Europe represents more than 45 national veterinary organizations across 38 European countries, and four sections that represent key groups within the veterinary profession. 

The three groups have a long history of collaboration—whether through participation in each other’s annual meetings, collaborations, or serving on one another’s volunteer entities. 

Dr. Michael E. Newman speaks in favor of a letter outlining greater collaboration among the AVMA, Canadian VMA, and Federation of Veterinarians of Europe. (Photo by R. Scott Nolen)

Meetings between the AVMA and FVE leadership led to the development of four joint position statements that were adopted by the boards of both organizations in 2011 and 2013. In 2014, CVMA leaders began participating in meetings with their FVE and AVMA counterparts, according to the recommendation’s background, and signed on to the four previously adopted joint position statements. The positions relate to the judicious use of antimicrobials in animals, the veterinarian’s role in animal welfare, veterinary education, and veterinary medicine as a global public good.

The AVMA Committee on International Veterinary Affairs, which created and submitted the recommendation to the board, says because of the broad reach and credibility of the AVMA, CVMA, and FVE, interactions among these associations have the potential to increase the impact of joint messages conveyed to legislators in Canada, the U.S., and Europe as well as nongovernmental organizations such as the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

Dr. Michael E. Newman, representing District III, said, “There are times when you have to say, ‘We’re going to work together to some degree, and we are trying to stay on the same page.’ (The letter) is stronger than a handshake or pat on the back.”

Dr. Clark K. Fobian, AVMA immediate past president, said he certainly agrees it’s more than a handshake or pat on the back, “But it does not say we’re going to march in lockstep (on every issue). The letter does say we won’t always share the same vision. I want everyone to be well-aware there are those clauses in there. When our visions are the same, we will work together as appropriate, but we are not compromising on the initiatives our Association has.”

Clinical research database

The Board also agreed to reallocate money toward development of a national veterinary clinical trials database mock-up.

At its April 2014 meeting, the Board approved a recommendation from the Council on Research to form a working group tasked with determining the usefulness, costs, and benefits associated with developing and operating a publicly accessible database listing ongoing veterinary clinical trials.

The National Veterinary Clinical Research Database Working Group first met this past December at AVMA headquarters. The members considered a number of possible research tools that could be established ranging from a veterinary “clinical research marketplace” to a registry before landing on a national veterinary clinical trials database as an initiative that was both needed and achievable, according to the recommendation’s background.

Money originally slated for a second meeting of the working group will now go toward paying programmer expenses associated with the development of a prototype clinical trials database. Dr. Ed Murphey, assistant director of the AVMA Education and Research Division, said it will be possible to construct a mock-up inexpensively by using the same platform and programmer as the Veterinary Cancer Society’s Veterinary Cancer Trials database. The working group will be able to tweak the mock-up remotely and then use it as a model to solicit estimates for the construction of a fully functional veterinary clinical trials database.

New student chapters of the AVMA

And finally, the Board approved recognition of student chapters of the AVMA at the veterinary colleges established at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee, and Midwestern University in Glendale, Arizona.

Both institutions have a status of provisional accreditation from the AVMA Council on Education. Currently, Lincoln Memorial has 63.1 percent (60 out of 95) of eligible veterinary students as members of the Student AVMA. At Midwestern, 100 percent (97 out of 97) of students are SAVMA members, which was helped by the veterinary college paying for the membership of all veterinary students enrolled.

Related JAVMA content:

Board acts to remove hurdles to AVMA membership (Oct. 15, 2013)

AVMA, European federation collaborate (March 15, 2011)

Registry for veterinary clinical trials being considered (June 1, 2014)