March 01, 2015


 Pilot program aims to improve volunteer structure

​Posted Feb. 11, 2015

Volunteering with the AVMA could become easier for members with a new approach now under consideration.

The current volunteer structure incorporates many councils, committees, and other entities to help the AVMA tackle issues. The Association is developing a pilot program for an alternative structure of advisory panels, which would be fewer in number than the existing entities and would involve additional members for short stints.

The goal is to streamline processes and improve the overall efficiency and efficacy of the volunteer structure. Challenges with the current entities include silos and overlaps.

The AVMA also has had trouble filling vacancies. In 2014, out of 113 vacancies on committees and councils, 78 had one or no nominee. Many members say they are reluctant to volunteer because of the time commitment, plus entities generally require participants to represent specific segments of the profession.

The advisory panels would be broad in their charge, and the participants would possess a collective skill set. The panels would convene ad hoc issue-focused groups, drawing on a pool of busy members with expertise in specific subject matters.

A new forum made up of veterinary organizations would provide input to the advisory panels regarding issues of particular interest to specific segments of the profession. Also under consideration is a new Issues Management Team that would help process all the issues coming to the AVMA and then route the issues to the advisory panels.

The pilot program begins with the formation of a Practice Advisory Panel and a Regulatory Advisory Panel. These panels will draw on certain existing councils and committees as a pool of experts. Some of the panels’ participants will be representatives from these councils and committees. The remaining participants will be appointed following an open call for volunteers.

The AVMA plans to implement the pilot program beginning in July. Members may provide their thoughts by emailing