June 01, 2015


 Board greenlights funding for economic research

Posted May 13, 2015

Funding for a number of economic studies aimed at increasing demand for veterinarians and veterinary services has been approved by the AVMA Board of Directors. 

Bridgette Bain, PhD, a statistical data analyst in the AVMA’s Veterinary Economics Division, briefs the Board of Directors on research proposals concerning the U.S. veterinary workforce. (Photo by R. Scott Nolen)

The AVMA Veterinary Economics Strategy Committee requested the allocation of nearly $339,000 from the Economics Strategy Fund to support the following research projects, to be managed by AVMA’s Veterinary Economics Division:

  • Evaluation of price and income elasticities: This pilot study will continue research regarding how the price of veterinary services and consumers’ disposable income affect the market demand.
  • Economic assessment of zoonotic diseases: This study will identify the net benefits of investing in zoonotic disease prevention versus the national economic impact of containing the spread of diseases following an outbreak.
  • The cost-benefit analysis of avian influenza in 2015 will be the start of a long-term research project.
  • Assessing benefits of animal ownership: This study will quantify the economic impact of the human-animal bond on human health and welfare.
  • Development and use of risk tools for pet owners to enhance the demand for veterinary services: The first step will be surveying pet owners to yield an understanding of their attitudes toward risk and risk reduction in the demand for veterinary services and pet insurance as well as identify characteristics associated with consumer decisions to purchase pet insurance, wellness plans, and health savings accounts.
  • Veterinary market analysis and visualization online: This study will build a geographic information system database that will aid in the estimation of potential demand for veterinary services by census tracts. Over time, this will be developed into an AVMA member tool for private clinics to assess the demand for veterinary services.
  • Food animal workforce analysis: This goal of this research project is to study demand for food animal services as a function of herd size and other factors.

The projects are based on an AVMA advisory panel’s assessment of the 2013 U.S. Veterinary Workforce Study. The panel made several recommendations, including that the AVMA maintain and add to veterinary workforce and economic databases and the annual collection of data on and analysis of the number of veterinarians entering the U.S. workforce each year.

Preliminary findings from these studies will be presented at the 2015 AVMA Veterinary Economic Summit, Oct. 21.