Q&A with Dr. Elizabeth A. Curry-Galvin
Posted March 30, 2016
Dr. Elizabeth A. Curry-Galvin, outgoing deputy chief executive officer of the AVMA, answers questions from JAVMA News. Go to “Old, new deputy CEO see AVMA moving profession forward” for the main story.
What have been your proudest accomplishments at the AVMA?
I have particularly good memories of working very closely with wonderful leaders within our profession on some highly significant policy and advocacy initiatives. Together, we represented the profession’s interests to the Food and Drug Administration during the crafting of the regulations on extralabel drug use. AVMA’s algorithm on extralabel drug use, which translates the regulations into a flow chart of professional decision-making, is a resource that is used to this day. Working in the same fashion, we successfully urged the Department of Agriculture to change the paradigm for vaccine labels to feature additional clinically relevant information. Together, we created the AVMA “Vaccination Principles” when the profession was wrestling with questions regarding the duration of immunity conferred by vaccines. We influenced the Animal Drug Availability Act, which provided a pathway for FDA approval of the first drug available by veterinary feed directive, for swine. The Minor Use and Minor Species Animal Health Act opened up options for additional FDA-authorized pharmaceuticals to be available to veterinarians to treat minor species and uncommon medical conditions in animals. It was a great time to be in the thick of these important initiatives, and I took great pleasure in serving our profession in this way.
How was it going from leading the Scientific Activities Division, now the Division of Animal and Public Health, to the Office of the Executive Vice President?
As deputy CEO and assistant executive vice president, I enjoyed broad involvement across the whole organization, its strategy and operations and full complement of products, programs, and services for AVMA’s professionally diverse membership. It was a great opportunity to work with a phenomenally committed staff that is centered on providing members with the information and resources they need. It was a privilege to serve the profession in a leadership capacity as an ex officio member of the AVMA Board of Directors.
How has the AVMA changed since you started?
Working together with members, the AVMA has always been committed to more effectively advancing our shared interests, values, and goals. More recently, we’ve been operationalizing a member-centric strategy that grows our knowledge of member needs and assesses our performance to help us better plan—in an associationwide fashion—the best use of our resources to satisfy members.
What has kept you at the AVMA for so many years?
The mission and the people. It’s very gratifying to work for an association that is the leading advocate for the entire veterinary profession. I was drawn to and remained at the AVMA to actively contribute to big efforts that make a positive difference in the lives of veterinarians and the animals in our care.
What do you think is next for the AVMA?
Greater conveyance of our value to members by increasingly providing tangible deliverables that support members’ day-to-day practice of veterinary medicine in all its forms. Working with our members to create those deliverables is critical, but so is raising awareness of the vast range of products and services the AVMA provides and tailoring our communications with individual members to help them derive from AVMA what is most relevant to them. We have the opportunity and the duty to better tell our story. The AVMA protects, promotes, and advances veterinary medicine in tandem with its members, and we do that through public policy and advocacy, tangible products and services, and accreditation and certification to maintain standards. It’s a great story to tell.
With a history of so much career satisfaction, why are you retiring?
This decision was not easy for me. I have wrestled with it for more than a year. I derive great satisfaction from being one member of a very fine staff that advances the AVMA mission with passion and skill. Being a veterinarian, I found it an honor and privilege to work for the AVMA, our national professional association, with its many talented volunteers and members.
People who know me know that I am “all in” to my work. However, that has its disadvantages. I’m blessed with a 9-year-old daughter, Jennifer. For some time now, I have wanted to spend these precious early years with her. Yet, in reality, I am not around enough, and when I am home, I am not adequately present for her. My husband, Paul, wonders how long it will be before we can enjoy time together. While I have enjoyed a very meaningful career, I have often failed at adjusting priorities and making more time for family and turning off work while home.
Therefore, after a lot of reflection, I have determined that my personal solution is to transfer my “all in” personality from work and toward family by way of retirement. I am very fortunate to have this option. I am thankful for all the opportunities and wish the Association every future success.