February 15, 2002


 Legal opinion alters course of AVMA, AAVSB dialogue

Posted Jan. 15, 2002 

AVMA counsel conducting a formal legal review of a Sept. 24, 2001 draft conditional resolution that would have led to immediate changes in the ECFVG foreign graduate certification program have uncovered substantial concerns, leading the Executive Board to reject the resolution during a special session Jan. 6.

Three representatives of the AVMA and three representatives of the American Association of Veterinary State Boards had drafted the resolution relating to the structure and function of the AVMA Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates program.

In November, the AVMA Executive Board approved an amended resolution, pending and conditioned on a satisfactory legal review by AVMA counsel. The AAVSB Executive Committee had later accepted the original Sept. 24 version of the resolution.

"Legal review revealed ambiguities within the resolution regarding the responsibilities of the various organizations involved," Executive Board Chair Bonnie Beaver explained.

"Unfortunately, these ambiguities have the potential to cause confusion and create significant legal risk, not only for the AAVSB, the National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, and the AVMA, but also for any individuals associated with the evaluation of foreign graduate educational equivalency."

After consideration of the legal opinion, AVMA board members also rescinded another action they took in November that would have established an ad hoc committee to review the structure and function of the ECFVG, determine the circumstances under which the ECFVG could become autonomous, and develop a time line for autonomy.

These latest AVMA Executive Board actions came during a January special session at the AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference in Chicago during which the board reviewed the legal opinion and discussed it with the AVMA's attorney.

The AVMA/AAVSB draft conditional resolution had called for the AVMA to do the following: (1) charge the ECFVG with having candidates follow a specific order of progression in completing program requirements; (2) discontinue use of the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination in the process of evaluating foreign graduates' educational background; (3) replace the NAVLE with another examination; and (4) change the composition and reporting structure of the ECFVG.

During the January meeting, AVMA Executive Board members reaffirmed their commitment to continuing dialogue with the AAVSB on issues of mutual concern and importance. One venue through which these discussions can take place is the new AVMA/AAVSB Joint Committee. The AVMA Executive Board approved its formation in November.

The board also authorized Dr. Beaver to appoint a committee to review the ECFVG program and make suggestions for enhancement, as appropriate, so that the ECFVG program meets the highest quality operational standards possible and continues to meet the needs of foreign veterinary graduates, veterinary state boards, the public, and the profession.

At press time, the AVMA and AAVSB were preparing for their next scheduled meeting, Jan. 21 in Fort Worth, Texas.