March 01, 2002


 Delegates assemble to absorb, network

Posted Feb. 15, 2002

One hundred fifteen delegates and alternate delegates representing constituent organizations in the AVMA House of Delegates came together at the Veterinary Leadership Conference to confer about mutual issues, and participate in structured sessions where they heard updates and discussed issues, including ones they will vote on this July at their annual session in Nashville, Tenn.

In his address to the HOD, AVMA President Brandt said, "I've heard more about Internet pharmacies than any other issue."

Dr. Elizabeth Curry-Galvin, assistant director of the AVMA Scientific Activities Division, gave an informative update on Internet pharmacies.

Executive Board chair, Dr. Bonnie V. Beaver, briefed delegates on negotiations with the American Association of Veterinary State Boards regarding the AVMA Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates program and on key board actions in November on various issues.

"The most exciting news that has come out of Washington," Dr. Beaver said, is appropriation of over $328 million in emergency supplemental dollars following Sept. 11, focused on agriculture for homeland security.

Dr. Charles L. Stoltenow, extension veterinarian and assistant professor at North Dakota State University, talked about his trip to Russia to visit research facilities that had been involved in Soviet-era bioweapons programs. Dr. Stoltenow is the North Dakota VMA's alternate delegate and chairs the reference committee on education and research.

The assistant director of emergency preparedness and response for the AVMA, Dr. Cindy S. Lovern, explained the process of Veterinary Medical Assistance Team deployment.

AVMA treasurer, Dr. James F. Peddie, delivered an interim report summarizing fiscal news. In the plus column, he noted that the margin of income over expenses projected in the 2001 budget at $5,350 was conservative, and he now estimates the amount will be closer to $150,000. Dr. Peddie attributed this largely to increased efficiency within the AVMA, made possible in part by the application of computer-driven modalities that have been embraced by staff.

Trends with less positive financial implications include advertising income reaching a plateau, sponsorship dollars becoming more difficult to obtain, and a marked drop in the return from investments.

"However," Dr. Peddie added, "the good news with regard to our investments is that, unlike many investors who have watched the value of their investments melt away with the devaluation of the stock market, the AVMA's corpus of investments has not lost value but has actually increased in value."

"Your AVMA Executive Board takes its fiduciary responsibility for the AVMA's finances very seriously," he said, telling how last November the board deliberated at length before unanimously voting to award the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues a one-time additional grant of $205,369 to support projects designed to strengthen the core competencies of the veterinary profession.

Dr. Peddie told delegates there are three tiers of checks and balances to ensure accountability for AVMA finances and conformity with the law.

When delegates and alternates met for breakout sessions, it was the first time they did so under newly designated reference committees. As before, there are seven committees, but a recent bylaw change resulted in the following new committee structure: #1—Committee on Administration, #2—Public Matters, #3—Committee on Education and Research, #4—Committee on Finance, #5—Committee on Legislative and Government Matters, #6—Committee on Member Services, and #7—Committee on Scientific Activities.

Because this was an unofficial, informational meeting, the HOD took no actions. In committee, delegates discussed matters relevant to that committee as well as other areas of interest and concern. Just a few of the topics raised in committee were the interactions between the AVMA and American Association of Veterinary State Boards about the ECFVG process, upcoming proposed amendments to the AVMA Constitution and Bylaws, the Auxiliary to the AVMA, Internet pharmacies, the need to be proactive in approaching animal welfare issues, and HOD procedures.

The last order of business at the HOD assembly was an invitation to each of the three candidates for elective office this July to present a brief address (see page 582). First to speak was former Executive Board chair, Dr. Jan E. Bartels, who had announced his campaign last July. Then, Dr. Jack O. Walther, AVMA vice president, announced his candidacy for 2002 president-elect. Dr. Thomas R. Kendall, who challenged Dr. Walther last year for vice president, announced his candidacy for 2002 vice president.