The AVMA House of Delegates adopted Resolution 1 July 13 in Boston. The resolution states that the AVMA will provide an annual $130,000 donation to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation to support the stipend and training, travel, and other regular expenses for two additional Congressional Fellows, beginning in 2002. There is one in place at this time.
The AVMA/AVMF Congressional Science Fellowship program is an effort to positively invest in the future of the veterinary profession. The veterinary profession's current and long-term goals mandate a better understanding of and participation in the legislative process of the U.S. government.
Dr. Robert P. Gordon, alternate delegate representing New Jersey, emphasized the need and importance of the additional fellowships, where others have been successful in the past.
"We're looking at a cost-to-benefit ratio," Dr. Gordon said. "We have the ability to promote a very successful program to our members, a program that helped us get through the AMDUCA issue. In the future, we will be dealing with MUMS."
Dr. Gordon pointed out that only 0.6 percent of the AVMA budget would go toward funding the two congressional fellowships.
Dr. Lloyd N. Fiedler, Texas delegate, also strongly supported adoption.
"Texas has committed $3,000 a year for the last seven years to this program," he said. "I want to encourage the passing of this [resolution]."
The one-year fellowship places veterinarians in congressional offices or with congressional committees. These individuals provide scientific expertise and serve as consultants, researchers, and intellectual resources to policy makers.
Following passage of Resolution 1, the House Advisory Committee withdrew Resolution 2, which would have created only one additional, AVMA-funded fellowship.