(SCHAUMBURG, Illinois) January 14, 2015 – The American Veterinary Medical Association Board of Directors voted Friday to approve the association’s strategy management plan, helping usher in an extensive re-shaping of the association so that it can better meet its members’ needs, now and into the future.
The board’s actions during the association’s annual Veterinary Leadership Conference in Chicago included approval of the overall strategy management plan, a three-year operating plan, and the 2015 association budget that includes $3 million for strategic initiatives directly related to member-focused programs and services.
“The strategy management plan helps us focus our resources so that we can achieve our ultimate goal of growing member value in the AVMA so that our members get the most out of their association,” said AVMA President Dr. Ted Cohn. “After spending much of 2014 listening and learning from our members, we will be delivering the products and services they want, need and expect most from the AVMA.”
The association has committed to several key initiatives that will focus activities designed to:
- Protect and enhance the lifelong value of the veterinary degree.
- Enhance the public image and reputation of the veterinary profession.
- Provide valuable member products and services.
- Provide the right information to the right people at the right time through improved marketing and communications.
An example of the AVMA’s increased attention to member needs is a renewed emphasis on supporting or opposing legislation that will impact their ability to practice veterinary medicine.
“Advocating for our members on the state and national levels has always been one of our core activities, but we clearly heard that our members want us to pursue an even higher level of involvement to protect their interests and to enhance the lifelong value of the veterinary medical degree,” Cohn said.
“The launch of our new strategic operating plan will help us re-shape the AVMA and take advantage of the opportunities presented by a new, competitive environment,” said AVMA CEO Dr. Ron DeHaven. “We’ve identified simple – but important – objectives that allow us to focus our activities on areas we know are important to our members. We will also be doing a better job of letting our members know what the issues are, and what we’re doing about them on behalf of our members and the profession.”
As part of the overall plan and to help drive its success, the AVMA has already organized into specific business units tasked with creating targeted programs to deliver an enhanced member experience. The AVMA is also developing a marketing and communications plan that will help keep members better informed of what the association is doing for them in a variety of areas, including advocacy, veterinary education, member services and providing leadership in the veterinary realm.
The AVMA also has increased its role in the veterinary economics arena in an effort to better address the economic issues facing the profession.
“For the past few years, the AVMA has been laying the groundwork necessary to allow us to pursue solutions to economic issues facing the veterinary profession,” Cohn said. “After hearing from our members how important veterinary economics is to them, we believe we are now in the position to provide veterinarians the information they need to make their practices more successful.”
“We are creating a new AVMA that works better and smarter to the benefit of all our members,” Cohn said. “This won’t happen overnight, with the flip of a switch. But with steady commitment over the next 12 months and beyond, our clearly focused timelines, objectives, courses of action and tangible results will help us ensure that we are achieving our goal of improving member value and meeting our members’ needs.”
The AVMA Board approved the launch of the strategy management process in January 2014, and the association immediately began an in-depth information-gathering campaign that included sending a survey to 16,000 AVMA members and 5,000 veterinary students to gather opinions about what services and activities are most important to them, and, at the same time, asking them to rate the association on how well it is meeting their expectations. The association also surveyed a broad spectrum of AVMA stakeholders to get their input on global factors affecting the profession, including economic, technologic, scientific, social, political and environmental forces. The respondents also helped the association analyze industry-specific factors such as customers, markets and competitors, as well as legal and regulatory, and state-of-the-industry issues.
“This was an unprecedented undertaking for the association, one that produced an invaluable amount of information from our members and others about what they expect, how we are meeting those expectations and what we can do to improve and grow member value,” Cohn said. “We’re excited about what the future holds and what the AVMA can do to serve our members.”