ABVS - Standards for the Recognition of a Veterinary Specialty under an Existing Recognized Veterinary Specialty Organization

June 2013

A. Definition of a recognized veterinary specialty (RVS)

An AVMA-recognized veterinary specialty is certification of a clearly-defined unique subset of an RVSO based upon a species, discipline, or system related to that of the parent RVSO

B. Procedures for obtaining AVMA recognition of a veterinary specialty

1. A veterinary specialty seeking recognition as an RVS under the auspices of an existing RVSO may:

a. Be recognized by the AVMA EB under the procedures described in Section II, Part C of the Policies of the ABVS with the following exceptions to those procedures:

i. An RVS need not be incorporated separately.

ii. An RVS is represented on the ABVS by the representative of the parent RVSO.

iii. An RVSO with one or more RVSs may have
a. One constitution delineating the operations of the RVSO and separate bylaws delineating the functions and operations of each RVS, or
b. A single constitution and bylaws clearly delineating the operations of the RVSO and the functions and operations of each RVS, or
c. A single bylaws clearly delineating the operations of the RVSO and the functions and operations of each RVS.

b. Admit a nominal number of charter diplomates provided they are members of the veterinary specialty organizing committee, which is limited in number to those essential to conduct the business of the veterinary specialty and to achieve provisional approval. Each charter member must:

i. Be a diplomate of the parent RVSO, or

ii. Be a diplomate of another RVSO recognized by the AVMA, or

iii. Have demonstrated competency through teaching, research, or practice of the veterinary specialty and meet the criteria for members of an organizing committee as specified in Section II, Part D1 of the Policies of the ABVS.

c. A petition for immediate full recognition may be submitted by a veterinary specialty arising from a restructuring of a parent RVSO (or parent RVS). Petitions for immediate full recognition may be submitted by veterinary specialties arising from a restructuring of a parent RVSO following the procedure described in Section III, Part B7. The petition for full recognition will undergo the same review process required for an RVSO. Results of this review must indicate that the veterinary specialty is immediately able to become fully functional and can fulfill its stated objectives. Procedures for recognition will be followed as previously described in Section III, Parts B1 through B4. Section II, Parts B, C, and D will also apply. The petition must:

i. Be prepared and organized as an in-depth report (see Appendix C).

ii. Provide a statement outlining the reasons for, and benefit(s) of restructuring the RVSO into the described veterinary specialties.

iii. Describe the process by which existing RVSO diplomates may be reclassified into the respective veterinary specialties.

iv. Include an organizational chart showing the present and proposed relationships of the veterinary specialties within the RVSO.

2. Letter of Intent - Veterinarians seeking AVMA recognition of a veterinary specialty under an existing RVSO must submit a letter of intent to the AVMA at the earliest possible time. The letter should state that the organizing group has read and understands the standards that the ABVS applies for recommendation of AVMA-recognition; that the organizing group has read the procedures for obtaining AVMA-recognition; that the organizing group has the agreement of the RVSO under which they will organize; and list the members (and their credentials) of the organizing committee.

3.  AVMA Liaisons to Organizing Committee – Once a letter of intent has been received, at the next meeting of the full ABVS (usually in late winter or early spring), the chair of the ABVS will assign two members as liaisons to the organizing group. The representative of the parent RVSO will liaise with the specialty group. An ABVS representative from another RVSO will be appointed as a second liaison. The liaisons shall assist the proposed RVS in preparing the petition for recognition as described in Section II, Parts B and D of the Policies of the ABVS. The liaisons shall submit a written report each year to the CDNS two weeks prior to the annual meeting of the CDNS to document progress of the specialty group’s petition for recognition.

4. Initial Petition for Recognition of the Veterinary Specialty - Within the first two years following the submission of the letter of intent, the organizing committee of the veterinary specialty should submit the information requested in Section II, Part D1 through D5 and D8 of the Policies of the ABVS for evaluation by the CDNS by November 1.

5. Public Comment – After receiving a petition for recognition of a new veterinary specialty, the ABVS will solicit comments from various stakeholders in veterinary medicine to gauge the need for, and public acceptance of, a new veterinary specialty. The organizing committee of the veterinary specialty must submit the information found within Section II, Part D1 through D5 and D8 of the Policies of the ABVS for evaluation by November 1, in order to initiate the period of public comment.

The ABVS CDNS will review the information for completeness at their annual meeting; and, if accepted, the period of public comment will begin. The CDNS will solicit information and opinion from the following groups:

a. The AVMA membership through an announcement in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association and on the AVMA web site.

b. Existing RVSOs

c. Appropriate veterinary societies and academies

d. Appropriate educational, research, governmental, military, commercial, and public bodies.

The CDNS will review the information and opinions gathered by public comment and forward it to the petitioning group by September 1. Concerns and issues raised by the public must be addressed by the petitioning group in the final petition for AVMA recognition.

6. Formal Petition for Recognition – A complete, formal petition for provisional recognition of the veterinary specialty, addressing all concerns identified during the period of public comment, must be submitted to the AVMA by November 1 for consideration during the next meeting of the CDNS. The petition must include a statement of approval from the proposed parent RVSO and contain the same elements as a petition for full recognition (see Section II, Parts B and D of the Policies of the ABVS). The ABVS will review the petition presented and may make appropriate suggestions to the organizing committee regarding additions or corrections. If the petition is found to be complete (as described in Section II Part D of the ABVS P&P) and the petitioning group is found to meet all of the standards in Section II, Part B of the ABVS P&P (with the exceptions noted above in Section III. B. 1. A.), the ABVS will forward the petition along with its recommendation for provisional recognition to the AVMA EB.

7. The AVMA EB will review the petition and the ABVS recommendation for recognition. If the EB does not approve AVMA recognition of the petitioning organization, the petition will be returned to the ABVS with a statement of deficiencies identified.

8. If provisional recognition is granted by the Executive Board, the new RVS may take any necessary steps to complete formalization of its structure and proceeds to function under its constitution and/or bylaws. The specialty may examine and certify candidates, collect dues, and conduct other business as specified in its constitution and/or bylaws. After a veterinary specialty is recognized, its reports (interim and annual) are included in the reports of its parent RVSO. RVSs report directly to the ABVS only by special request.

9. After a minimum of four years but not more than ten years under provisional recognition, a veterinary specialty may submit a request for full recognition to the ABVS through its parent RVSO. The ABVS may grant an extension of the 10-year time limit, if an extension is requested in writing. A request for full recognition of a veterinary specialty will undergo the same in-depth review process required of a RVSO (see Section V, Part B of the Policies of the ABVS) and this review must indicate that the veterinary specialty is fully functional and fulfilling its stated objectives.  An interim report (see Section V, Part C of the Policies of the ABVS) is required in addition to the in-depth report.

10. The AVMA Executive Board makes the final decision to grant or not grant recognition to a veterinary specialty. Decisions of the Executive Board are reported annually to the AVMA House of Delegates.