VMAT: The AVMA's Veterinary Medical Assistance Teams (FAQ)

Q:  When was the AVMA VMAT program created?
A: The AVMA created the Veterinary Medical Assistance Team program after Hurricane Andrew in 1992. In 1993 a Memorandum of Understanding between the AVMA and the Department of Health and Human Services was signed which established the VMAT program as a public-private partnership to assist in providing veterinary emergency preparedness and response.

Q:  What does the new MOU between AVMA and HHS do?
A: The AVMA and the Department of Health and Human Services signed an updated MOU in early 2008 which encourages continued communication and collaboration between both parties. It also distinguishes the AVMA VMAT program as a separate program from the federal government's National Veterinary Response Team program.

Q:  Are the AVMA VMAT teams currently deployable?
A: Yes, as of May 1, 2009 the AVMA VMAT are on call and ready to assist states when requested by the appropriate state animal health authority. Before a VMAT can be deployed, the requesting state must have a signed Memorandum of Understanding on file with the AVMA. The VMAT program can provide operational emergency response teams to states as early assessors of veterinary infrastructure or to provide basic veterinary treatment in assisting state animal health authorities. VMAT team members are also available to provide preparedness programs to states, veterinary medical associations and other relevant organizations.

This new direction for the VMAT program is not intended to supplant current state programs or initiatives, rather to enhance existing efforts and assist in establishing programs where necessary. The re-launched AVMA VMAT program is supported generously by the American Veterinary Medical Foundation.