Meet the Board candidate: Richard Sullivan, DVM

Richard Sullivan, DVMCandidate: District X Director

Biographical statement provided by the candidate.

Richard Sullivan grew up in southern Wisconsin on a family dairy farm participating in 4-H and FFA programs through his first years in college. He attended Wisconsin State College, Platteville, for two years and then graduated from Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine. After spending two years and four months in the Peace Corps in Mato Grosso, Brazil, as an extension veterinarian, he returned to settle in Torrance, Calif., while his wife, Connie, finished her DrPH in epidemiology at UCLA. After four years as an associate, an opportunity to buy into the practice came along and he and Connie decided to stay in California and raise their family there. They have one daughter and two sons; one son is also a veterinarian.

He became part owner of the community emergency clinic and was soon elected to its Board of Directors, which he served on for 30 years.

After a time as co-owner of the practice, Richard ran for a position on the Southern California Veterinary Medical Association’s Board of Trustees, including serving as president. He then become a member of the California Veterinary Medical Association’s Board of Governors, also serving as its president. He served on numerous committees, including being chair of its Legislative Committee and serving as chair of its Animal Welfare Committee for four years. He is still a member of both of those committees.

Richard became active in AVMA by serving on its Judicial Council and on the State Advocacy Committee and was on one of the working groups tasked with developing material for AVMA’s position on telemedicine and telehealth. He was California’s alternate delegate to the AVMA House of Delegates for eight years and then served another eight years as the delegate representing California.

Richard also became interested in the California Veterinary Medical Board (VMB) first being elected by the VMB to serve on its Multidisciplinary Advisory Board (MDC) and then by being appointed to the VMB by Governor Jerry Brown and serving for six years. He is now back on the MDC.

Statement of reason for seeking office
Statement of reason for seeking office provided by the candidate.

In choosing your new AVMA Board Member, the most important qualification to consider should be their commitment to and experience in advocacy on behalf of our members and our profession. Coming legislation, regulations and litigation will affect our members directly and influence their daily practice. Coordinating our collective resources will be necessary to protect our members and maintain the quality of care they provide.

Over the last 25 years, I have acquired the expertise and knowledge to advocate on behalf of our members. Some of the current issues I have worked on are establishing regulations to help our colleagues continue to provide compounded medications for patients, and helping to write guidelines for hemp/marijuana CBD. My experience is needed on the AVMA Board now more than ever, and I am prepared to advocate for our members at every level of government on day-one. I will address the AVMA's budget and seek new revenue sources to protect our members and keep our organization strong. It would be an honor to receive your vote and serve as your new board member for District X.

Leadership Experience
  • AVMA Judicial Council (6 years)
  • AVMA State Advocacy Committee (6 years)
  • AVMA Telemedicine Working Group (1 year)
  • AVMA PAC (1 year till present)
  • AVMA House of Delegate representing California (8 years)
  • AVMA HOD, CA Alt. Delegate (8 years)
  • CVMA's Legislative Committee (25 years to present)
  • CVMA's Animal Welfare Committee (10 years to present)
  • California Veterinary Medical Board (VMB) (6 years)
  • VMB's Multidisciplinary Advisory Board (9 years to present)
  • American Association of Veterinary State Boards Policy Task Force (3 years to present)

Compounding Medications
Our ability to provide in-office vital medications is threatened by regulations that could make it impossible to do any compounding in any practice; equine, production, or companion animal. I have written regulations that will allow California veterinarians to continue simple compounding in their practices. Without such legislation, US Pharmacopeia's guidelines would make compounding impossible.

Can you establish a Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship (VCPR) with a virtual exam? I believe the arguments for being able to establish a VCPR virtually are very weak. My experience with patients bears that out. Once you have a VCPR, you can do all of the telemedicine that makes sense for a particular condition. To practice our profession conscientiously, we must speak up for what is best for our patients, not what is most convenient for the client. And I am prepared for that discussion with my research both on the human side and on the veterinary side.

Stop the Misleading Fairness to Pet Owners Act
The annual struggle to prevent the so-called Fairness to Pet Owners Act from becoming federal law is ongoing. I will continue to reach out to federal representatives to prevent any law forcing us to write unnecessary prescriptions. Such laws take time away from caring for our patients and create unnecessary clerical work.

Dosage Guidelines for Hemp/Marijuana CBD
I helped write state guidelines for the discussion of the use of hemp/marijuana CBD with our clients. At this point, I am not interested in recommending the use of a particular product but believe that it is essential for all veterinarians to be able to recommend a safe dose to our clients who presently are getting that information from their local budtender. What we need now is a statute that will allow us to recommend a safe dosage of CBD.

Funding for the AVMA
The AVMA is on very stable financial footing at this time, but I am concerned about the number of members that are joining the Honor Roll every year. We are losing roughly $250,000.00 dollars in dues each year. We must keep the AVMA funded to fully advocate for our members and find new ways to generate non-dues revenue.

I am prepared to address the above issues and more. With over 25 years of experience advocating on behalf of our profession, I have earned the recognition of distinguished leaders in our field and our professional organizations. Please visit for more information about my campaign for AVMA Board District X. There you will find my growing list of endorsements and testimonials by respected leaders in our profession.

Finally, it would be my great honor to represent Hawaii, Nevada and California on the Board of Directors and I humbly ask for your vote.

Follow My Campaign:
DickatRichardSullivan4AVMA [dot] com (Dick[at]RichardSullivan4AVMA[dot]com)
(310) 707-8514