Board of Directors meeting summary, September 2015

Published on September 16, 2015
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By: Dr. John de Jong, Board of Directors Chair; Dr. Joe Kinnarney, AVMA President; Dr. Tim Montgomery, House Advisory Committee Chair; Dr. Ron DeHaven, AVMA Executive Vice President

Dr. John de JongJust as the AVMA rolled out our new brand and logo this summer in Boston, we would like to recognize a new day at the AVMA. As part of the new day at the AVMA, we would like to foster improved lines of communication. It is to this goal that we share with you this synopsis of what transpired at the recent Board meeting.

The board is in the midst of an assessment of our function and efficacy, and we discussed the results so far. Using BoardSource and an experienced consultant, the initial step was to survey the Board and staff leadership and create a scorecard that would help us better evaluate our strengths as well as areas that need improvement. All of our self-assessment ‘grades’ were in the B and C range, which the consultant told us were expected and acceptable at this stage of the review. In general, we feel that we’ve been more effective on an operational level than a strategic level, and that provides opportunity for us to improve and focus on the strategic role. The difference between operational and strategic functions, and the role of the Board in each type of function, was discussed.

We held breakout sessions and set priorities for moving forward, including improving communication with efforts such as this synopsis. We also plan to address the need for better orientation and continued training of board members; better clarification of roles and decision-making parameters between officers, entities and staff; aligning board subcommittees with the business units to facilitate board-staff interaction; development of a succession plan for the association’s staff leadership; and increased environmental scanning. Regarding the latter, there is strong support among Board members to more effectively utilize the House of Delegates (HOD) in surfacing and discussing issues of importance to the profession.

We were updated on the Strategy Management Process (SMP) and the progress made toward better serving our members. Excellent progress has been made on the digital strategies (both internal and external/marketing), and an integrated marketing plan is in development in cooperation with the business units and guided by the SMP. The AVMF’s new director, Debborah Harp, was introduced, and we’re looking forward to seeing the Foundation move forward with its new leadership. Our sincere thanks go to Dr. Cheryl Eia, who pulled ‘double duty’ for the last few months to keep the Foundation moving forward.

We received updates on the AVMA’s financial health (all is well!), ongoing AVMF efforts, the AAVMC’s 50th anniversary, and activities of the Women’s Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative.

We were updated on the Advisory Panel Pilot program, and discussed items that we will request they address – including telemedicine. Regarding telemedicine, the board will instruct the (pilot) Practice Advisory Panel to seek input from the HOD and insurance trusts in addition to member channels. We also need to keep in mind that recommendations regarding telemedicine could impact the Model Veterinary Practice Act and Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics. You’ll be seeing more information about the advisory panel pilot very soon, including opportunities for providing your input.

As requested by the HOD, Resolution 8-2015 (Policy on Veterinary Pharmacology Education for Pharmacists) was referred to the Council on Biologic & Therapeutic Agents for further review with background information. Similarly, Resolution 9-2015 (Revised Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics) was referred to the Judicial Council.

We elected members to the vacant positions in the Convention Education Program Committee, and we’re looking forward to a great convention next summer. Dr. Molly McAllister was elected chair, Dr. Christine O’Rourke was elected to chair-elect, and Dr. John Sanders was elected section manager of professional development.

Contingent upon a written request from the New York State Veterinary Medical Society, we approved the preparation of an amicus brief regarding recent legislative efforts in New York City that would place restrictions on pet shops. From a veterinary perspective, and for the focus of the brief, the proposed legislation would not allow for a veterinarian’s judgment regarding the decision when to spay or neuter. The preparation of an AVMA amicus brief would be limited in scope to the practice of veterinary medicine.

In the realm of AVMA’s role as a trusted convener, we approved a recommendation for a professional wellness roundtable, and will partner with AAVMC and Michigan State CVM on a student debt/education economic summit. As you’re already aware, both issues are first and foremost in the minds of students and recent grads in particular.

We also held a discussion about opening lines of communication to resolve conflicts with a number of individuals and groups, in the interest of further uniting the profession and moving forward together instead of creating divides that interfere with progress.

We’re pleased to announce that the model animal welfare curriculum development group’s hard work has paid off, and their final report was accepted and will be widely distributed and publicized.

During our environmental scanning breakout sessions and the follow-up group discussion, the board identified some areas of particular interest: increasing the reach of AVMA’s media relations and the utilization of more members and volunteer leaders; improving communication between the board and the HOD; scope of practice and competition from non-veterinarians as well as low-cost/no-cost/not-for-profit clinics; and engaging our members more effectively regarding our advocacy on behalf of the profession.


Dr. John de Jong, Board of Directors Chair

Dr. Joe Kinnarney, AVMA President

Dr. Tim Montgomery, House Advisory Committee Chair

Dr. Ron DeHaven, AVMA Executive Vice President


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