If an emerging disease of substantial clinical importance were to be discovered in the United States, and gaps existed in research funds available to study it, the AVMA could now help lead the research effort and assist practitioners - and potentially, public health officials - in addressing it.
In its second appearance before the board last year, a Council on Research proposal to establish a Rapid Response Research Fund was approved, and $15,000 was allocated. The funds are placed in a restricted account that can be accessed only by the Executive Board.
Providing a mechanism for activating immediate research on emerging diseases is an essential element of the Strategic Approach to Promote Veterinary Research, approved in concept by the Executive Board a year ago. The Rapid Response Research Fund would establish a broad-based sentinel network for rapid detection and an action/management process.
Last April, reservations about fund management led the board to refer the Rapid Response Research Fund proposal back to the council for a clearer definition of funding requirements and management. When the council resubmitted the proposal in the fall, this issue was addressed. The cost as proposed by the council, however, remained $100,000. After lengthy discussions of various options, the board amended the cost to $15,000 in restricted funds. The primary goal of the fund is to provide seed money quickly that will stimulate additional funding.