Board rallies to support VMAT

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Evidence of a substantial upward trend in donations to the AVMF Disaster Relief Emergency Fund notwithstanding, the Veterinary Medical Assistance Teams currently have unmet, immediate needs.

The Executive Board deliberated over a recommendation from AVMA president, Dr. Leonard F. Seda and president-elect, Dr. James E. Nave to approve an annual $50,000 budget line item to fund the ongoing needs of these teams.

In 1993 the board approved the AVMA Emergency Preparedness Plan, which provided for creation of the VMAT. According to a memorandum of understanding the AVMA signed that same year with the National Disaster Medical System/US Public Health Service, the PHS was to assist in obtaining supplies and equipment for the VMAT from federal sources and donors. The remaining financial needs were to be met through donations to the AVMF.

Since then the NDMS has provided limited training money, and some VMAT have obtained items from the Defense Reutilization Management Office (military surplus equipment). Most of the federal support provided by the NDMS, however, has been directed toward human rather than veterinary medicine.

The Iams Company became the primary supporter of the Veterinary Medical Assistance Teams by making a five-year pledge to the AVMF. Iams funding continues to support the VMAT training exercises and equipment needs, supplemented by other donations.

Recognizing the importance of disaster relief work and the current funding shortfall, the board approved assistance for VMAT needs. Rather than making this a budget line item as recommended, the board authorized $50,000 in funding for 2000 from the AVMA reserves.