Dr. Jan E. Bartels
Dr. Jan E. Bartels, former chair of the AVMA Executive Board, declared his intent to run for 2002-2003 AVMA president-elect during the Candidates' Introductory Breakfast, July 12. No one else announced they were running for the office at that time.
The Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Puerto Rico veterinary medical associations nominated Dr. Bartels. Friend and colleague Dr. Marcus F. Martin, the Alabama delegate in the AVMA House of Delegates, introduced the candidate, saying, "Every organization Jan has been associated with has asked him to lead, serve, and create action."
Dr. Bartels' speech covered a range of topics, from the need for leaders to be effective cross-generational communicators to some of the challenges facing the veterinary profession. He touched on the values that define him, characterizing himself as a member of the "classic pre-boomer" generation: loyal to employer and loyal to organization. "I enjoy leading. I have excellent work ethics; I'm organized, responsible, certainly conventional, and very resilient," he said.
Dr. Bartels has spent much of his professional career in academia and organized veterinary medicine. He is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Radiology and former head of the radiology department at Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine. For more than three decades he has been active in state and national veterinary medical associations. With the AVMA, Dr. Bartels has served on several councils and committees and represented District III on the Executive Board before being elected chair last year. Good organizational leaders, he explained, are responsive to the membership and do not use power and money to their own ends. Good leaders are also accountable. Organizations with no membership oversight or accountability exist only for themselves. Contrast this with the AVMA, which abides by the will of its 68,000-plus members in the interest of animal and public health, Dr. Bartels said.
Dr. Bartels sharply criticized the American Association of Veterinary State Boards for what he sees as an attempt "to decrease the value of the [veterinary degree]." That association supports adoption by state licensing boards of an untested model practice act developed by the AAVSB, which includes an alternative to the AVMA Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates program.
The ECFVG program is a critical means for evaluating the competency of foreign graduates from veterinary schools that are not AVMA-approved. There are 43,000 veterinary graduates each year in the European Union, many of whom want to practice in the United States, according to Dr. Bartels. If the AAVSB's alternative to the ECFVG program were adopted by state licensing boards, these veterinarians would be eligible to sit for licensure in the United States without clinical assessment.
Dr. Bartels did, however, extend an olive branch to the AAVSB, requesting that they and the AVMA work together to update the model practice act. Delegates to the AAVSB did ultimately approve a resolution to further develop the revised version of the AAVSB act.
If elected president-elect, Dr. Bartels promised to carry on his predecessors' opposition to the AAVSB initiative and protect the value of the veterinary degree. If that value is compromised, he said, veterinarians and the public would pay the price. "DVMs will sacrifice a lot," he said. "But I've never seen a DVM willing to sacrifice his degree."
Dr. Bartels closed his speech with an explanation of what the AVMA is to him. "AVMA is not what I do," he said. "It is who I am and what I stand for."