Talks bridge AVMA, AAVSB relations, but not dual programs

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The outcome of sustained talks in which the AVMA and the American Association of Veterinary State Boards strived to reach accords on a single foreign veterinary graduate certification program and a unified model practice act became evident after a January 21 meeting of the AVMA/AAVSB Joint Committee.

The positive result is a closer working relationship that both organizations say they are committed to maintaining. Discussions between the two groups about collaborating on a foreign graduate certification program and model practice act have ended, however, and each organization has resumed work on its own programs.

The AAVSB has reinstated its Program for the Assessment of Veterinary Education Equivalence, and the National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners plans to offer the next qualifying examination Aug. 15, 2002.

The AAVSB also will proceed with its Veterinary Medicine Practice Act Model, which was accepted by the association's Executive Committee last June. The AVMA House of Delegates approved the current AVMA Model Veterinary Practice Act in 1997.

The decision to maintain their respective programs came after a legal review by AVMA counsel turned up ambiguities within a draft conditional resolution regarding the ECFVG and PAVE programs, which was considered by the AVMA and AAVSB last fall.

In a Feb. 6 letter, AAVSB president, Dr. James R. Corley told his board members: "While the final product of intense negotiations resulted in both AAVSB and AVMA moving ahead with their own foreign graduate programs and model act documents, both groups emerged from the meetings with a better understanding. We remain committed to improved, appropriate, communication in the future."

The AVMA Executive Board has also reaffirmed its commitment to continue dialogue with the AAVSB on issues of mutual concern. The organizations share an interest, for example, in the issue of questionable practices by Internet pharmacies and are discussing the possibility of meeting to address the topic.

As a vehicle for this continued interaction, the AVMA proposed formation of a standing committee comprising three AAVSB and three AVMA representatives. Instead, the AAVSB opted for a group that would be assembled on an as-needed basis.

ECFVG program enhancements set in motion
The AVMA Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates is redoubling its efforts to ensure that the ECFVG program continues to be the best possible certification process, meeting the needs of foreign graduates, veterinary state boards, the public, and the profession.

The ECFVG continued the enhancement process it began several years ago at a Jan. 26-27, 2002 meeting chaired by Dr. Wallace B. Baze, University of Texas. The meeting and agenda had been scheduled for Sept. 14-15 but were deferred after the terrorist attacks.

Earlier in January, the Executive Board authorized the appointment of an ad hoc committee to review the ECFVG program and make suggestions for enhancement, as appropriate. Board Chair Bonnie V. Beaver attended the Jan. 26-27 ECFVG meeting and told members that when the board meets April 5-6, it will be asked to approve the structure of the new ECFVG ad hoc committee.

Concerns identified in the AVMA/AAVSB draft conditional resolution had already been receiving ECFVG attention. At its January meeting, the ECFVG resumed that work and took the next steps to address two of those areas.

First, the ECFVG is aware of concerns raised in several quarters that candidates may be allowed to complete the four steps of the certification process out of order. The ECFVG is sending letters to each state board of examiners encouraging them to require that candidates complete step 1 (registration and proof of graduation from an AVMA-listed college of veterinary medicine) and step 2 (the English language requirement) before step 3 (the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination).

Second, the ECFVG discussed concerns about whether the NAVLE is appropriate for measuring preclinical knowledge, the step 3 objective. The ECFVG recommended that the Executive Board fund a consulting group to formulate a cost and feasibility estimate for developing a new examination. As another option, the ECFVG will ask the National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners whether it would permit use of the qualifying examination developed for the AAVSB Program for the Assessment of Veterinary Education Equivalence as step 3 of the ECFVG program, either in the current form or a modified version. While investigating alternatives, the ECFVG will continue using the NAVLE.

The fourth and final step in the ECFVG process requires candidates to pass the Clinical Proficiency Examination or complete a year of evaluated clinical experience.

The ECFVG will continue its work with The Chauncey Group International, a subsidiary of the Educational Testing Service, to implement enhancements to the CPE process. Last year, the consulting firm performed an audit of the CPE. At the January meeting, Chauncey representatives reported that the audit found the current structure of the CPE to be strong. To ensure that the CPE continues to measure what was originally intended and that administration and scoring of the CPE remain standard, Chauncey will complete a task analysis for the CPE.

The ECFVG is also finalizing a contract with Chauncey to conduct an audit of the evaluated clinical year. The Executive Board approved this initiative in 2000. The goal of the audit is to better standardize the clinical experience. A previous ECFVG proposal to eliminate this step 4 pathway had met with criticism from some.