AVMA designates Executive Branch Fellowship

Published on
information-circle This article is more than 3 years old

A recommendation from the AVMA Legislative Advisory Committee approved by the Executive Board coverts one of the three existing AVMA Congressional Fellowships to an Executive Branch Fellowship. This means that it is anticipated beginning in 2004, one of the fellows will work for a federal agency, such as the new Department of Homeland Security, rather than in Congress.

The AVMA and American Veterinary Medical Foundation participate in the American Association for the Advancement of Science program as sponsors for the Congressional Fellowship Program. The AVMA and AVMF select up to three fellows each year and sponsor their participation. The fellows spend one year on Capitol Hill serving as technical and scientific advisers to members of Congress or on congressional committees.

The LAC believes that converting one of the fellowships to an Executive Branch Fellowship would provide veterinarians with an invaluable public policy learning experience that they can use to influence future local, state, or national public policy.

Each year, the AVMA Executive Branch Fellow could be placed in a different Executive Branch office, based on the need for scientific expertise in the agency and the learning opportunity offered by that office.

Before approving the recommendation, board members debated the merits of making such a designation in the fellowship program. Dr. Robert E. Hertzog, District VII representative, supports placing a veterinarian in one of the federal agencies, given the emphasis on biosecurity and agroterrorism. This is the time to get involved, he said.

"We have an opportunity to really make an impression on biosecurity and food safety," Dr. Gregory S. Hammer, District II representative, said.

But several other board members were not as certain the Executive Branch designation was a good idea. They were concerned that an executive-level fellow might not wield the same influence as he or she does at the legislative level.

A majority of the board approved the recommendation; it was then approved by consensus that the first Executive Branch Fellow is to serve in the Department of Homeland Security.