State intervention emphasized in new AVMA wellness approach

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The AVMA Executive Board adopted a new model program on wellness to serve as a resource for state and local programs working to address issues such as addiction, compassion fatigue, profession burnout, anger management, eating disorders, and depression.

The AVMA Committee on Wellness developed the new program. It replaces the AVMA Model Program to Assist Chemically Impaired Individuals, which was outdated and addressed only addiction. The new model program will be made available in the AVMA Membership Directory and Resource Manual and on the AVMA Web site,, in the Peer Assistance area of the Member Center.

In a related move, the board voted to sunset the AVMA Committee on Wellness, a decision that will save the AVMA $6,800 in 2004 and $13,600 annually thereafter. The Government Performance Review Committee recently conducted a performance evaluation of the committee and found that committee has offered substantial expertise on addiction and peer assistance. However, the wellness issues facing the profession have expanded in scope—taking in issues as varied as compassion fatigue and eating disorders—and that these issues are increasingly being addressed at the local level.

"The job is better done at the state and local level," said Dr. Gregory S. Hammer, a board member representing District II and liaison to the GPRC.

Other AVMA committees will absorb the charges of the Committee on Wellness.