AVMA fellows requirements expanded, solicitation policy revised

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The Executive Board has added several additional requirements for veterinarians applying to the AVMA Congressional Science and Executive Branch Fellowship program. In addition, the policy on the Association's soliciting of donations from AVMA constituent groups and members for the fellowship was revised to offset the rising costs associated with offering the program.

Since 1993, the only formal requirement to be an AVMA fellow was that each applicant must be a U.S. citizen. District II board member, Dr. Gregory S. Hammer, recommended six additional criteria to provide the AVMA Fellowship Selection Committee with a standard set of selection conditions.

In addition, given the growing number of applicants and the new fellowship in the executive branch of government, the requirements will allow the committee to make their decisions on standard criteria as outlined by policy.

Under the new criteria, in addition to the citizenship requirement, a fellow must be an AVMA member; have the ability to write persuasively and convincingly; possess a broad knowledge of veterinary medicine and be able to apply that knowledge in various settings; pass a background check given by the federal government; and be involved in local, national, or specialty veterinary organizations. The fellow must abide by the Fellowship Ethics Statement and not serve on any AVMA or constituent organization legislative bodies, councils, committees, or task forces, or hold any AVMA constituent organization office as an AVMA fellow.

Board members also approved the following revised fellowship policy, recommended by Dr. Hammer, at a cost of $10,000:

The AVMA will solicit contributions from organizations and individuals to assist in supporting the AVMA fellowship program. These funds will augment AVMA budgeted funds, and will be used to enhance the marketing of the fellowship program and the orientation of the Fellows, provide career guidance to recent Fellows and encouragement for them to remain in the public policy domain, and to maintain a former Fellows network.

Traditionally, AVMA constituent organizations and members have annually donated several thousand dollars both directly and through the American Veterinary Medical Foundation to offset the costs of the fellowship program. These donations continue, despite the transfer of the program's administration from the AVMF to the AVMA.

To continue the program's success, the AVMA will mail fundraising letters to organizations and individuals. This money would provide additional support to the AVMA budgeted money for the program and would allow extensive advertising and networking opportunities. These funds would go toward the production of advertising materials for the fellowship and events for current and prospective fellows, along with additional miscellaneous costs.