Policy actions-and definitions-approved

Published on May 01, 2006
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Besides deciding on recommendations related to AVMA policy and advocacy actions, the Executive Board considered four recommendations involving the categorization of official AVMA actions themselves.

The board approved exclusive use of the term "policy" to describe official actions of the Association, including items currently recorded in the Digest of Official Actions as "position." The terms have historically been used interchangeably.

Three categories for AVMA policy were established. Operational policy affects the operation of the Association. Professional policy affects the practice of veterinary medicine. Endorsed policy is policy adopted by an organization other than the AVMA that is then endorsed or adopted by the Association.

The board approved changes to the 1998 AVMA policy—on policy—to reflect the new terminology. The two-page document begins by stating: "Policy is a dynamic body of guidelines that evolve as the needs and circumstances of the association dictate." The document refers to AVMA policies as the guiding principles of the Association that reflect the views of the membership on the issues addressed.

The board also approved a protocol to effect uniform recording of board actions involving review of AVMA policies.

New and upcoming policies

The board approved a Policy on Strategically Coordinated Communications from the Council on Communications that was based on terminology recommended last year by the Task Force on Communications. A communications model with a strategically coordinated framework will provide consistent delivery of messages and make the Association's communications more effective and efficient.

A general transparency policy will be drafted this year directing the AVMA's releasing of information to internal and external audiences. The Executive Board allocated $6,800 for a meeting at which the transparency subcommittees of the Council on Communications and Member Services Committee will draft a policy for board consideration in November. The subcommittees were formed in response to the board's approval last July of a Communications Task Force recommendation directing the council and committee to develop the policy.

To guide the AVMA's handling and privacy protection of e-mail addresses, including those of its members, the board approved a detailed Policy for the Use and Management of Email and Similar Electronic Communication Identifiers. The policy aligns AVMA practices with current professional and legal standards. One desired result is that more AVMA members will provide their e-mail addresses to the Association.

The board approved revisions to the following AVMA policies and guidelines, as recommended by various AVMA entities: Guidelines for Animal Assisted Activity, Animal-Assisted Therapy and Resident Animal Programs; Policy on Brucellosis Infection of Bison and Elk in the Greater Yellowstone Area; Policy on Dog Bites; AVMA Guidelines for Horse Show Veterinarians; Policy on Milk Quality; Policy on National Animal Identification System; and Policy on Pets in Senior, Disabled, and Multifamily Public Housing.

For strategic planning purposes, the board approved the vision statement Healthy Animals 2010, to define more precisely the concept of the policy Research for Healthy Animals 2010. The statement outlines principles for improving the health of the nation's animal population in the next five years, including promoting practical understanding and deeper knowledge of the value of veterinary research.

The board also reaffirmed two AVMA documents—the Guidelines for Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine, and endorsement of the California VMA's Golden Rules of Pet Ownership.