AAVMC works toward strategic plan

Animal welfare panel, educational symposium round out annual meeting
Published on May 01, 2008
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 The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges took steps at its annual meeting this past spring to develop a strategic plan. It will be the association's first formal strategic plan in its 41-year history. 


Drs. J.T. Vaughan, dean emeritus at Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine;
Marguerite Pappaioanou, AAVMC executive director; and Timothy Boosinger, AAVMC president

The association began the process shortly after Dr. Marguerite Pappaioanou joined the group as executive director in November, and is building on the findings of the AAVMC-sponsored Foresight Report. Released in early 2007, the report addresses how veterinary medical education must adapt in preparing veterinarians to respond to the future needs of society.

At the opening plenary session, Dr. Michael Chaddock, AAVMC deputy director, provided an outline of the strategic planning process under way. "We're taking a wide pulse of all the people we work with and work for, on where they think the AAVMC should be going in the future," he said.

Another plenary session highlight was a presentation by Dr. Gregory S. Hammer, AVMA president, about the progress of the ongoing AVMA strategic planning process.

Following the plenary session, and over the course of the three-day meeting, six groups of 10 people each, including individuals from member veterinary colleges and schools, came together to zero in on what issues should be the focus of the association. The AAVMC plans to have a final draft of the strategic plan—outlining the association's vision, goals, and objectives—to present at its 2009 annual meeting in March.

Also at the meeting, the AAVMC Animal Care and Welfare Committee hosted a panel on what veterinary students should be taught in the area of animal care and welfare.

Panel participants were Dr. Gail C. Golab, director of the AVMA Animal Welfare Division; Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States; Dr. Chester Gipson, associate administrator of the Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's Animal Care Unit; and Dr. Patricia A. Brown, director of the National Institutes of Health Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare.

"Our intent was to stimulate dialogue among all the various points of view on animal care and welfare as to what the educational needs on this topic are, and we think we successfully met this goal," Dr. Chaddock said, noting that the discussion was well-attended.

The AAVMC also held its biennial educational symposium, "Assessing Clinical Competency—Our Professional Responsibility," in conjunction with the annual meeting. The 150 participants studied how to provide measured outcomes of clinical competency at the veterinary colleges and schools. Speakers came from various health professions, in addition to veterinary medicine, to share their experiences and expert assessment skills.

Another meeting highlight was the AAVMC Recognition Lecture presented by Dr. J.T. Vaughan, dean emeritus at Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine, titled "Observations of the professional galaxy through a humble telescope."

Along with Dr. Vaughan, the AAVMC recognized two other leaders during its meetings. Dr. Leon H. Russell, president of the World Veterinary Association, earned the Senator John Melcher, DVM, Leadership in Public Policy Award. Dr. Russell is a professor at Texas A&M University's College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. He served as AVMA president from 1993-1994.

The annual award is given for leadership in public policy for advancing veterinary medical education. Senator John Melcher was the first winner of the award, which was presented in 2007.

Dr. S. Kathleen Salisbury

Dr. S. Kathleen Salisbury received the 2007 National Carl J. Norden-Pfizer Distinguished Teacher Award—the nation's top award in veterinary medical education. She is assistant dean for academic affairs at the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Salisbury maintains one of the heaviest teaching loads of any faculty member at the school. She teaches courses in each of the four years of the DVM program, and is consistently cited by students for her teaching skills, surgical skills, high expectations, and caring attitude. She is involved in every aspect of life at the school—courses, administrative work, and extracurricular activities.

Based in Washington, D.C., the AAVMC represents and coordinates the affairs, domestically and internationally, for all 28 veterinary medical colleges in the United States, nine departments of veterinary science, seven departments of comparative medicine, two animal medical centers, and the Department of Defense AMEDD. In addition, 12 international veterinary institutions from Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand are AAVMC member institutions. The association's total budget for 2008 is approximately $3 million, with 85 percent of its funding coming from membership dues and student veterinary college application service fees.