Many faces, one profession

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More than 400 positions exist on AVMA councils, committees, and task forces. To showcase the diverse backgrounds and expertise of the volunteers who serve on them and to inspire even more AVMA members to participate, JAVMA News will feature a few entities each month. To be a candidate for one of 78 current vacancies, go here, or contact officeevpatavma [dot] org (officeevp[at]avma[dot]org).

Legislative Advisory Committee
Seated: Dr. David Carron, Susan Land, and Dr. Gregg Cutler. Front row: Dr. Gerald Schmoling, Dr. Larry Kornegay, Dr. Vern Otte, Dr. Harry Snelson, and Dr. Bennie Osburn. Back row: Dr. Daniel Lafontaine, Dr. John Scamahorn, Dr. George Bishop, Dr. LaRue Johnson, Dr. Mark Spire, and Dr. Robert Lewis. Not pictured: Dr. David McCrystle and Dr. Stacy Pritt.

Legislative Advisory Committee

Charge/mission: The purpose of the committee is to assist the AVMA Executive Board in formulating and implementing AVMA legislative policy and AVMA positions on federal regulatory proposals.


Dr. Larry Kornegay (TEX '71), chair, Antoine Little York Animal Clinic, Houston; representing the AVMA Executive Board
Dr. David Carron (MSU '77), Plaza Veterinary Hospital, Farmington, Mich., representing the American Animal Hospital Association
Dr. Charles Hofacre (OSU '84), University of Georgia; representing the American Association of Avian Pathologists
Dr. Mark Spire (TEX '74), Schering Plough Animal Health, Manhattan, Kan.; representing the American Association of Bovine Practitioners
Dr. Gerald Schmoling (MSU '83), business consultant, Tampa, Fla.; representing the American Association of Corporate and Public Practice Veterinarians
Dr. Robert Lewis (LSU '77), Elgin Veterinary Hospital, Elgin, Texas; representing the American Association of Equine Practitioners
Dr. Daniel Lafontaine (OSU '67), Clemson University, representing the American Association of Food Hygiene Veterinarians
Dr. LaRue Johnson (MIN '60), Colorado State University, representing the American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners
Dr. Harry Snelson (NCU '90), Burgaw, N.C.; representing the American Association of Swine Veterinarians
Dr. Stacy Pritt (WSU '97), Covance Research Products, Denver, Pa.; representing the American Society of Laboratory Animal Practitioners
Dr. Bennie Osburn (KSU '61), University of California-Davis, representing the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges
Dr. Vern Otte (KSU '75), State Line Animal Hospital, Leawood, Kan.; representing the AVMA Political Action Committee Policy Board
Dr. David McCrystle (CAL '67), Healdsburg Veterinary Hospital, Healdsburg, Calif.; representing the AVMA Executive Board
Dr. George Bishop (OSU '65), Animal Hospital at the Crossroads, Carmel, Calif.; representing the AVMA House of Delegates
Susan Land (TEX '11), Texas A&M University, representing the Student AVMA

Recent meaningful accomplishments:

Dr. Mark Lutschaunig, director of the AVMA Governmental Relations Division, said the Legislative Advisory Committee made policy recommendations to the Executive Board regarding more than 70 pieces of legislation during the 110th Congress.

The LAC was integral to the AVMA's legislative successes, Dr. Lutschaunig said. The Farm Bill included authorization for the Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank and language to expedite implementation of the National Veterinary Medical Service Act. The latter, a loan repayment program for veterinarians in shortage areas, also received appropriations for fiscal 2008 and 2009.

How is your entity addressing the profession's pressing issues?

Dr. Lutschaunig said, "The LAC is involved in many aspects of the veterinary profession—including, but not limited to, small business issues, health care issues, bio- and agro-security, veterinary shortages, public health issues, and animal health and welfare issues."

How is the entity addressing the strategic or operational goals of the AVMA?

Dr. Larry Kornegay, committee chair, said the legislation that the LAC tracks is relevant to the AVMA's critical issues—veterinary workforce, veterinary education, animal welfare, economic viability, and veterinary services.

Animal Welfare Committee
Front row: Drs. David Miller, Steven Smith (aquatic animal medicine alternate), Bruce Nixon, and Chester Gipson (consultant). Middle row: Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore, Jamie Swoboda, Dr. Wendy Underwood, Dr. Lisa Tokach, Lisa Perius (VMA executives alternate), Veronica Jennings, and Dr. Lauren Keating. Back row: Drs. Jose Linares, Joseph Snyder, Nat Messer, James Reynolds, Daniel Marsman, and Julie Dinnage

Animal Welfare Committee

Charge/mission: The committee's charge includes seeking information pertaining to animal welfare issues from groups internal and external to the AVMA and identifying and evaluating animal welfare issues to determine those important to the Association.


Dr. James Reynolds (CAL '82), chair, Visalia, Calif.; representing bovine practitioners
Dr. Julie Dinnage (WIS '92), Scottsdale, Ariz.; representing humane or animal welfare organizations
Veronica Jennings, Amgen Inc., South San Francisco; representing state VMAs
Dr. Lauren Keating (TUS '83), Natural Bridge Hospital for Animals, Natural Bridge, Va.; representing companion animal practitioners
Glenn Kolb, Oregon VMA, Salem, Ore.; representing VMA executives
Dr. Jose Linares (PUR '91), TVMDL Poultry Diagnostic Laboratory, Gonzales, Tex.; representing avian veterinarians
Dr. Daniel Marsman (MSU '86), Procter & Gamble, Cincinnati; representing corporate and public practice veterinarians
Dr. Jennifer Matysczak (UP '03), Derwood, Md.; representing aquatic animal medicine
Dr. Nathaniel Messer (COL '71), Columbia, Mo.; representing equine veterinarians
Dr. David Miller (WIS '92), Loveland, Colo.; representing zoo and wildlife medicine
Dr. Bruce Nixon (TEX '85), College Station, Texas; representing avian veterinarians
Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore (TUF '97), Cat Care Clinic, Madison, Wis.; representing feline veterinarians
Dr. Joseph Snyder (ORS '83), Myrtle Veterinary Hospital, Myrtle Point, Ore.; representing small ruminant veterinarians
Jamie Swoboda (MO '11), Columbia, Mo.; representing Student AVMA
Dr. Lisa Tokach (MIN '90), Abilene Animal Hospital, Abilene, Kan.; representing swine veterinarians
Dr. Patricia Turner (ONT '92), University of Guelph Ontario Veterinary College; representing veterinary medical colleges
Dr. Wendy Underwood (NCU '89), Eli Lilly and Co., Indianapolis; representing laboratory animal practitioners

What current project(s) are you most excited about?

The Animal Welfare Committee has been discussing options for increasing AVMA member involvement in the policymaking process, said Dr. Gail C. Golab, director of the AVMA Animal Welfare Division and staff consultant to the committee. Discussions are preliminary but include ideas such as posting a schedule of when policies will be reviewed, facilitating interactive feedback via the AVMA Web site, and hosting town hall meetings at various major veterinary conferences, she said.

A recent meaningful accomplishment:

The committee has been updating all its policies in line with the AVMA strategic goal to be "an advocate for and a science-based resource on animal welfare," Dr. Golab said. Over the past two years, committee members have reviewed and taken action on most of the 50-plus policies for which they have oversight responsibility.

How is your entity addressing the profession's pressing issues?

Dr. Golab said one of the profession's most pressing issues in the animal welfare arena is education in animal welfare science and ethics for veterinarians and veterinary students. Committee members are currently planning a two-and-a-half day international symposium on animal welfare education, research, and advocacy that will take place at Michigan State University in November 2009.

How is the entity addressing the strategic or operational goals of the AVMA?

Chair James Reynolds said the AVMA has a strategic goal of being the leading advocate for animal welfare and to be a science-based research resource on animal welfare. Members of the AWC represent all areas of veterinary medicine, he said, and, together with the Animal Welfare Division, the committee provides the basis for the AVMA to advocate welfare positions to the Association's constituencies, legislatures, and the public.