Major changes in store for Auxiliary

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The Auxiliary to the AVMA will draft new bylaws, form a committee to examine its finances, and consider granting student scholarships.

Auxiliary members
Members of the Auxiliary to the AVMA Executive Board share a laugh during the Auxiliary's House of Delegates meeting Aug. 2 in conjunction with the AVMA Annual Convention in Atlanta.

The organization's leaders also indicated they plan to strengthen their partnerships with, and increase their support for, the AVMA and the American Veterinary Medical Foundation.

The decisions and announcements came during the Auxiliary's House of Delegates meeting Aug. 2 in Atlanta, which was held in conjunction with the AVMA Annual Convention. About 50 Auxiliary members and guests were present for the session, which included questions about finances and the future of Auxiliary programs.

The delegates received a budget and abbreviated auditor's report, but numerous delegates requested more information about the costs and benefits of the Kritters Korner shops, which are brought to four conventions annually (including the AVMA Annual Convention), and the income and management expenses for the Auxiliary Student Loan Fund. The delegates then voted to direct the Auxiliary Executive Board to form a committee that will examine finances for the organization.

Auxiliary member Karen Hammer indicated that providing scholarships from the student loan fund could help to reduce the heavy debt burden of veterinary students, and she inquired as to the process that would be needed to begin providing such scholarships. Several other members indicated they support using the student loan fund to provide scholarships, even if it reduces the size of the student loan fund.

Ginger Brainard, PhD, then president of the Auxiliary, said she hopes the Auxiliary Executive Board can, by the 2011 Auxiliary House of Delegates meeting, develop and present to the delegates a plan and process for providing scholarships. She finished her one-year presidency at the meeting.

Mitzi Brown, the Auxiliary's new president, said that she expects members will demand that the organization begin distributing scholarships, a concept that had support in the Auxiliary's Futuristic Thinkers meeting two days earlier.

Dr. Ron DeHaven, AVMA CEO, addressed the Auxiliary members during the meeting and encouraged them to continue to partner with the AVMA and the AVMF. He indicated that the Auxiliary's bylaws are outdated and said he hopes the Auxiliary will work with the AVMA to update those governing documents.

Michael W. Cathey, director of the AVMF, said his organization is the charitable foundation for the Auxiliary as well as the AVMA and other organizations connected with the veterinary profession, and he hopes for many years of working with the Auxiliary.

During the meeting, Dr. Brainard said the organization will seek legal counsel and work with the AVMA to develop new bylaws that the Auxiliary House of Delegates could receive in 2011 and adopt at the 2012 meeting. Those bylaws could replace both the existing bylaws and constitution, eliminate the Auxiliary House of Delegates in favor of a meeting of members, and reduce the size of the Auxiliary Executive Board.

Brown said that the next year will be challenging and she hopes the members can complement one another by examining their differences and coming together to build the organization into one that better reflects on the AVMA.