Economics dominates AVMA board agenda

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Dr. Mark P. Helfat
Dr. Mark P. Helfat—District II representative to the AVMA Executive Board and one of its newest  members—follows deliberations over a proposed bylaws amendment concerning  student membership in the AVMA. ( Photo by R. Scott Nolen)

The bulk of the AVMA Executive Board's August meeting agenda was devoted to developing a comprehensive plan for bolstering the economic foundation of the U.S. veterinary profession.

Prior to the Aug. 23 meeting, board members participated in more than a day and a half of strategy sessions to best determine how the AVMA could facilitate a reversal of the chronic economic decline evident throughout veterinary medicine.

Dr. Ted Cohn, the District IX representative to the Executive Board, chaired the official board meeting, during which several proposals comprising a sustained effort by the AVMA to provide economic relief to the veterinary profession were approved.

Among those initiatives, $5 million was designated for a National Economic Strategy Fund to support initiatives ensuring the veterinary profession's economic viability (see "Getting down to business").

From that fund, $250,000 was appropriated to begin the immediate work of establishing a veterinary economics division within the AVMA to oversee and manage pertinent programs. A further $30,000 from the fund will pay for a new AVMA economics advisory committee.

Other items on the Executive Board agenda, detailed on the following pages, included acting on recommendations from the House of Delegates to evaluate AVMA governance and to examine the Association's accreditation of foreign veterinary schools.

Additionally, the board initiated an AVMA Bylaws amendment pertaining to veterinary students and AVMA membership; adopted joint AVMA/Federation of Veterinarians of Europe statements on veterinary education, antimicrobials, and animal welfare; and approved funding support for the CATalyst Council.

The board also revised the entity description of the AVMA Steering Committee for FDA Policy on Veterinary Oversight of Antimicrobials to allow for the board's appointment of an AVMA governance adviser. Former Executive Board chair Dr. John Brooks of Kingsville, Md., was named to the position to provide clarity and focus as the committee works within AVMA governance. The board allocated $4,000 to cover travel expenses.

And finally, Debbie Whitten of Birmingham, Ala., was elected to the AVMA Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities representing credentialed veterinary technicians. Dr. Mark Spiegle of Toronto was elected to the Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates representing the Canadian National Examining Board.