AVMA board accepts governance task force report

Next phase of Association governance reforms begins
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The AVMA Executive Board has approved for publication the Task Force on Governance and Member Participation’s report, containing recommendations the task force believes will make the Association more nimble and more open to member involvement.

The task force report, approved by the Executive Board June 7, is the result of more than a year of extensive internal and external research on issues facing the Association and similar professional organizations across the United States and took into consideration hundreds of comments made by AVMA members.

The board formed the task force as a result of a 2011 House of Delegates resolution. The panel was charged with reviewing and evaluating the AVMA’s governance system and determining whether the current system is optimal to meet the future needs of the membership, the Association itself, and the veterinary profession.

Using the AVMA 20/20 Vision Commission’s report as the basis for the creation of an evolved organizational structure and governance process, the task force sought to design a governance model that would be more responsive to membership needs, provide better value on investment, serve members and the profession more efficiently and effectively, be nimble enough to meet future governance challenges, and provide volunteer opportunities that are rewarding.

Now, we face another pivotal fork in the road where we must decide whether to embrace a new governance structure, one that can evolve with society and the changing face and needs of our members.

AVMA President Douglas G. Aspros

In its report, the task force outlines a revamped governance structure for the AVMA that includes the following:

  • A Board of Directors, which would act as the sole body with management responsibility, policy authority, and fiduciary duties, in conjunction with Illinois state law.
  • Advisory Councils, which would support AVMA’s core strategic areas, including Economics and Practice, Animal Welfare and Ethics, Education, Governmental and External Relations, Scientific Activities, and Membership and Governance.
  • A Volunteer Resources Committee, which would be responsible for identifying and recruiting the best candidates for various volunteer leadership positions.
  • A Veterinary Issues Forum, which would bring together key stakeholders, including state and allied veterinary associations, to solicit feedback and identify strategic issues through which the AVMA could strengthen and enhance the future of the veterinary profession.

“Reflecting on AVMA’s rich 150-year history, I can’t help but be amazed at the number of advances in global veterinary medicine, technology, communication, business operations, and human capital over this time,” AVMA President Douglas G. Aspros said. “It’s the AVMA’s ability to adapt to those changes that has allowed us to remain one of the world’s leading veterinary associations.

“Now, we face another pivotal fork in the road where we must decide whether to embrace a new governance structure, one that can evolve with society and the changing face and needs of our members. I applaud the task force for developing a deep understanding of the challenges facing professional associations today and thank them for their dedication in proposing a model that will ensure AVMA can continue leading in the future.”

Ralph Johnson, chair of the AVMA task force, said, “The task force’s proposed governance model builds on the foundation laid by previous leaders and visionaries who established and grew the AVMA into the prestigious organization it is today, by providing a means to help AVMA operate more efficiently and by building in opportunities for increased member engagement and growth that are more in tune with how our society functions today.

“I am confident that this new model will help AVMA to be more nimble and transparent as it moves forward.”

The board has formed a team of AVMA volunteer leaders and members to lead the next phase of the project, which includes discussing the report during the July 18-19 House of Delegates regular annual session in Chicago.

The Task Force on Governance and Member Participation report and appendices are posted on the AVMA website.