AVMA board OKs additional economics research

Published on August 21, 2013
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Michael Dicks
Michael Dicks, PhD, AVMA Veterinary Economics Division director, fields questions about the proposed economics research program. (Photo by R. Scott Nolen)​

The AVMA will conduct a study meant to provide a better understanding of aspects of the national economy related to veterinary labor and services.

The economics research program follows the April release of the AVMA’s 2013 U.S. Veterinary Workforce Study, which shows 12.5 percent of veterinarians’ capacity to provide services went unused in 2012. Moreover, the study projects veterinary services will be underutilized for the next several years (see JAVMA, June 1, 2013).

The AVMA Executive Board approved the plan at a meeting in Chicago on July 17. In its proposal to the board, the Veterinary Economics Strategy Committee stated its belief that the AVMA should continue to take an aggressive approach to identifying the economic issues affecting the veterinary workforce, studying them, and developing solutions to remedy them. The research program the strategy committee presented is based on an AVMA advisory group report recommending several responses by the AVMA to the veterinary workforce study.

The most pressing priorities, according to the committee, are as follows:

  • Determining the effects of the price of veterinary services and customer disposable income on the demand for veterinary services.
  • Determining the difference in characteristics between veterinary practices operating with excess capacity and those operating at full capacity.
  • Updating the veterinary workforce model developed in conjunction with the workforce study with specific practice information, such as for bovine and equine practices.

The Executive Board approved the plan and the estimated $250,000 to implement it. The first survey, anticipated for release in October, will focus on unemployment and underemployment, and will target veterinarians one, five, and 10 years after graduation.