Board acts on wellness and food security measures, elects officers

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The AVMA Board of Directors convened twice in Boston this July with agendas including such topics as global food security, professional wellness, and the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps’ upcoming centennial.

At the July 8 meeting chaired by Dr. Hugh “Chip” Price, the BOD approved a plan for the AVMA to host a national summit in 2017 on promoting and enhancing global food security. This past April, the Board approved the concept of the AVMA hosting a summit focusing on opportunities for U.S. veterinarians to build global animal health capacity and enhance food security. A subcommittee of the AVMA Committee on International Veterinary Affairs was tasked with developing such a plan, which the BOD signed off on.

The committee’s plan outlines a three-day meeting in Washington, D.C., or the surrounding area attended by some 200 representatives of both national and international agencies engaged in global food security.

By hosting the summit, the AVMA will provide a valuable continuing education product and networking service for AVMA members engaged in food security as well as those wanting to learn about opportunities in this field of veterinary medicine, the committee explained in the recommendation background.

The committee expects the summit will help create new partnership possibilities for the U.S. veterinary profession with agencies already engaged in global food security activities but perhaps only minimally engaged with the U.S. veterinary profession.

In other actions, the Board of Directors directed AVMA executive staff to develop an action plan on professional wellness for consideration at the Board’s Sept. 17-19 meeting. The plan is to take into account the proposals from the wellness report submitted to the BOD by the 2014-2015 class of the AVMA Future Leaders Program.

The Future Leaders report made several recommendations, including having the AVMA establish a program similar to the Partners for Healthy Pets initiative that brings together experts, organizations, and industry in an ongoing collaboration focused on veterinarians’ health and wellness.

During its July 14 meeting in Boston, the Board approved $400,000 for a statue commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Army Veterinary Corps in 2016. AVMA staff are to support fundraising efforts to offset the statue’s cost.

Dr. de Jong
Dr. John de Jong
Dr. Helfat
Dr. Mark Helfat

Additionally, Drs. John de Jong of Weston, Massachusetts, and Mark Helfat of Mount Laurel, New Jersey, were elected AVMA Board chair and vice chair, respectively.

Dr. de Jong is a 1985 graduate of the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University and owner of the Boston Mobile Veterinary Clinic and Newton Animal Hospital. In 2010, he was elected to the AVMA Board of Directors to represent Association members in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Dr. Helfat is 1977 graduate of Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine and a mixed-animal veterinarian who in 1995 founded the Larchmont Animal Hospital in Mount Laurel, where he still works full time. In 2011, he was elected to the AVMA Board as the representative for Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

Related JAVMA content:

AVMA Board manages agenda of diverse topics (June 1, 2015)

Study: 1 in 6 veterinarians have considered suicide (April 1, 2015)

Future Leaders focus on career transitions, wellness (Oct. 1, 2014)