AVMA strengthens support for women in leadership

Association assuming some management of Women’s Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative
Published on December 18, 2015
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The AVMA is providing management services for the Women’s Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative as part of a two-year plan for continued support for the organization and its mission of promoting women veterinary leaders.

Approving the WVLDI management plan—set to begin in 2016 and continue through 2017—was one of several actions taken by the AVMA Board of Directors during a meeting Nov. 19-21, 2015, at Association headquarters in suburban Chicago.

Board members also approved up to $18,000 to sustain the AVMA Veterinary Medical Assistance Team program after the American Veterinary Medical Foundation Board of Directors voted to discontinue its funding as a result of a lack of donations to the Foundation for disaster relief. The AVMA Board will convene a subcommittee to explore options for the program.

Dr. John de Jong, District I representative to the AVMA Board of Directors, chairing the November 2015 Board meeting.

Women leaders

The AVMA has partially financed the WVLDI since its inception in 2013, including covering the travel costs for organization representatives to deliver cobranded presentations on leadership development at veterinary meetings and to students at U.S. veterinary colleges.

In their recommendation to the Board, AVMA staff executives noted that the benefits of the AVMA’s relationship with the WVLDI over the past two years have not been one-sided.

While the WVLDI has been helped by the AVMA’s financial and in-kind support to grow the initiative, the AVMA has also benefited from the WVLDI’s energy and grassroots support to grow women’s leadership within the Association. Through its outreach to veterinarians and students, the WVLDI raises awareness about all the AVMA does to promote the profession.

The WVLDI has mentored and advised up-and-coming veterinary leaders, encouraging many qualified individuals—male and female—to seek volunteer leadership positions within the AVMA and state and allied organizations. In addition, the WVLDI has provided programming and networking receptions at the AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference and AVMA Annual Convention.

Although the AVMA is not in a position to offer full association management services for independent and separately incorporated entities, AVMA staff executives believe the Association can offer some key services to the WVLDI, such as communications management, logistic support for meetings, and program development.

Dr. Beth Sabin, AVMA associate director for international and diversity issues and a founding member of the Women’s Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative, fields questions from the AVMA Board regarding the WVLDI management proposal.

ALL for Students

The AVMA has made a three-year funding commitment to the ALL for Students (Achieving, Leading, and Learning) program totaling $300,000. The Board of Directors passed a recommendation from the AVMA Office of the Executive Vice President to provide the program with $100,000 annually from 2016 through 2018.

The ALL for Students program provides direct financial support to the 35 student chapters of the AVMA and one associate organization in the Student AVMA House of Delegates. Funding supports the SCAVMAs in the areas of professional development, leadership, wellness, and community outreach. 

The student program was launched in 2013 as a combined initiative among the AVMA, its insurance trusts, and SAVMA. Funding is distributed through the AVMF. The AVMA, AVMA Group Health & Life Insurance Trust, AVMA PLIT, and SAVMA had continued program funding in fiscal year 2015 in the amount of $333,000.

New policies

The AVMA has adopted policies endorsing federal plans for food security and defining the Association’s leadership role in international organizations.

The Board of Directors approved the AVMA Animal Agriculture Liaison Committee’s recommended policy supporting the Department of Agriculture’s Secure Food Supply Plans regarding the control of and response to foreign animal diseases. These plans, the AALC explained in the recommendation background, provide guidance without which responses may be less effective, resulting in higher morbidity and mortality rates and longer disruption of interstate and international trade. The new policy reads as follows:

USDA Secure Food Supply Plans

The AVMA recommends that federal and state regulatory authorities along with industry stakeholders continue to develop and use the USDA Secure Food Supply Plans in the control of and response to foreign animal diseases to ensure business continuity.

The Board also voted in favor of adopting a policy proposed by the AVMA Committee on International Veterinary Affairs that states:

AVMA’s Role in International Activities

The AVMA will assume a leadership role in promoting the interests of its members in the forums and policy development processes of international organizations relevant to AVMA’s mission and vision.

As CIVA recommended, the new policy combines two related policies (“International Veterinary Service—AVMA Organizational Objective” and “Leadership Role for AVMA”) into a single policy that provides greater clarity concerning the Association’s international activities.

International accreditors

AVMA representatives will attend the next meeting of the International Accreditors Working Group this February in Melbourne, Australia.

The AVMA Council on Education, Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, and Australasian Veterinary Boards Council formed the group in 2007 to conduct joint site visits at veterinary colleges accredited by each entity. To date, five joint site visits have been completed, with another scheduled this July at Murdoch University in Australia.

The working group last met in January 2014. This latest meeting, set for Feb. 11-12, will include a session with World Veterinary Association President René Carlson on behalf of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) ad hoc Group on Veterinary Education to discuss the development of tools for assessing the implementation of day-one competencies for veterinary graduates and a model core curriculum.

The COE explained in its proposal to the AVMA Board of Directors that collaboration with other recognized regional and national accreditors is important to ensure that the U.S. veterinary profession’s voice is heard when discussions of educational standards and quality assurance occur on an international level. Moreover, the COE believes the joint site visit process, with each accrediting body making its own accreditation decision, has worked well and that collaboration with RCVS and AVBC enhances the quality assurance process.

The Board approved attendance at the working group meeting by COE chair Dr. John Pascoe, Davis, California. Also attending on behalf of the AVMA will be Dr. Carlson, who is also director of international affairs for the AVMA, and Dr. Karen Martens Brandt, director of the AVMA Education and Research Division and staff consultant to the COE.

Meeting on antimicrobial use

The AVMA will convene a meeting at some point in the future among veterinary and human health professionals to collaborate on their mutual goals of judicious use of antimicrobials and minimizing antimicrobial resistance.

The plan, proposed by the AVMA’s pilot Regulatory Advisory Panel and approved by the Board of Directors, was prompted by a Nov. 16, 2015, press release and technical report from the American Academy of Pediatrics on the dangers to children posed by the nontherapeutic use of antimicrobials in food animals.

In its recommendation to the Board, the panel suggested the AAP report “is an opportunity to reach out to our physician colleagues with an invitation for constructive dialogue.”

The panel outlined a plan for a facilitated meeting attended by representatives from the AVMA, American Association of Bovine Practitioners, American Association of Swine Veterinarians, American Association of Avian Pathologists, AAP, and American Medical Association.

“This meeting supports constructive dialog among human and veterinary healthcare providers and sets the stage for future mutually beneficial interactions to advance One Health,” the recommendation stated.

Committee appointments made

While meeting at AVMA headquarters in Schaumburg, Illinois, Nov. 19-21, 2015, the Board of Directors made the following appointments: Animal Welfare Committee: Dr. Helen Sweeney, Williamsville, New York, American Association of Fish Veterinarians—alternate representative; Veterinary Leadership Conference Planning Committee: Dr. Hailey Gentile, Newport Center, Vermont, constituent association officer; and Veterinary Leadership Conference Planning Committee: Dr. James Finlay, Los Angeles, recent graduate or emerging leader.

Related JAVMA content:

Women’s leadership initiative announces new officials (Jan. 1, 2016)

Women taking the lead (Oct. 1, 2014)

International Accreditors Working Group to meet in London (Dec. 1, 2013)

A message of support, backed by funding (Oct. 15, 2013)

AVMA global outreach efforts strengthened (June 1, 2010)