The AVMA’s nondiscrimination policy now includes both gender identity and expression as well as parental, marital, and pregnancy status (seestory). Other items that received approval by the AVMA Board of Directors during its April 6-8 meeting were a new electronic accreditation management system for veterinary colleges and veterinary technology programs (seestory) and funding for Cuban veterinarians to attend AVMA Convention 2017. The Board referred to the AVMA House of Delegates proposed policies relating to assistance and therapy animals as well as use of stem cells and other regenerative therapies (seestory).
The Board also approved a handful of recommendations that pertain to veterinary students.
For one, the Clinical Practitioners Advisory Committee, which advises the Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents, will now have a student join its ranks after the Board approved its request for one. In the committee’s recommendation, members argued that having a student “is essential for gaining needed contributions by the veterinary student perspective and for fostering student interest in veterinary biologics and therapeutics as well as organized veterinary medicine in general.”
The Student AVMA will nominate candidates and approve two SAVMA members to serve as its representative and alternate representative for one-year terms, with a maximum of two terms. Because SAVMA rather than the Board nominates the person for the position, the student will be a nonvoting member, which is also the case for other entities such as the AVMA Council on Research.
There was further movement on transferring the student chapters of the AVMA to the Student AVMA, with the AVMA Board agreeing to initiate proposed AVMA Bylaws amendments relevant to that initiative. The goal is to streamline the structure of organized veterinary medicine for students and eliminate confusion. The proposed amendments would remove SCAVMA from the AVMA Bylaws and authorize SAVMA to establish its own chapters under the Charter Agreement between AVMA and SAVMA, whereby all chapters and their assets will be transferred to SAVMA, according to the recommendation background.
The amended bylaws will become effective likely this fall when the other necessary documents are ready, including the amended SAVMA bylaws, the Chapter Charter Agreement between SAVMA and each of its chapters, and the amended bylaws for each chapter.
AVMA vice president’s role
In other actions, the Board voted to have its Governance Committee conduct a comprehensive review of the current and potential roles and responsibilities of the AVMA vice president, who is currently the AVMA liaison to veterinary students. The committee said in its recommendation background to the Board that the review was needed given current conditions.
The committee had received a request to consider extending the term of the vice president from two years to three years because of the large increase in the number of visits to accredited veterinary colleges and student chapters as well as the number of other appearances and opportunities available to support the development of veterinary students.
“The opportunity to optimize the value provided to students and increase the conversion rate to long term membership in the AVMA were important factors in the decision to recommend creation of a seven-member task force comprised of primary stakeholders to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the role of the Vice President,” according to the background.