AVMA; Practice; Issues; Community

Lots in store for AVMA Sesquicentennial

The AVMA is turning 150 this year and is ready to party.

Official proclamations, historical exhibits, and a book about the Association are just part of the events and material created to commemorate this big event.

“The AVMA's 150th anniversary gives us the opportunity to express our congratulations and heartfelt gratitude to those who have given so much to the profession and the Association,” said Dr. Ron DeHaven, AVMA CEO. “The past contributions of AVMA members have helped to build our economy, shape our societal values, and serve the public while providing care to countless animals.

“At the same time, we are using this special occasion to launch the ‘new’ AVMA that is focusing on better meeting the needs of our members, both now and in the future.”

The AVMA Sesquicentennial kicked off at the Association's Veterinary Leadership Conference, Jan. 3–6 in Chicago. An exhibition booth greeted attendees with 150th-branded giveaways and a tabletop display about the AVMA, created by the American Veterinary Medical History Society.

Premiering at the conference was the 150th Anniversary book, “The AVMA: 150 years of education, science, and service,” which is also the anniversary logo's tag line. In the book's preface, the JAVMA editor-in-chief, Dr. Kurt J. Matushek, explains that the book represents “a celebration of the AVMA and all it has accomplished for its members and the veterinary profession during its first 150 years.”

The book was distributed to each registered conference attendee. Complimentary copies will be provided to veterinary colleges and AVMA volunteer leaders. The book will be sold through the online AVMA Store at www.avma.org, and later in the year, an e-book version will be available at www.smashwords.com, Proceeds will be directed to AVMA future-generation programming.

Also debuting at the leadership conference were two sesquicentennial videos. The first, called “My AVMA,” features introductions of members from across the country and across generations, their memberships ranging from two weeks to 47 years. The other video is a historical look at the AVMA through the perspective of archival pictures coupled with audio from veterinarians.

Perhaps the biggest coup for the AVMA has been securing a partnership with the Smithsonian Institution to create a traveling exhibition on veterinary medicine.

The exhibition will tour the country from coast to coast, helping visitors of all ages explore the complex connections between animals and humans and illustrating how veterinary practitioners, pet owners, farmers, animal scientists, and others contribute to both animal and human health and well-being. The exhibition's activities and information will introduce visitors to innovative fields of research and give them new ways to look at the enduring relationship between animals and people.

J.B. Hancock, director of the AVMA Communications Division, has been working with the Smithsonian to create the exhibition since she first came to the AVMA 7 1/2 years ago. The Smithsonian has brought in more than a dozen veterinarians as consultants on the project.

The exhibition will include some 1,000 square feet of interactive displays, banners, photographs, video screens, and objects to touch, along with a hands-on veterinary “clinic of the future.” It will be contained in a semitrailer with expandable sides.

The exhibition's two-year, 75-city tour will premiere at Chicago's McCormick Place during the 2013 AVMA Annual Convention. The tour will feature appearances at science museums, university veterinary programs, pet retail venues, state and county fairs, National FFA Organization and 4-H conventions, schools, zoos, and other animal-centric locations in American cities.

There are plans for the exhibition to make appearances at the AVMA conventions in Denver (2014) and Boston (2015). The AVMA also hopes to work closely with state VMAs so they can participate when the exhibition comes to their state, Hancock said.

Pfizer Animal Health is the sponsor of the exhibition, which will ultimately cost $3.4 million to create. As more donors are identified, there are possibilities for other components.

The AVMA will keep the celebration going throughout 2013:

  • • A 30-second advertisement was created by the Association to promote the various facets of the profession. The ad will run before showings of the movie “Monsters University” the week of the June 21 premiere in select markets nationwide.

  • • Daily veterinary trivia will appear on www.avma.org, on www.facebook.com/avmavets, and on the Twitter feed @AVMAvets through June 9—the day a meeting was held in 1863 at the Astor House in New York City to form the United State Veterinary Medical Association, which later became the AVMA.

  • JAVMA News is profiling 12 individuals whose unique contributions have helped shape the American veterinary profession, beginning with Dr. Alexandre Liautard, in the first-of-the-month issues.

  • • Congressional resolutions and a presidential proclamation to recognize the Association's ses-quicentennial are being sought by the AVMA Governmental Relations Division. Adrian Hochstadt, director of the AVMA State Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Department within the Communications Division, will work with the state VMAs on state proclamations.

  • • The AVMA Annual Convention, to be held July 19–23 in Chicago, will have an interactive historical display in the convention center; a 150th Anniversary Historical Symposium hosted by the AVMHS; and a 150th Anniversary Education Symposium, during which eight veterinary students will present their research on the profession's historical roots and successes and their vision for the future as the next generation of veterinarians. The Welcome Center, sponsored in part by the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine and Illinois State VMA; Trails for Tails 5K event; and President's Reception also will be in honor of the 150th anniversary.

  • • A special line of 150th anniversary–branded apparel will be available through the AVMA online store and at select conferences throughout the year, courtesy of Lands' End. Proceeds will be directed to the AVMA future-generation programming.

For the most current information on the AVMA 150th Anniversary Campaign, visit www.avma.org/150th. For information on individual or organizational participation, contact Jodie Taggett via email at jtaggett@avma.org.

DOE extends AVMA Education Council recognition but wants changes

Department of Education staff and a DOE committee have recommended continuing the AVMA Council on Education's recognition as the accreditor for U.S. veterinary schools and colleges and giving the council one year to comply with a series of department standards.

The DOE staff recommendations were delivered Dec. 12, 2012, during a hearing by the department's National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity in Washington, D.C. Dr. David E. Granstrom, director of the AVMA Education and Research Division, said the DOE advisory committee approved a motion with wording similar to that in the staff report.

The motion came at the end of the morning hearing, during which several speakers testified on behalf of continued COE recognition while others conveyed a variety of concerns. About 150 representatives from accrediting agencies, stakeholders, and others attended. Dr. Sheila W. Allen, chair of the AVMA Council on Education, and Dr. Granstrom represented the council.

The DOE staff report recommended that the Council on Education prove that it meets certain criteria, such as being widely accepted by educators and educational institutions, providing adequate training for individuals conducting site visits, reporting progress in student achievement, accepting and considering comments on individual institutions' qualifications for accreditation, and promptly notifying the public of decisions. All told, the report suggested that the council would need to make changes in 14 of more than a hundred areas evaluated to come into full compliance with the criteria for recognition.

The staff and committee recommendations will be forwarded to senior DOE officials for a final decision as to whether to continue COE recognition for the coming year while the council becomes fully complaint.

Dr. Granstrom said one of the concerns identified by the Department of Education involved a recent DOE staff interpretation of regulations that prohibit sitting members of an accrediting body from serving on site visit teams. AVMA Council on Education members have participated in such site visits since its inception in 1906, he said, and the council will need to develop a process to identify and train new volunteer teams within the year.

The Department of Education determines whether to recognize agencies such as the AVMA Council on Education as qualified to evaluate the education and training provided by higher education programs and provide accreditation or pre-accreditation when appropriate.

Executive Board revises research priorities

The AVMA Executive Board convened Nov. 15–17, 2012, at Association headquarters in Schaumburg, Ill. Dr. Janver Krehbiel of Mason, Mich., chaired the meeting, which included discussions about this year's celebration of the AVMA's 150th anniversary.

In addition to acting on proposals from several AVMA entities, the Executive Board strengthened the Association's opposition to declawing wild and exotic cats for nonmedical purposes, set a legislative course for the new 113th Congress, and reaffirmed its commitment to training future leaders of the veterinary profession.

The board approved AVMA membership in the Scientists Center for Animal Welfare, a not-for-profit association that develops best practices and provides educational materials for individuals and organizations using animals in research, testing, and education.

SCAW comprises research professionals dedicated to balancing animal welfare and excellence in basic and applied scientific inquiry.

The AVMA Animal Welfare Committee recommended the Association join the organization as an institutional member, which will cost $500 annually.

Membership in SCAW, according to the AVMA committee, will demonstrate tangible support for the promotion of state-of-the-art care for animals used in research, teaching, and testing; provide support for an association that offers valuable continuing education for veterinarians and technicians responsible for the care of animals in the laboratory; and provide improved access to SCAW resources for AVMA volunteers and staff, including members of the AVMA's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.

The AVMA has revised its policy on research priorities, making the document more succinct, current, and in line with the Association's pursuits. The Executive Board approved changes made by the Council on Research to “Research Priorities of the American Veterinary Medical Association” (formerly titled “Research Priorities: American Veterinary Medical Association/Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges”).

In part, the new policy states the following:

Moving towards the future, the AVMA has identified the following research-related issues as high priority:

Research and/or programs that address or support:

  • • Clinical research for the benefit of animal health.

  • • Infectious and zoonotic diseases of animals and humans.

  • • Environmental issues relating to animal and human well-being.

  • • Food security and food safety.

  • • Enhanced animal welfare and the human-animal bond.

  • • Basic and translational research on human and animal disease.

  • • Training veterinarians for the research workforce.

The document was originally developed in conjunction with the AAVMC in 1994–1995. It was revised in 2006, partly in response to studies released by the National Academy of Sciences detailing critical needs for research in the veterinary sciences and also in response to post-9/11 events, particularly biodefense initiatives.

COR member Dr. Don Reynolds said the previous policy was put together when the national agenda was different. Council members aimed to change the tone and focus but first had to identify the AVMA's current priorities and stakeholders.

The result was a document that distilled priorities from companion animal medicine, food animal medicine, public health, academia, and the like into a list of broad, all-encompassing items. A unifying theme among the new priorities is one health, Dr. Reynolds said.

The Animal Agriculture Liaison Committee and Animal Welfare Committee each supported the revisions.

In other action, the Executive Board approved a recommendation from the research council that reestablished a monetary component to the AVMA research awards in lieu of travel and registration benefits.

This means $5,000 will be given with the AVMA Lifetime Excellence in Research Award, $2,500 with the American Veterinary Medical Foundation/American Kennel Club Career Achievement Award in Canine Research, $2,500 with the AVMF/Winn Excellence in Feline Research Award, and $2,500 with the Practitioner Research Award.

In the background to its recommendation, the research council stated that the prestige of a research award is linked with a substantial honorarium.

For more Executive Board coverage, visit www.avma.org, click on “JAVMA News” under “News & Publications,” and select the Jan. 15, 2013, issue.

Speakers invited for 2014 AVMA convention

The AVMA is seeking proposals from veterinary professionals and other individuals who would like to present a session at the 2014 AVMA Annual Convention, July 26–29 in Denver.

As of Jan. 14, potential speakers can submit their presentation proposal electronically by visiting the “Speakers” page at www.avmaconvention.org.

Additional information is available from Patricia Kmak, AVMA continuing education coordinator, via email at pkmak@avma.org or by phone at (800) 248-2862, Ext. 6622.

Times change, AVMF mission remains the same

The American Veterinary Medical Foundation turns 50 this year, and while it has had many areas of focus and impact throughout the years, the Foundation remains tied to its original purposes of incorporation.

The 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization was created by the AVMA in 1963 for three purposes: to stimulate graduate study and research in veterinary medicine; to seek and maintain funds for furthering scientific, literary, and educational purposes directly associated with veterinary medicine; and to possibly operate a loan program for veterinary students.

The new Foundation's objectives encompassed graduate fellowships, undergraduate scholarships, the Student Loan Fund of the Women's Auxiliary to the AVMA, continuing education, publications, public education, and field investigations—clinical, preclinical, and economic.

AVMF Executive Director Michael Cathey said, today, the Foundation has translated these purposes into its five strategic areas of focus: humane outreach/animal welfare, education/public awareness, veterinary student enhancement, animal health research support, and supporting the AVMA and its initiatives.

“The AVMF has been and continues to be the vehicle and the strategy for veterinarians, the animal health industry, and the animal-owning public to directly support the medical care and well-being of animals,” he said.

In 2013, the AVMF will celebrate its milestone with events throughout the year as well as with the “Go for Gold in 2013” fundraising campaign.

“This will not only commemorate the AVMF's 50th anniversary but also build greater awareness of the need for funding to grow and deliver our programs to support animals. The ‘Go for Gold in 2013 campaign’ is a perfect opportunity for everyone to come together to support our mission,” Cathey said.

The AVMF's goal is to raise $2.5 million and attract new donors through December 2013. More information can be found at www.avmf.org/gold.

Meanwhile, the Foundation's five new task forces are taking on a slew of initiatives to further enhance the AVMF's visibility and reach.

First, there's the Animal Health Network, which is part of the AVMF Research Support Task Force's charge. The network started in early 2011 with a species-specific pilot effort, the Cat Health Network, to fund feline health studies. The partners in the Cat Health Network are the AVMF, Morris Animal Foundation, Winn Feline Foundation, and American Association of Feline Practitioners.

The objective of the Animal Health Network is to raise awareness of the need for scientific health care research funding for cats, dogs, and horses, and to become the umbrella for organizations working on companion animal research funding.

The Foundation's Research Support Task Force plans to expand the network by reaching out to reputable research organizations to join. It also will work to convene current members later this year to discuss progress and goals, and perhaps outline a list of the top major investment prospects, including corporate and individual donors.

The AVMF Community Engagement and Education Task Force's project will work to expand the “Our Oath in Action” Volunteer Project to six cities across America by this fall. The goal is to help communities with shelter cleanup, but to also go beyond that into engagement of the community and veterinarians.

An area of focus for the AVMF Disaster Response and Planning Task Force will be to build on the Foundation's reputation in giving money to disaster response and relief causes.

Members plan to reconfigure the “Saving the Whole Family” program to better meet animal needs in areas affected by disasters. The program serves as an umbrella for the AVMA Veterinary Medical Assistance Team program, which the AVMF sponsors; disaster-related grants; and the eponymous disaster preparedness booklet, available online at the AVMA Store.

In addition, the task force will soon start work on a program to assist military working dogs, re-evaluate existing disaster grants to make them more relevant, and continue to work with other relief organizations.

The America's Favorite Veterinarian Task Force will launch the eponymous initiative this summer to celebrate the work veterinarians do every day.

Finally, the Food Safety Task Force will take an opportunity in 2013 to inform, educate, and engage the veterinary community and the general public about the contributions veterinarians make to human health through food safety, security, and defense.

The AVMF received an early birthday present when Charity Navigator, America's largest independent charity evaluator, announced Nov. 6, 2012, that it awarded the Foundation its highest rating for the second consecutive year.

According to a letter from Charity Navigator's president, Ken Berger: “Only 17 percent of the charities we rate have received at least two consecutive four-star evaluations, indicating that American Veterinary Medical Foundation outperforms most other charities in America. This ‘exceptional’ designation from Charity Navigator differentiates American Veterinary Medical Foundation from its peers and demonstrates to the public it is worthy of their trust.”

Clinical guidelines becoming vital tools in veterinary medicine

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, preventive medicine, and euthanasia are just some of the topics of new clinical guidelines that could improve outcomes in veterinary medicine.

For many veterinarians, the real question is whether and how to implement the various guidelines that come out each year. The answer lies in examining guideline sources and adapting the recommendations to suit each situation.

Veterinary groups that develop clinical guidelines are starting to shift from a reliance on expert opinion to more of an emphasis on evidence-based medicine, said Dr. Brennen McKenzie, president of the Evidence-Based Veterinary Medicine Association. The EBVMA supports guidelines that are based on controlled research and developed through a transparent process, he said.

As an example, Dr. McKenzie pointed to the new guidelines for CPR in cats and dogs from the Reassessment Campaign on Veterinary Resuscitation, a collaborative effort of the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care and the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society. Participants in the RECOVER initiative graded the evidence for each recommendation, acknowledging when they had to rely on expert opinion rather than research.

One of the co-chairs of the RECOVER initiative is Dr. Dan Fletcher, an assistant professor of emergency and critical care at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. He said CPR protocols have improved outcomes in human medicine, and RECOVER participants saw a corresponding opportunity in veterinary medicine.

Dozens of veterinarians evaluated relevant literature, providing input for the RECOVER co-chairs to use in drafting guidelines on CPR in cats and dogs. The co-chairs integrated comments from the RECOVER committee and the general membership of a number of veterinary specialty groups before publishing 101 recommendations in June 2012.

The American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine develops consensus statements on the state of current knowledge for a variety of difficult or controversial topics in small and large animal medicine, said Dr. Rance Sellon, a member of the ACVIM Board of Regents.

Dr. Leah Cohn, ACVIM chair, said if discussion were limited to only those topics of importance to veterinary medicine that can be supported by the best quality of evidence, there would be little to present. She said consensus statement panels prepare a document that reflects evidence and offers expert opinion when appropriate.

The AVMA develops fewer clinical guidelines than many specialty or species groups do, although many of the Association's policies have to do with the practice of veterinary medicine.

The Association has provided research-based guidelines on euthanasia since the 1960s. A five-member panel wrote the first report on the subject. Eleven working groups developed and integrated comments into the newest guidelines, soon to be available.

The AVMA and American Animal Hospital Association created a joint task force to develop new guidelines on preventive care for cats and dogs, which came out in September 2011. The members of the Partnership for Preventive Pet Healthcare—the AVMA, AAHA, and other veterinary groups; animal health companies; and other organizations—sponsored the task force and are offering resources to implement the guidelines as part of the new Partners for Healthy Pets program.

Dr. Douglas G. Aspros, AVMA president, said the Association wants to ensure that basic wellness protocols are available for the profession. He believes protocols lead to more consistent and better care.

Dr. Mark Russak, AAHA president, said being able to point to guidelines from authoritative veterinary organizations can improve client compliance with veterinarians' recommendations.

Every year, AAHA task forces develop or revise two to three sets of clinical guidelines on subjects such as nutrition and vaccination. Dr. Russak said sponsors support development of the guidelines and related educational materials, but they have no input into content.

AAHA promotes implementation of its guidelines through its website, its member magazine, social media, direct mail, conference sessions, webinars, and other avenues.

Dr. Roy Brenton Smith, president of the American Association of Feline Practitioners, said the AAFP has developed numerous guidelines to improve feline care. Sponsors contribute funding to promote implementation of some of the guidelines.

Dr. Smith said his hospital uses most of what's in the AAFP guidelines, with some differences in approach. He has seen a movement toward implementation of clinical guidelines in veterinary medicine during his 50 years in practice.

American Kennel Club funding research on bloat

The American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation has launched a research initiative with the aim of better defining and ultimately eradicating bloat in dogs.

“Bloat is of foremost concern to the AKC Canine Health Foundation and its donors, and as such will require a major research effort to identify the underlying mechanisms of this disease,” according to the request for proposals.

The foundation anticipates providing two to three grants of $250,000 each for studies on bloat. March 18 is the deadline for letters of intent.

“The exact cause of bloat is not understood, and to date only risk factors have been identified,” according to the request for proposals. “It is clear that large-breed and/or deep-chested dogs are at higher risk, and it is consensus opinion that these anatomical features may predispose certain breeds to disease. Beyond anatomical features, genetics, feeding practices, exercise, gut motility, and stress have been proposed to be associated with development of bloat, but definitive studies are lacking. In order to move beyond these anecdotal and associative relationships, we must better define the pathophysiology of disease.”

The foundation strongly advises grant applicants to collaborate with breed clubs to identify study participants and samples.

The request for proposals is available at www.akcchf.org/research by clicking on “Application Process” and then clicking on “Bloat Initiative.”

One Health Commission reaches out

The One Health Commission has begun inviting individuals and corporations to become members, along with institutions, and is expanding efforts to promote the one-health approach.

The one-health concept is that the health of humans, animals, and the ecosystem is intertwined. The OHC advocates a one-health approach of collaboration among disciplines to improve health locally, nationally, and globally.

The founding members of the OHC were institutions such as the AVMA. The new membership model has categories not only for institutions but also for individuals and corporations. In November 2012, the AVMA Executive Board approved a contribution of $5,000 for the AVMA to continue as an institutional member of the commission.

Commission members have opportunities to participate in the OHC varying by category and contribution level. Institutions at the highest contribution level, such as the AVMA, may nominate a representative to the board. Other opportunities for members include participation in the advisory council or in working groups.

The goals of the OHC, headquartered at Iowa State University, are to inform all audiences about the interdisciplinary one-health approach and to facilitate projects to demonstrate the value of the approach.

In June 2012, the OHC surveyed its board and advisory council as well as more than 150 individual stakeholders about how to prioritize one-health challenges. All three groups listed infectious diseases as the top priority. Other high priorities were food and water safety and security, ecosystem health, and antimicrobial resistance.

The OHC adopted a strategic plan in September 2012 and is working on a joint strategic plan with ISU.

Go to www.onehealthcommission.org to learn about the one-health movement or become a member of the One Health Commission.

Bourgelat committee to continue work of Vet2011

The events related to Vet2011 were developed to celebrate the profession's 250th anniversary in 2011. That, and educate the public about the variety of roles veterinarians fill in promoting animal and public health while also highlighting worldwide professional unity.

Dr. Jean-Francois Chary, inspector general of the French Ministry of Agriculture, was president of the Vet2011 Committee. While speaking before the AVMA Executive Board at its Nov. 15–17, 2012, meeting, he said, “Much more today, veterinarians around the world feel they belong to the same family with the same values and ideals. That's the success of Vet2011.”

But after the Vet2011 closing ceremony in Cape Town, South Africa, Dr. Chary remembers asking the question, “Now what?”


Dr. Jean-Francois Chary

Citation: American Journal of Veterinary Research 74, 2; 10.2460/ajvr.74.2.177

That's when he decided to found the International Bourgelat Committee, named after Claude Bourgelat, who founded the first veterinary school, in Lyon, France. The objective of the committee will be “the inventory and preservation of the tangible and intangible scientific and cultural veterinary heritage and its mediation to the widest possible public.” Every year, the IBC will promote one or more global events featuring the profession. A website will also be created, and each country will have its own section.

“I believe that the conservation and promotion of the historic and scientific heritage of our profession is necessary,” said Dr. Chary, who wants each country to establish its own committee as part of a global effort.

Founding members of the IBC are France, Brazil, Kenya, and Tunisia. Uruguay has since joined, and several other countries are in the process of joining or considering it. Many were waiting to see what the AVMA would do, Dr. Chary said.

The answer came at the November meeting when AVMA board members approved a recommendation from the AVMA Committee on International Veterinary Affairs to join the committee for 2013, with ongoing membership thereafter to be determined following evaluation of the committee's progress sometime this fall. Continuation of membership will require a subsequent recommendation to the board.

AVMA CEO Ron DeHaven explained that the IBC will meet in conjunction with the annual general session of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) meeting. The AVMA representative on the U.S. delegation to the OIE meeting will also represent the AVMA at the IBC gathering.

Board Chair Janver D. Krehbiel noted that money left over from the AVMA's Vet2011 fund could be used for the fee for the AVMA to join the IBC, which is about $1,300 a year.