Symposium calls for targeted efforts to increase diversity
Speakers advocate collegewide education about diversity
Veterinary colleges and the veterinary profession cannot be successful in recruiting students from underrepresented ethnicities and races without measurable goals based on data as well as leadership support.
That message was delivered by speakers at the 2009 Iverson Bell Symposium. It was held March 12-13 in Washington, D.C., in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges.
More than 70 attended the symposium, which is the oldest in veterinary medicine dedicated to promoting racial and ethnic diversity in the profession. Dr. Tracy L. Hanner was recognized this year with the Iverson Bell Award (see page 1247).
The theme for the 17th symposium was The Science of Recruitment. Dr. Marguerite Pappaioanou, AAVMC executive director, said that the profession needs to be diverse to meet the needs of society, but that doesn't happen by chance.
“You really need to understand where to recruit, where to find interested people, how to get them to apply, how to make them feel welcome, and what environment they need to help them feel welcome,” Dr. Pappaioanou said.
Lisa Greenhill, the AAVMC's associate executive director for diversity, gave a presentation on developing and evaluating the success of diversity programs. She said as a starting point, veterinary college officials should understand exactly how the institution defines diversity. Also, a plan should be in place that accomplishes the following objectives:
• Maps out the college's goals and objectives
• Provides a time line for accomplishing achievements
• Indicates who will be responsible for managing the plan
• Identifies anticipated resources needed to execute and evaluate the plan
• Outlines how diversity will be integrated into the business of the college
Greenhill emphasized the importance of using benchmarks. She gave examples, such as counting the number of targeted minority undergraduate students or faculty members.
Ultimately, a goal of the college should be to produce veterinary graduates and faculty who will meet the racial, ethnic, and cultural needs of society, Greenhill said.
Marc A. Nivet, EdD, chief operating officer and treasurer of the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, built on that message in his talk, “From fairness to excellence: a new rationale for diversity.”
Dr. Nivet explained how the case for diversity has evolved over the years. In the '60s, it focused on equity and social justice. Then, during the '70s and '80s, the argument emphasized work-force needs. The '90s saw the case for quality of care, based on the idea that clients would be treated better and feel more comfortable if practitioners looked like them. Now, it is said diversity also provides improved educational and professional experiences, making everyone better practitioners.
Dr. Nivet referred to University of Michigan professor Scott Page's book, “The Difference,” which explains that “… when solving problems, diversity may matter as much, or even more than, individual ability. From this we can infer that organizations, firms, and universities that solve problems should seek out people with diverse experiences, training, and identities that translate into diverse perspectives and heuristics. Specifically, hiring students who had high grade point averages from the top-ranked school may be a less effective strategy than hiring good students from a diverse set of schools with a diverse set of backgrounds, majors, and electives.”
Dr. Nivet said diversity helps institutions and professions move toward their stated goals, such as excellence. At the same time, he said, there is a separate idea that diversity is somehow a competitor with excellence.
“Instead, it is part of, or a driver of, excellence. I would argue you can't call yourself an excellent institution without being diverse,” Dr. Nivet said. “Cultural competence and gender understanding need to be part of the ‘excellence’; mission of a school.”
He went so far as to say minority affairs departments are “crutches” for colleges. While these offices can make a difference, he said, it's better if the college as a whole is involved in the initiative.
“It's framed all wrong. … What do the numbers (of minority recruits) mean for the institution? If the president can't articulate why it's important for the institution, then what's the point? Why have numbers if at the end of the day it isn't driving the mission of the institution?” Dr. Nivet asked.
Deans of three veterinary schools or colleges—Dr. Willie M. Reed from Purdue University, Dr. Warwick A. Arden from North Carolina Statue University, and Dr. Tsegaye Habtemariam from Tuskegee University—spoke about their role in encouraging diversity during a panel session.
Dr. Habtemariam said he realized how little has changed in the profession as he looked at 20 years worth of data on minority students. They showed 2 percent were black in 1985 and that figure remains about the same today.
“In 20 years, as professionals, doesn't that bother you that there's some inequity, especially for this noble profession?”
Dr. Reed said one of his challenges as dean is persuading colleagues that diversity isn't a responsibility for just him or a diversity professional but for all faculty and staff.
“When someone walks into the building, we're all going to make them feel welcome,” Dr. Reed said. “I'm not going to be there forever. I want that environment to be good, long after I'm gone.”
In the past few years, Purdue has become more successful in recruiting minority veterinary students. Sixteen percent of the classes of 2011 and 2012 are composed of underrepresented students, which have more than doubled since Dr. Reed's arrival in January 2007.
“I don't take credit. It's just that I communicated the message and it has happened because people are involved and engaged,” he said. “The admissions committee is meeting the needs of society with students who have a variety of interests and backgrounds.”
North Carolina State started an aggressive recruitment effort of minorities after Dr. Arden joined as dean in August 2004. The college's hard work has begun to pay off, Dr. Arden said, with a tangible pool of minority veterinary students.
“We got good pools (of minority applicants) but not many were admitted. We worked with the admissions committee to build classes in a different way,” Dr. Arden said. “That has resulted in increased admissions. This year, to the class admitted, we have offered 14 percent of positions to minority students.”
The next part of the equation, Dr. Arden says, is graduation rates. His college has seen higher non-completion rates among underrepresented students.
“It worries me. There are many factors. It's higher among black females. We're trying to identify why this is so,” he said.
The biggest obstacle, Dr. Arden said, is that while many in academia understand and embrace the concepts of diversity, a big gap exists between understanding and acting to achieve it.
He referenced a survey of veterinary students at North Carolina State a few years ago that asked whether they understood the value and concepts of diversity in the workplace. Ninety-five percent said they did. When asked whether they thought the college had adequately achieved diversity, more than 50 percent said it had. At that time, 0.9 percent of veterinary students were black.
“My point is, if you ask folks, ‘Do you embrace the concept?’ they get it. When you ask ‘Do you know what it takes to achieve diversity?’ it becomes much more nebulous,” Dr. Arden said.
Even so, some would argue not everyone understands the case for diversity.
“How do we get our profession to understand the value and benefit of having a diverse workforce and understand what it means to be responsible citizens and serve our society better?” Dr. Pappaioanou asked. “How do we get veterinarians, students, faculty—most of whom are in the majority, who don't understand how it really is—to get it? I think we have a lot of work to get there.”
She said education is key in that regard, and that the AAVMC is moving ahead on that front. The symposium helped focus that effort.
“What really came through in discussions is, ‘So what is our view as a profession and where is that in our goals, in terms of where we're trying to get?’ ‘Where is the AVMA in its strategic plan, and what is happening along those lines?’ … We have a lot of work to do in our profession at large. The AVMA plans for diversity are an important adjunct and complementary focus on what is happening at our colleges,” Dr. Pappaioanou said.
Dr. Reed conveyed a greater sense of urgency for change within the profession. He mentioned that with the U.S. population in 2010, 52 percent of people under age 18 will be minorities.
“With demographics changing the way they are, if we don't get our act together, it's going to be a sad day for our profession,” Dr. Reed said.
Topical flea and tick products come under EPA scrutiny
A recent spike in the number of adverse reactions to spot-on flea and tick products reported in 2008 prompted the Environmental Protection Agency's April 16 announcement that it is stepping up its evaluation of these products.
Adverse reactions reported from the spot-on products range from mild effects, such as skin irritation, to more serious effects, such as seizures, and, in some cases, death. More than 44,000 potential incidents associated with registered spot-on products were reported to the EPA in 2008.
A cause-and-effect relationship between these products and any individual adverse reaction or incident has not been confirmed, however. The EPA is evaluating available data, including incident data, to help identify and, if necessary, take regulatory action to address risks.
Health Canada has identified similar concerns about the use of spot-on flea and tick products. At press time in April, Health Canada and the EPA were expected to meet with product manufacturers to address the issue, including whether further restrictions are necessary.
The AVMA has advice and links about reporting adverse events for veterinarians and animals owners on its Web site (www.avma.org) in the Animal Health section.
Executive Board Overview: With eye on purse strings, Executive Board looks ahead
Executive Board Chair David L. McCrystle presided over an Executive Board meeting April 2-3 that saw modest spending initiatives yet included an agenda that anticipates the future needs of the veterinary profession.
With an eye on the economy, board members passed a balanced budget for 2010 that, among other cuts, reduced the 2009 travel budgets for officers and Executive Board members by 15 percent (see JAVMA, May 1, 2009, page 1100).
The Task Force on Future Roles and Expectations offered several recommendations on ways the AVMA can increase its outreach to veterinary students. The task force also presented a strategy to most effectively provide attendance of AVMA leadership, including the Association president, at national and international meetings.
In addition, the board green-lighted a privately funded Rural Veterinary Loan Repayment program that will be administered by the American Veterinary Medical Foundation with help from AVMA staff. Similar to the student debt repayment program established by the National Veterinary Medical Service Act, the AVMA/AVMF initiative would also encourage more veterinarians to work in food supply medicine.
Development and production of a new DVD communicating the value of AVMA benefits and services to members and the veterinary profession was approved by the board.
The AVMA assigned legislative priorities to new bills and also reaffirmed some existing priorities in the 111th Congress. That agenda is relevant to a wide range of veterinary issues, including crane conservation, the private ownership of nonhuman primates, horse slaughter, permanent funding of the Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank, and passing a law preventing plaintiff animal owners from recovering noneconomic damages in the event of animal loss or injury.
EXECUTIVE BOARD COVERAGE: Board moves to enhance relationship with trusts
The Executive Board approved an expanded role for the board's Insurance Liaison Committee with the Group Health and Life Insurance Trust and AVMA PLIT.
The liaison committee proposed revising the committee's description to allow the chair or the chair's designee to travel at AVMA expense to attend up to two GHLIT and two PLIT meetings per year, at the invitation of the respective trust. The committee chair is a member of the Executive Board.
The committee explained in the recommendation background that the understanding and relationship between the Executive Board and the trusts will be enhanced with this change.
Travel costs to trust meetings are estimated at $4,400.
EXECUTIVE BOARD COVERAGE: Australian school seeks AVMA accreditation
The Executive Board approved a recommendation from the Council on Education to send two council members and one AVMA staff member to the University of Queensland School of Veterinary Science in Australia to conduct a consultative site visit in 2010. Ongoing discussions have led to the school's request for a consultative site visit. The school has stated its intent to seek AVMA accreditation.
EXECUTIVE BOARD COVERAGE: AVMA looks to strengthen ties with veterinary students
The Executive Board has approved a series of measures aimed at strengthening the Association's relationship with veterinary students.
The Task Force on Future Roles and Expectations recommended to the board several ways the Association could increase its interaction with students. Proposals with the same goal were also made by Dr. W. Ron DeHaven, AVMA CEO, and the Member Outreach Task Force.
The board's approval of these measures is in keeping with action by the AVMA House of Delegates, which in July 2009 passed a resolution calling on the Association to be more proactive in the area of AVMA veterinary student relations (see JAVMA, Sept. 1, 2008, page 689).
At its April meeting, the board approved a strategic approach for AVMA outreach to all veterinarians, but particularly to veterinary students and recent graduates, for the purpose of membership recruitment and retention.
As part of the new approach, approved member outreach programs and activities should comply with the following criteria: provide benefits (tangible or intangible) to all AVMA members, promote member retention, and improve visibility of the Association. Existing and available programs that meet these criteria should use contemporary technology to effectively communicate with the target audience.
In addition, programs should be developed that encourage and allow increased participation of underrepresented gender, generational, and racial and ethnic groups. Programs should also communicate the value of AVMA membership as well as the AVMA's appreciation of its members' support.
Also approved by the board was a charge to the AVMA/American Society of Veterinary Medical Association Executives Joint Committee to develop and conduct a survey of state veterinary medical associations/societies to determine how each state interacts with veterinary students. The findings will be used by the board to determine how the AVMA and state VMAs can cooperatively and more effectively present the value of organized veterinary medicine to the students.
The relationship between the Association and veterinary students is managed mostly by the Membership and Field Services Division and the AVMA vice president. The Task Force on Future Roles and Expectations believes their work is valuable but also thinks that the AVMA/student relationship can be improved and the Association's visibility enhanced by using outside speakers to give talks on relevant subjects. Board members approved $5,000 to cover honorariums and travel costs of those speakers.
The board passed three new provisions pertaining to veterinary students in the AVMA Travel Policy. The provisions are as follows:
AVMA representatives who visit veterinary colleges/schools are encouraged to promote cooperation between the AVMA and state veterinary medical associations/societies. This may include joint presentations to students that explain the value of organized veterinary medicine and encourage participation in both state and national organizations.
Executive Board members are authorized, but not required, to attend two SAVMA Symposiums during their terms of office—one during the first three years of their term, and the other during the last three years of their term. The Executive Board Chair will ensure that adequate Executive Board representation is present at each Symposium, but not to exceed five Executive Board members, including officers, at each year's Symposium.
All Executive Board members or staff who visit a veterinary college/school are encouraged to visit with the faculty, in addition to the Student Chapter of the AVMA (SCAVMA) faculty advisors, where possible and feasible, to broaden the relationship between faculty and organized veterinary medicine.
On a related note, the board approved spending an additional $2,400 for a total of $16,000 a year for food and soft drinks for students at the annual veterinary school visits by the vice president or staff.
Starting in July 2010, the AVMA president will spend more time at national, international, and regional meetings, and less time at gatherings of state VMAs.
The new strategy is just one of several AVMA officer-related provisions added to the AVMA Travel Policy on recommendation of the Task Force on Future Roles and Expectations and approval of the Executive Board. The changes are designed to most effectively provide AVMA representation while also making the position of AVMA president less onerous.
The policy concerning the role of the AVMA president was proposed by the task force as a means for the president to give greater attention to the broader gatherings. The policy states:
Part of the role of the AVMA President (and the President-Elect, Immediate Past President, Executive Board Chair, and Vice President, when representing the President) is to represent the AVMA at national (including the meetings of Constituent Allied Veterinary Organizations and SAVMA Symposium), international, and regional meetings (where there is a leadership component to the meeting and not just continuing education), and to represent the AVMA at up to ten meetings of the Principal Veterinary Organizations (veterinary organizations representing each state, district, territory, and possession of the United States of America as determined by the House of Delegates) unless extenuating circumstances exist. It is the role of Executive Board District Representatives to represent the AVMA at meetings of state veterinary medical associations in their District.
Other roles of the President include national public relations appearances to advocate for AVMA policies and building relationships with national associations and industries related to veterinary medicine.
The President and President-Elect will develop national and international travel plans in consultation with the AVMA CEO to maximize the benefits and value of such travel. All officers are expected to manage their travel so that the individual officer's semi-annual travel budget is not over spent.
The change is effective beginning July 2010 (2010-2011 Association year).
The task force estimated that the AVMA president annually expends about 340 travel days for the Association. About 130 of those days have been for attendance at meetings of the state VMAs.
Under the new plan, the president has more time to attend gatherings of constituent allied veterinary organizations, the Student AVMA Educational Symposium, regional leadership meetings, other nations' veterinary meetings, the World Veterinary Congress, PANVET meeting, Federation of Veterinarians of Europe meeting, and the International Military Veterinary Symposium.
This plan will also reduce the time commitment of the president-elect, immediate past president, Executive Board chair, and vice president to represent the president at meetings, according to the task force.
The board approved the following other additions to the AVMA Travel Policy:
Part of the role of the AVMA President-Elect is to utilize AVMA resources to best educate himself or herself on the policies and issues that would prepare him or her for their role as President. This includes attendance at meetings of AVMA entities (e.g., councils, committees, task forces) as deemed appropriate by the President-Elect. This also includes serving as the liaison from the Executive Board to the House Advisory Committee.
Executive Board members, including the Chair but not other officers, shall attend the annual meeting of each Principal Veterinary Organization (veterinary organizations representing each state, district, territory, and possession of the United States of America as determined by the House of Delegates) in their district. If attendance by that Board member is not possible, the Executive Board Chair will appoint a substitute.
Executive Board members, other than the President, are not authorized to attend regional meetings except by approval of the Executive Board Chair in consultation with the Executive Vice President.
Executive Board liaisons to councils and committees are authorized, but not required, to physically attend one meeting of that entity each year in whole or in part, when beneficial to the entity or to the Executive Board. Attendance at an additional meeting in the Association year will require approval of the Executive Board Chair.
Executive Board members will be appointed by the Executive Board Chair to serve as liaison between the AVMA Executive Board and the assigned Constituent Allied Veterinary Organization and to assist the AVMA President in his or her role to represent the AVMA at meetings of the Constituent Allied Veterinary Organizations.
The Executive Board liaisons are not authorized to attend the meetings of the Constituent Allied Veterinary Organizations but will develop relationships with the allied organization leadership through other means. The Executive Board Chair, in consultation with the Executive Vice President, may approve exceptions to this policy. If the President or his or her designee cannot attend the annual meeting of a Constituent Allied Veterinary Organization, then the Executive Board liaison will be authorized to attend.
Officers are expected to manage their travel so that travel expenses do not exceed the approved budgeted amount for their travel. Officers are provided with monthly financial statements to assist with monitoring and projection of expenditures.
Because the travel expenses of other Executive Board members are consolidated into one budget line item, it is more difficult for individual Executive Board members to monitor and project travel expenses for the Executive Board. However, Executive Board members are also expected to manage travel so that travel expenses do not exceed the approved budgeted amount. AVMA staff will assist with monitoring and projection of Executive Board travel expenditures.
Reimbursement of travel expenses after the approved budgeted amount for an officers travel is exceeded by more than $1,000 will require approval of the Budget and Financial Review Committee.
EXECUTIVE BOARD COVERAGE: Proposal could lead to privately funded student loan help
A privately funded loan repayment program could help bring veterinarians to food animal practices in rural areas, particularly to communities with little or no access to veterinary services.
The AVMA Executive Board approved a proposal April 3 to initiate a privately funded rural veterinary loan repayment program that will be administered by the American Veterinary Medical Foundation and AVMA staff.
Details of the proposal, including financial commitments from sponsors and the amount of money that would go to participants, were being worked out at press time. The program was scheduled to be presented April 30 at the Animal Health Institute's 2009 meeting.
AVMA CEO W. Ron DeHaven and Assistant Executive Vice President Lyle P. Vogel, as workforce strategic goal manager, recommended the program.
Veterinary students could be recruited for the program by spring 2010.
The Executive Board approved several recommendations from its Legislative Advisory Committee regarding bills in the 111th Congress.
The Horse Transportation Safety Act of 2009 (H.R. 305) was given a designation of “active pursuit of passage.” The bill would prohibit the interstate transportation of horses in a motor vehicle containing two or more levels.
Support of H.R. 305 is consistent with the AVMA policy on “Humane Transport of Equines,” the LAC explained in the recommendation background. Moreover, the AVMA has consistently supported related proposals aimed at protecting the welfare of horses in transit to slaughter.
The Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act (H.R. 503/S. 727) was designated for “active pursuit of defeat.” The legislation would criminalize shipping, transporting, purchasing, selling, delivering, or receiving any horse, horse flesh, or carcass with the intent that it be used for human consumption.
The AVMA opposes the bill because it fails to adequately address the fundamental welfare issues associated with unwanted horses that will be impacted by this legislation.
The Crane Conservation Act of 2009 (H.R. 388/S. 197) was designated for “support.” The bill establishes a fund under the Multinational Species Conservation Fund to assist in the conservation of cranes by supporting and providing financial resources for conservation programs in countries whose activities affect cranes and their ecosystems. The House passed H.R. 388 April 21.
The AVMA has historically supported the Multinational Species Conservation Fund as a member of the Multinational Species Coalition. Support of this effort is consistent with AVMA policy on “Conservation of Wild and Exotic Animals.”
The Great Cats and Rare Canids Act of 2009 (H.R. 411/S. 529) was designated for “support.” The bill sets up a fund under the Multinational Species Conservation Fund to assist in the conservation of rare felids and rare canids, which face a variety of threats, including habitat degradation, loss of natural prey, intentional and unintentional takings by humans, and disease transmission. The fund will not support North American species, including the gray wolf. The House passed H.R. 411 April 21.
Support of this effort is consistent with AVMA policy on “Conservation of Wild and Exotic Animals.”
The Captive Primate Safety Act of 2009 (H.R. 80/S. 462) was designated for “nonsupport.” This legislation would make it unlawful to import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, or purchase in interstate or foreign commerce any prohibited wildlife species. Exemptions are made for certain persons or agencies, such as those licensed by the Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
The AVMA had a position of “support” for that legislation in the 110th Congress, but the current version has an exception for the use of nonhuman primates as service animals, which conflicts directly with the AVMA policy on “Nonhuman Primates as Assistance Animals” and indirectly with the policy on “Private Ownership of Wild Animals.” The LAC recommended that GRD staff work with Congress to address the Association's concerns with the legislation.
In addition, the board reaffirmed several AVMA legislative positions from the 110th Congress.
EXECUTIVE BOARD COVERAGE: AVMA: Mandatory spay/neuter a bad idea
The AVMA policy on “Dog and Cat Population Control” has been revised to express the Association's nonsupport for regulations or laws mandating spay/neuter of privately owned, nonshelter dogs and cats.
The Animal Welfare Committee recommended the changes to the policy, which reads, in part, as follows: “The AVMA does not support regulations or legislation mandating spay/neuter of privately owned, non-shelter dogs and cats. Although spaying and neutering helps control dog and cat populations, mandatory approaches may contribute to pet owners avoiding licensing, rabies vaccination and veterinary care for their pets, and may have other unintended consequences.”
The policy was adopted in November 2004 and considered by the AWC in accord with the five-year review directive. After review and discussion, committee members agreed that the AVMA should not support regulations or legislation mandating spay/neuter of privately owned, nonshelter dogs and cats for a number of reasons, which were provided in the background of the recommended policy changes.
Although spay/neuter is an important part of effective population control programs, and may benefit individual dogs and cats if performed at the appropriate time, whether and when to spay/neuter specific animals requires the application of science and professional judgment to ensure the best outcome for veterinary patients and their owners. Prevention of unexpected litters; reduced incidences of some cancers and reproductive diseases; and prevention and amelioration of certain undesirable behaviors have been documented as benefits to spaying/neutering dogs and cats. However, potential health problems associated with spaying and neutering have also been identified, including an increased risk of prostatic cancer in males; increased risks of bone cancer and hip dysplasia in large-breed dogs associated with sterilization before maturity; and increased incidences of obesity, diabetes, urinary tract infections, urinary incontinence, and hypothyroidism.
There are conflicting reports regarding euthanasia rates and animal control costs achieved in communities that have enacted mandatory spay/neuter.
Mandating spay/neuter can increase canine, feline, and zoonotic disease risks because some people will attempt to avoid detection of their unaltered pets by failing to seek veterinary care.
The AVMA policy on “Dog and Cat Population Control” can be read along with other Association policies at www.avma.org in the Scientific section under Policy.
EXECUTIVE BOARD COVERAGE: AVMA endorses service dog program
The AVMA endorsed the second ACVO/Merial National Service Dog Eye Exam Day, which was subsequently held May 3-9.
The Executive Board approved the recommendation from the Communications Division to endorse the program, which provides owners of service dogs with free sight evaluations by diplomates of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists. The examinations establish baselines for future examinations and identify potential vision-threatening conditions. More than 150 ACVO diplomates in the United States and Canada offered complimentary examinations on thousands of service dogs.
An official AVMA endorsement provides license to ACVO to use the AVMA logo on their Web site and in printed collateral materials. It also allowed the AVMA to more deeply engage with the ACVO to help the outreach effort achieve greater media attention.
The Executive Board approved a recommendation from the Council on Education to grant “continued full recognition” to the following veterinary specialty organizations: American College of Theriogenologists, American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists, American College of Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology, American Board of Veterinary Practitioners, American Board of Veterinary Toxicology, American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine, American College of Poultry Veterinarians, American College of Veterinary Anesthesiologists, American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, American College of Veterinary Dermatology, American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, American College of Veterinary Microbiologists, American College of Veterinary Nutrition, American College of Veterinary Pathologists, American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, American College of Veterinary Radiology, American College of Veterinary Surgeons, American College of Zoological Medicine, and American Veterinary Dental College.
The COE recommendation concurs with that of the American Board of Veterinary Specialties. Per the ABVS Policies and Procedures Manual, the recognition is granted for one year.
• “National New Animal Drug Application Coordinator for Aquaculture”
• “Executive Board Attendance at the 2009 State Public Policy Symposium”
• “National Institute for Animal Agriculture Support”
• “Veterinary Supervision of Animal Drug Use”
• “Medical Care for Pets of Indigent People”
• “Student AVMA Attendance at the Veterinary Leadership Conference”
• “International Veterinary Student Association Travel”
• The stipends and selection portions of the “Governmental Relations Division Veterinary Student Externship Program”
EXECUTIVE BOARD COVERAGE: Some pet policies revisited
Veterinarians are more strongly encouraged to scan pets and horses for electronic identification devices because of a policy change implemented by the Executive Board April 3.
The AVMA policy “The Objectives and Key Elements Needed for Effective Electronic Identification of Companion Animals, Birds, and Equids” now states such animals should be scanned “whenever possible” when presented to a veterinarian rather than “when deemed necessary.” Other changes include the addition of a provision that veterinarians or their staff should inform a client when a microchip from a previous owner is found and provide contact information for the microchip database company.
In other policy changes also recommended by the Council on Veterinary Service, the board took the following actions:
• Rescinded the AVMA policy “Ferrets,” which encouraged responsible ownership and veterinary care of the animals but singled out the one species for commentary
• Rescinded the AVMA policy “Medical Care for the Pets of Indigent People,” which encouraged cooperation among humane and veterinary associations to provide such care; veterinary practices and veterinary associations routinely provide such care on a case-by-case basis
• Added a statement to the AVMA policy “Veterinary Dentistry” indicating veterinary health care workers may be allowed to perform certain dental procedures “as directed under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian in accordance with state regulations”
EXECUTIVE BOARD COVERAGE: Voting member meeting scheduled for AVMA convention
The Executive Board approved scheduling the annual meeting of AVMA voting members for 7 a.m. July 11, 2009, at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center in Seattle.
The meeting will be held in conjunction with the opening session of the AVMA Annual Convention.
EXECUTIVE BOARD COVERAGE: Aquatic animal health measures approved
A change in AVMA policy encourages the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service to help fund activities aimed at prevention, control and eradication of foreign aquatic animal pathogens.
The Executive Board approved changes to the policy “Foreign Aquatic Animal Pathogens,” which now encourages those federal agencies to aid the Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service in funding activities to prevent the introduction of foreign aquatic animal pathogens and to develop programs for the control and eradication of foreign animal diseases in aquatic species, similar to programs for animal diseases in terrestrial species.
The policy previously mentioned only USDA-APHIS. But the changes, approved by the board April 3, recognize that the USFWS and the NMFS will fill an important role in helping implement the activities. They are also participating in the development of the U.S. National Aquatic Animal Health Plan that is anticipated to be rolled out later in 2009.
The board also revised the policy “AVMA Statement on Veterinarians in Aquatic Animal Medicine,” which now states USDA-accredited veterinarians, state veterinarians, and the USDA-APHIS “should be”—rather than “are”—the final authorities in inspecting and certifying the health of aquatic animals. Authorities in other federal agencies issue export health certificates for some aquatic animals.
The board also discontinued financial support for the national new animal drug application coordinator for aquaculture. The AVMA has provided $10,000 annually to partly support the salary of the coordinator, who helped expedite the FDA approval of new drugs for use in aquaculture.
All three recommendations came from the AVMA Aquatic Veterinary Medicine Committee.
EXECUTIVE BOARD COVERAGE: New AVMA policy: Animal carcasses not an immediate risk
A new AVMA policy indicates carcasses of animals that die of injuries, particularly during mass natural disasters, do not pose immediate health risks for humans.
The AVMA Committee on Disaster and Emergency Issues recommended the policy adopted by the Executive Board April 3. It states:
AVMA POLICY: Animal Carcass Risk in Natural Disasters
Consistent with current scientific literature and the conclusions of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the AVMA recognizes that animals who die from injuries, including massive animal deaths in cases of natural disasters, generally do not represent a health hazard for humans. The presence of dead bodies that result from a disaster, without the presence of another risk factor, is not the cause for the spread of infectious diseases. (PAHO Manual, Ch 3, Conclusions; p. 81)
Background on the policy cites conclusions from the Pan American Health Organization—in refuting a myth prevalent in disaster response—that carcasses require quick removal or disposal to prevent the spread of disease.
A PAHO publication, “Management of Dead Bodies in Disaster Situations,” states, in part, that confusion among authorities and the public about the risk from dead human and animal bodies “has frequently led to incorrect prioritization and use of scarce resources in crisis situations.” It cites as an example the aftermath of Atlantic Hurricane Mitch, in which limited supplies of fuel were used to cremate bodies.
As for threats originating specifically from animal carcasses, the PAHO publication states that animal corpses present a risk only through “specific infectious agents” or through water contamination by feces or discharge from lesions.
EXECUTIVE BOARD COVERAGE: Board appoints representatives to committees, liaisons
The Executive Board named the following individuals to the entities indicated, representing the designated areas. These veterinarians will begin serving in their roles at the conclusion of the AVMA House of Delegates session July 9-10 in Seattle. The duration of each term varies.
Animal Welfare Committee
American Animal Hospital Association—Dr. Lauren K. Keating, Natural Bridge Station, Va.; American Association of Equine Practitioners—Dr. Nathaniel T. Messer, Columbia, Mo.; American Society of Veterinary Medical Association Executives—Glenn M. Kolb, Salem, Ore.; Aquatic animal medicine—Dr. Stephen A. Smith, Blacksburg, Va.; Association of Shelter Veterinarians—Dr. Martha M. Smith-Blackmore, East Weymouth, Mass.; Humane or animal welfare organization—Dr. Julie D. Dinnage, Scottsdale, Ariz.; State veterinary medical associations—Dr. Veronica M. Maldonado, South San Francisco; SVMA alternate—Dr. Deborah L. Johnson, Waterville, Ohio
Aquatic Veterinary Medicine Committee
Nonveterinarian aquaculture industry—Dr. Andrew E. Goodwin, Pine Bluff, Ariz.; industrial veterinary medicine—Dr. Nicholas J. Saint-Erne, Phoenix
AVMA Group Health & Life Insurance Trust
Members-at-large—Drs. James H. Brandt, Nokomis, Fla.; James F. Peddie, Ventura, Calif.
Member-at-large—Dr. Kent D. McClure, Manassas, Va.
AVMAPAC Policy Board
Area 1, Eastern states—Dr. Richard D. Wilkes, St. Petersburg, Fla.; area 3, Western states—Dr. Travis D. McDermott, Henderson, Nev.
Clinical Practitioners Advisory Committee
American Association of Avian Pathologists—Dr. Danny L. Magee, Brandon, Miss.; American Association of Swine Veterinarians alternate—Dr. Timothy P. Trayer, Palmyra, Pa.
Committee on Disaster and Emergency Issues
State veterinarians—Dr. Charlotte A. Krugler, Elgin, S.C.; federal or state public health agency—Dr. Carol H. Rubin, Decatur, Ga.
Committee on Environmental Issues
Small animal medicine—Dr. Thomas R. Kendall, Sacramento, Calif.; government service—Dr. Katie A. Portacci, Fort Collins, Colo.; swine practice—Dr. Craig J. Rowles, Carroll, Iowa; small ruminant practice—Dr. Peregrine L. Wolff, Corvallis, Ore.
Committee on the Human-Animal Bond
Small animal clinical practice—Dr. Hillary Noyes, San Diego; zoo/aquatic/wildlife medicine—Dr. Steven R. Brown, Newport, Ore.
Committee on International Veterinary Affairs
Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges—Dr. Prema Arasu, Cary, N.C.
Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities
Veterinary state boards—Dr. John C. Lawrence, Lonsdale, Minn.
Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates
Canadian National Examining Board—Dr. Baljit Singh, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
Food Safety Advisory Committee
American Association of Avian Pathologists—Dr. Robert J. O'Connor, Turlock, Calif.; American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners—Dr. Christine B. Navarre, Baton Rouge, La.; American Association of Bovine Practitioners—Dr. David R. Smith, Lincoln, Neb.; American Association of Swine Veterinarians—Dr. Elizabeth A. Wagstrom, Des Moines, Iowa
Governance Performance Review Committee
House of Delegates—Dr. Timothy L. Montgomery, Dacula, Ga.
Legislative Advisory Committee
American Association of Equine Practitioners—Dr. Mylon E. Filkins, Bakersfield, Calif.; AAEP alternate—Dr. Miles A. Hildebrand, Saint Clair, Mich.; American Association of Avian Pathologists—Dr. Gregg J. Cutler, Moorpark, Calif.; American Society of Laboratory Animal Practitioners—Dr. Stacy L. Pritt, Denver, Pa.; ASLAP alternate—Dr. R. Jack Kinkler, East Lyme, Conn.; American Association of Swine Veterinarians—Dr. Harry O. Snelson, Burgaw, N.C.; AASV alternate—Dr. John T. Waddell, Sutton, Neb.
Member Services Committee
Private clinical practice, practice owner—Dr. Robert A. Dietl, Richfield, Minn.; honor roll—Dr. Lawrence M. Borst, Indianapolis; private clinical practice, predominantly food animal—Dr. Tracy Rhodes, Buffalo, Wyo.
One Health Joint Steering Committee
AVMA—Dr. Michael B. Cates, Manhattan, Kan.
State Advocacy Committee
Area 1, Eastern states—Dr. Ernest C. Godfrey, Pinellas Park, Fla.; area 2, Central states—Dr. Tom J. Johnson, Ames, Iowa; Legislative Advisory Committee—Dr. Gerald R. Schmoling, Tampa, Fla.
American Society of Veterinary Medical Association Executives—Lynn Appel, Dover, Del.
World Veterinary Association councilor, North America—Dr. Lyle P. Vogel, Schaumburg, Ill.; American Horse Council Unwanted Horse Coalition—Dr. Nathaniel T. Messer, Columbia, Mo.; National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy—Dr. Julie D. Dinnage, Scottsdale, Ariz.; Psittacosis Compendium Committee/National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians—Dr. Tracy S. DuVernoy, Silver Spring, Md.
The Executive Board and staff leadership will take over duties of a committee that fostered and coordinated a strategic planning process in collaboration with the board and staff.
The Strategic Planning Committee was sunset during the April 3 Executive Board meeting. According to a recommendation by the committee to consider sunsetting it, the SPC was ready to transfer oversight of the planning process to the Executive Board and Office of the Executive Vice President as envisioned. The committee noted that the board, executive vice president, staff goal managers and entity chairs have already embraced strategic planning.
The board requested that a formal letter of thanks and honor be sent to the Strategic Planning Committee expressing gratitude for the committee's accomplishments to advance the Association and for its decision to recommend consideration of its sunset.
In other initiatives, a three-member executive subcommittee of the Animal Agriculture Liaison Committee will deal with time-sensitive matters between meetings.
The board authorized creation of the Issue Management Subcommittee, which will include the AALC chair and two members appointed by the AALC chair from the committee. The change was recommended by the AALC at the suggestion of the AVMA Governance Performance Review Committee.
Because of another change approved at the meeting, an AVMA staff member will serve as liaison representative to the United States Animal Health Association, rather than a member of the Executive Board, as has been the policy.
The change was made because of the increasing complexity of animal health issues and Executive Board responsibilities as well as a need for a consistent liaison representative to pass on information to the board and the Council on Public Health and Regulatory Veterinary Medicine.
EXECUTIVE BOARD COVERAGE: AVMA addresses international presence
International promotion of AVMA standards and recognition of veterinarians' importance in food trade were among issues addressed by the Executive Board April 3.
The board accepted a white paper on international opportunities submitted by the Committee on International Veterinary Affairs for board members' consideration as they deliberate over influencing international policy, international opinion, and global challenges facing the veterinary profession.
The board also approved sending a letter to the Secretary of Agriculture and the administrator of the Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. In the letter, the AVMA will stress how important veterinarians are in maintaining safe food trade and improving animal health as well as emphasize the importance of the continued international presence of U.S. veterinarians who work with APHIS International Services.
The board approved $5,500 in expenses proposed by the Office of the Executive Vice President for Dr. W. Ron DeHaven and his wife to travel to Paris in October for the Evolving Veterinary Education for a Safer World conference. The conference is intended partly to establish minimum global veterinary educational standards to ensure the qualifications of every individual with the title “veterinarian.”
In other initiatives, Dr. Allen Y. Miyahara of Honolulu will retain his title as ambassador for Pacific Rim development in promoting the AVMA Annual Convention.
The AVMA will not, however, provide $6,000 for the chair of the American Board of Veterinary Specialties or the chair's delegate to attend the 2010 and 2011 meetings of the European Board of Veterinary Specialization in Brussels, Belgium.
Medications for rheumatoid arthritis
The following medications are among the most effective for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis:
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
Over-the-counter and prescription-strength NSAIDs, including ibuprofen and naproxen sodium, help relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Possible adverse effects with long-term, high-dosage use include ringing in the ears, gastric ulcers, heart problems, stomach bleeding, and liver and kidney damage.
Corticosteroid medications reduce inflammation and pain while slowing joint damage. They may become less effective with long-term use and can carry serious adverse effects, including easy bruising, thinning of bones, cataracts, weight gain, a rounding of the face, and diabetes.
Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs
DMARDs are typically prescribed in the early stages of rheumatoid arthritis to slow the disease and limit joint and tissue damage.
Immunosuppressants help “tame” the immune system. Some also attack and eliminate cells associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Potentially serious adverse effects include increased susceptibility to infection.
TNF-alpha is a cytokine that acts as an inflammatory agent in rheumatoid arthritis. TNF inhibitors, such as etancercept and adalimumab, target or block this cytokine to help reduce pain, morning stiffness, and tender or swollen joints—and also may stop progression of rheumatoid arthritis. Potential adverse effects include injection-site irritation, worsening of congestive heart failure, blood disorders, lymphoma, demyelinating diseases, and increased risk of infection.
Rheumatoid arthritis has no cure, but treatments exist
Disability insurance may be helpful for patients who later have to leave the workforce
Despite affecting more than 2.5 million Americans and being the subject of active global research, rheumatoid arthritis remains a mystery in terms of causes, risk factors, and a cure.
Rheumatoid arthritis, which affects more women than men, can occur at any age, although it most often develops between the ages of 40 and 50. The autoimmune disease causes painful, chronic inflammation of the joints and can cause inflammation of the tissue around the joints as well as other organs.
The joint damage caused by rheumatoid arthritis can be debilitating and disfiguring, resulting in pain, loss of function, and permanent disability. But the impact of the disease goes beyond physical. Quality of life declines as patients find it difficult or impossible to go about their daily activities.
In fact, an estimated 50 percent of patients with rheumatoid arthritis are forced to leave the workforce within 10 years of onset—often long before reaching retirement—according to a report appearing in the European Journal of Health Economics last year. As a result, many patients already battling a devastating disease face an uncertain financial future because of lost income. Disability insurance may help in this situation.
Treatment, which is limited primarily to controlling pain and slowing the progression of the disease, is costly. The global market for treatments for rheumatoid arthritis is expected to reach $27 billion in 2015, according to Espicom market research, up from $11.6 billion in 2007. Most of the spending goes toward nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs, glucocorticoids, disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, and biologic therapies.
The AVMA Group Health and Life Insurance Trust paid $534,807 in claims related to rheumatoid arthritis in 2008, up from $505,748 in 2007. The figures include $350,000 to $400,000 per year, or about $4,250 per patient, for medications covered by the Trust's prescription drug benefit. Patients without insurance can potentially spend more than $5,000 per year out of their own pocket just for medications.
Symptoms, diagnosis, and progression
Although infectious agents such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi have long been suspected of causing rheumatoid arthritis, no scientific evidence has proved this hypothesis.
Some scientists believe that the tendency to develop rheumatoid arthritis may be genetic, whereas others believe environmental factors and certain infections trigger the immune system to attack the body's own tissues, resulting in the inflammation in the joint lining that characterizes the disease. Recent findings also indicate that smoking may increase the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
Among the most common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are joint pain and swelling, joints that are tender to the touch, red and puffy hands, firm bumps of tissue under the skin on the arms, fatigue, morning stiffness that lasts at least half an hour, fever, and weight loss.
Diagnosis of the disease typically begins with a physical examination and blood tests to detect any elevation in the erythrocyte sedimentation rate, which indicates the presence of an inflammatory process in the body. Blood tests also may measure rheumatoid factor and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies, and an analysis of joint fluid may be conducted to help rule out other diseases or conditions.
Rheumatoid arthritis progresses in three stages:
Early rheumatoid arthritis tends to affect the small joints in the wrists, hands, ankles, and feet. As the disease progresses, joints in the shoulders, elbows, knees, hips, jaw, and neck also can be affected. Over time, the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis can vary in severity and even go into temporary remission. Nevertheless, there is no cure for the disease.
Early, aggressive treatment is key
Early diagnosis and proper treatment of rheumatoid arthritis are crucial to limiting joint damage and reducing loss of mobility. Treatment varies, depending on the severity of the disease, lifestyle factors, and other medical conditions, but it is typically focused on medications to relieve pain and inflammation, stop or slow joint damage, and improve joint function (see box).
In severe cases or when rheumatoid arthritis does not respond to medication, surgery may be an option to repair or replace damaged joints, reduce pain, and correct deformities. Among the most common surgical procedures are total joint replacements, tendon repairs, and removal of the synovium.
GHLIT disability insurance may help veterinarians meet financial obligations if they become unable to work because of rheumatoid arthritis or other covered disabling illnesses or accidents. Additional information about the Trust's insurance program—including exclusions, limitations, rates, eligibility, and renewal provisions—is available by calling (800) 621-6360. GHLIT is underwritten by New York Life Insurance Co.
—PREPARED BY THE AVMA GROUP HEALTH AND LIFE INSURANCE TRUST
Many faces, one profession
Animal Agriculture Liaison Committee
Charge/mission: Identify concerns for the veterinary profession and producers of food from animals, strengthen relationships between the AVMA and animal agriculture organizations, and improve communications with food animal organizations to support decision making by the AVMA.
Dr. Jerry L. Torrison (MIN '86), chair, University of Minnesota; representing the National Institute for Animal Agriculture
Dr. Billy R. Clay (OKL '70), Vetta Consulting LLC, Stillwater, Okla.; representing the Council on Public Health and Regulatory Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Rexanne M. Struve (KSU '76), Veterinary Association of Manning, Manning, Iowa; representing the Academy of Rural Veterinarians
Dr. Shaun H. Sweiger (MO '94), Sweiger Enterprises, Oklahoma City; representing the Academy of Veterinary Consultants
Dr. Daniel A. Gingerich (MIN '71), Turtle Creek Biomedical Consulting, Lebanon, Ohio; representing the American Academy of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Dr. Robert D. Evans (VMR '98), Harrisonburg, Va.; representing the American Association of Avian Pathologists
Dr. Terry W. Lehenbauer (OKL '79), Oklahoma State University; representing the American Association of Bovine Practitioners
Dr. Byron J. Dedrickson (KSU '75), Merial Ltd., Duluth, Ga.; representing the American Association of Corporate and Public Practice Veterinarians
Dr. Jeanne M. Rankin (COL '87), Helena, Mont.; representing the American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners
Dr. Timothy P. Trayer (OSU '79), Palmyra, Pa.; representing the American Association of Swine Veterinarians
Dr. James R. Logan (COL '75), Shoshoni, Wyo.; representing the American Sheep Industry Association
Dr. Tony M. Forshey (OSU '77), Granville, Ohio; representing the Aquatic Livestock Alliance
Dr. John U. Thomson (ISU '67), Iowa State University; representing the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges
Dr. Christopher C.L. Chase (ISU '80), South Dakota State University; representing the Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents
Dr. Stanley E. Held (ISU '57), Buffalo, Minn.; representing the Council on Veterinary Service
Dr. John R. Scamahorn (PUR '72), Greencastle, Ind.; representing the Executive Board
Dr. Scott A. Reynolds (KSU '94), Pitchfork Angus, Berwyn, Neb.; representing the National Cattlemen's Beef Association
Dr. Charles M. Corsiglia (AUB '93), Oakdale, Calif.; representing the National Chicken Council
Dr. John H. Mahoney (IL '77), Land O'Lakes Purina Feed LLC, Gray Summit, Mo.; representing the National Milk Producers Federation
Dr. Lisa J. Becton (NCU '94), National Pork Board, Des Moines, Iowa; representing the National Pork Board
Dr. David J. Mills (ISU '81), Jennie-O Turkey Store, Barron, Wis.; representing the National Turkey Federation
Dr. Joe C. Gillespie (TEX '95), Gillespie Veterinary Service PC, McCook, Neb.; representing the National Mastitis Council
Dr. Chester L. Rawson (IL '68), Markesan, Wis.; representing the Society for Theriogenology
Dr. Steven L. Halstead (MSU '82), Bellevue, Mich.; representing the U.S. Animal Health Association
What current project are you most excited about?
Dr. David Scarfe, staff consultant for the AALC, said the committee is now aligning efforts and deliberations with the five Executive Board-approved strategic goals of advocacy, veterinary workforce development, education, animal welfare and economic viability.
A recent meaningful accomplishment:
In dealing with the shortage of veterinarians in rural areas, the committee recognized the workforce needs for veterinarians involved with all aspects of the food supply, Dr. Scarfe said. The result is a food supply veterinary medicine initiative, including a new AVMA Web area (www.avma.org/fsvm) with information on the importance of the issue, where the shortages are, and what can be done.
How is your entity addressing the profession's pressing issues and concerns of recent graduates?
In addition to updating the FSVM Web resources, the AALC and its member organizations supported and helped lobby to maintain the Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank, a critical resource that supports veterinarians' ability to use extralabel drugs. Other issues being addressed include antimicrobial use and resistance in livestock, livestock welfare, revisions of the National Veterinary Accreditation Program, and a recent Pew Commission report and recommendation concerning industrial farm animal production.
How is the entity addressing the strategic or operational goals of the AVMA?
AALC Chair Jerry L. Torrison said in-depth involvement of members in livestock production, medicine and research, animal health policy and regulation, and food supply veterinary medical education helps the AALC consider diverse issues and address strategic and operational goals in specific ways.
The committee has worked closely with the AVMA and key stakeholders to find solutions to looming workforce shortages, Dr. Torrison said. With member ties to allied organizations, the key role of the AALC remains advocacy within and on behalf of the AVMA.
More than 400 positions exist on AVMA councils, committees, and task forces. To showcase the diverse backgrounds and expertise of the volunteers who serve on them and to inspire even more AVMA members to participate, JAVMA News is featuring a few entities each month. For more information about serving on one of these entities, go to www.avma.org/about_avma/governance/volunteering, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
American Board of Veterinary Specialties
Charge/mission: The board's work includes assisting groups submitting petitions for establishment and recognition of specialty organizations, making recommendations to the Council on Education regarding AVMA recognition, ensuring fairness in credentialing and examination procedures, and promoting specialization.
Dr. Robert D. Pechman (CAL '69), chair, Stillwater, Okla.; representing the American College of Veterinary Radiology
Dr. Colin E. Harvey (BRI '66), chair-elect, University of Pennsylvania; representing the American Veterinary Dental College
Dr. Dennis D. French (MIN '78), Louisiana State University; representing the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners
Dr. Mike J. Murphy (TEX '81), Stillwater, Minn.; representing the American Board of Veterinary Toxicology
Dr. Lynn C. Anderson (ISU '77), Charles River Laboratories Inc., Wilmington, Mass.; representing the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine
Dr. Francene S. Van Sambeek (MSU '94), Cullman, Ala.; representing the American College of Poultry Veterinarians
Dr. Dale L. Paccamonti (MSU '81), Louisiana State University; representing the American College of Theriogenologists
Dr. Janyce Seahorn (ISU '80), Georgetown, Ky.; representing the American College of Veterinary Anesthesiologists
Dr. Valarie V. Tynes (TEX '87), Premier Vet Behavior Consulting, Fort Worth, Texas; representing the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists
Dr. Albert Boeckh (NIT '89), Merial Limited, Duluth, Ga.; representing the American College of Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology
Dr. John M. MacDonald (COR '74), Auburn, Ala.; representing the American College of Veterinary Dermatology
Dr. Robert Murtaugh (MIN '80), Holliston, Mass.; representing the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care
Dr. William R. Fenner (TEX '73), Columbus, Ohio; representing the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Dr. Christopher S. Hayhow (OSU '80), De Soto, Kan.; representing the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists
Dr. John E. Bauer (IL '79), Texas A&M University; representing the American College of Veterinary Nutrition
Dr. Donald D. Flemming (CAL '79), Contra Costa Animal Eye Clinic, Pleasant Hill, Calif.; representing the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists
Dr. Robert E. Hall (ISU '50), Covance Laboratories, Madison, Wis.; representing the American College of Veterinary Pathologists
Dr. John P. Sanders (TEN '85), Kearneysville, W. Va.; representing the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine
Dr. Delbert J. Krahwinkel (AUB '66), University of Tennessee; representing the American College of Veterinary Surgeons
Dr. Suzanne Kennedy-Stoskopf (MSU '76), North Carolina State University; representing the American College of Zoological Medicine
Dr. Ralph C. Richardson (KSU '70), Kansas State University; representing the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges
Dr. William S. Swecker (VMR '84), Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine; representing the Council on Education
What current project are you most excited about?
Dr. Karen Brandt, assistant director of the AVMA Education and Research Division, said the ABVS has approved forwarding for public comment a petition for recognition of the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation as a new specialty organization. This is the first proposed new specialty organization since the early 1990s.
A recent meaningful accomplishment:
The chair of the ABVS and the president of the European Board of Veterinary Specialization recently attended each other's annual meetings to increase communication between the organizations, enhance international development, and standardize veterinary specialization.
How is the entity addressing the strategic or operational goals of the AVMA?
ABVS Chair Robert D. Pechman said the ABVS helps to provide the public with exceptional veterinary service by recognizing and encouraging the development of specialty organizations that promote competence in defined areas of study and practice.
Co-manager of a global one-health Web site, Dr. Bruce Kaplan is an ardent advocate for the one-health movement in collaboration with his physician colleagues Laura H. Kahn, MD, MPH, MPP, and Thomas P. Monath, MD. His career has taken him from serving as an epidemic intelligence officer for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to public affairs specialist for the Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service. Dr. Kaplan has also practiced small animal medicine for more than 22 years and worked as an editor, columnist, and author or co-author of book chapters and numerous scientific articles. Now retired, he lives in Sarasota, Fla. Dr. Kaplan shared the powerful backstory behind his passion for one health.
From your vantage point, how far along is the one-health movement in forging closer collaborations?
I believe there is a long road ahead relative to full-fledged one-health implementation. While the one-health movement is advancing expeditiously on some fronts, it is lagging behind on others. There is positive, strong movement within the public health and academic communities worldwide from veterinarians, physicians, and allied health scientists. Evidence of closer collaborations of the past and present are definitely emerging, and this is very encouraging.
Progress does not appear to be the same among veterinarians and physicians in private practice. Having spent the major part of my career as a private practitioner, this deficit is especially disappointing.
Another critical issue that needs to be aggressively addressed is the public affairs or public relations aspect. In the past two years, the stakeholders in the scientific community have not effectively publicized one health to crucial target audiences such as international media, political leaders, and the general public, despite ample opportunities. To date, one health is a concept known within esoteric circles for the most part. It will not advance unless it is communicated widely. This means we need creative professional public affairs/communications activism as soon as possible.
Eventually, a good deal hinges on current activities that AVMA and others are involved in to form an efficacious national One Health Commission to help implement and institutionalize the concept in the U.S.
What drew you to those conclusions?
I have been in a unique position for the past three years and particularly the last two as a result of my one-health activities in close, co-equal association with two physician colleagues and friends, Laura Kahn and Tom Monath. In the true spirit of one health, our physician/veterinarian team has established a large international grassroots base of individual supporters and advocates. Every month, I've received about a thousand e-mails from several hundred individuals. As the primary contents manager of the Kahn-Kaplan-Monath One Health Initiative Web site, www.onehealthinitiative.com, I get people's comments, pro and con. These reflect their interests, hopes, and criticisms. My position has made me privy to nearly all major global organizational and individual developments.
What led you to commit yourself to mobilizing the health professions through this initiative?
I've been aware of the critical need for one health in public health and biomedical research since graduating from Auburn's School of Veterinary Medicine in 1963. My early CDC days as an epidemic intelligence service officer in New Jersey allowed me to meet and communicate with some of the public health “one health” veterinarian and physician giants of the 20th century. For instance, I became acquainted in 1964 with the veterinarian-parasitologist Dr. Calvin Schwabe, the great leader who coined the term “one medicine,” now called one health. I met with physician Richard E. Shope one afternoon at his rabbit research facility in North Jersey. Dr. Shope was the famous American virologist who discovered the Shope papillomavirus, the first mammalian model of a cancer caused by a virus. He was also the first to isolate an influenza virus and the first to vaccinate animals against influenza.
I became friends early on with veterinarian Dr. James H. Steele, the founder of the veterinary division at the CDC. Jim and I have communicated frequently over the last 40 years. All helped influence my passion for the cause.
In 2005 I had a personal battle with high-risk hepatocellular carcinoma, which is in remission now. I'm convinced that had one health been implemented 50 years ago, many like me would not have suffered the same dire cancer prognosis.
In April 2006 I had an auspicious contact with Princeton physician Laura Kahn that resulted in us forming a one-health partnership going on three years now. When physician Tom Monath joined us two years ago, his genius and enthusiasm helped propel our “triumvirate” into many notable successes.
Our recently published monograph in Veterinaria Italiana, www.izs.it/vet_italiana/2009/45_1/45_1.htm, is the first of its kind. Fifty-three authors and co-authors from 12 countries wrote a variety of one-health scientific articles that make a powerful case for a needed paradigm shift.
Laura, Tom, and I were convinced that we should enthusiastically promote one health because of all its obvious ramifications for accelerating health and health care developments. These have afforded and will afford life-protecting/lifesaving measures for untold millions in our generation and those to come. It has been a full-time job for me and a gratifying labor of love.
How can rank-and-file veterinarians and physicians become engaged? What about students?
This is a tough challenge and an essential question. In my mind and many others', one health represents the best possible future for practicing veterinarians and physicians and their patients, but to date, this critical segment of our health care community is generally unaware. A comprehensive educational campaign must be instituted across the board with cogent arguments and examples of how they and their patients will benefit. The “what's in it for me?” needs to be made clear.
Students in colleges of medicine, veterinary medicine, and public health are no exception, but they need to take up the banner, big time. Their future is at stake. It is also incumbent on current professors at these academic institutions to understand and teach the one-health principles recognized and known by early historical figures such as the father of modern pathology, Rudolf Virchow, and the father of modern medicine, Sir William Osler. Like our practicing doctors, students need to learn about the extraordinary values of all-inclusive, interdisciplinary collaboration free from provincial turf agendas.
Is there an urgency to any one-health activities, and if so, are they on track?
If fast-forwarding the process of protecting and saving human and animal life on the planet is important, then yes, there is an urgency for all one-health activities to be accelerated. On track?The jury is still out on that one, but I am optimistic.
—INTERVIEW BY SUSAN C. KAHLER
VisitJAVMA's original “one-health wonder,” Dr. James H. Steele, during the AVMA Annual Convention in Seattle, where he will greet well-wishers in the AVMA Exhibit Hall and sign his forthcoming biography, “One Man, One Medicine, One Health—the James H. Steele Story” by Dr. Craig N. Carter. Dr. Steele will be on hand at the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine booth from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 11, to Monday, July 14.
just the stats: Revenues for animal hospitals whose directors are AAHA members
The American Animal Hospital Association conducted a survey in February 2009 to assess the impact of the recession on revenues in small animal practice from the first half of 2008 to the second half–and to evaluate expectations for the first half of 2009. The respondents were 308 hospital directors who are AAHA members, including directors of hospitals without AAHA accreditation. Many practices experience some seasonality of revenues, which could affect the comparisons.
$1 million campaign to raise awareness of AAHA hospitals
Association continues initiatives to improve client compliance, electronic records
The American Animal Hospital Association has launched a $1 million campaign featuring television commercials on Animal Planet to raise awareness among pet owners of the AAHA accreditation program for veterinary practices.
Leaders of AAHA announced the campaign to members during the association's 76th annual meeting, March 26-29 in Phoenix. Members also learned about the status of other AAHA initiatives, including programs to improve client compliance with veterinarians' recommendations and to develop standard terminology for electronic health records.
During the AAHA meeting, Dr. John D. Tait assumed the office of president for the coming year (see profile, page 1244). The association also honored three veterinarians with awards (see page 1247).
Conference sessions included a wide variety of educational programming. It was standing room only at the “AAHA Takes Action” session about association initiatives. The opening session also drew a multitude of members to learn about the accreditation awareness campaign.
Dr. Anna E. Worth, outgoing AAHA president, spoke during the opening session about the association's plans to build a national brand. She said the $1 million campaign will raise public awareness of pets' medical needs, with the message being that pets require veterinary care, and will increase familiarity with AAHA-accredited practices.
Along with commercials on Animal Planet, Dr. Worth said, AAHA will be one of the station's sponsors for either the Puppy Bowl or the broadcast of the American Kennel Club national championship. The association also is updating its image for the accreditation awareness campaign with a new AAHA logo and a new logo for AAHA-accredited practices.
Dr. Worth added that AAHA accreditation is important to 80 percent of pet owners who become familiar with the program, according to the association's research.
“It is the edge you need in these challenging economic times,” Dr. Worth said.
The keynote lecture was by Daniel T. Drubin, DC, a chiropractor turned author and motivational speaker. Dr. Drubin said organizations and individuals should embrace change if they want to stand out from the crowd and avoid becoming obsolete.
Dr. Gregg K. Takashima, 2009-2010 AAHA president-elect, provided more details about the association's rebranding and accreditation awareness campaign during the “AAHA Takes Action” session.
The bulk of the $1 million in campaign funding will go toward the AAHA presence on Animal Planet, Dr. Takashima said, though the campaign includes other components. Most of the money comes from last year's sale of the AAHA MarketLink supply outlet to MWI Veterinary Supply.
Dr. Takashima said the first phase of the accreditation awareness campaign is the introduction to AAHA members. Next year, the association will engage the pet-owning public with commercials and sponsorships on Animal Planet. As part of the campaign, AAHA also hopes to partner with animal shelters—the idea being that people who adopt an animal will be looking for a veterinarian.
In another initiative, AAHA recently completed follow-up research to a 2002 study of clients' compliance with veterinarians' recommendations for treatments, screenings, and procedures.
Dr. John W. Albers, AAHA executive director, said the 2002 study found client compliance to be generally poor even though practices believed compliance to be good. The 2008 study found that compliance does increase for practices that make an effort. The biggest increases in compliance were for preanesthetic and senior pet screenings.
“Improving compliance is really about improving patient care,” Dr. Albers said.
The recent research found that more practices now believe client compliance to be their responsibility, Dr. Albers said. Approaches to improving client compliance include creating pre-arrival checklists to guide recommendations, printing the recommendations on the bottom of invoices, and sending reminders.
The 2008 study also examined client adherence to pets' medication regimens. According to the executive summary, interventions to improve medication adherence in human medicine are applicable to veterinary medicine. Such interventions range from simplifying the regimen to providing education about the medication.
Interviews and a survey of pet owners found that some clients believe veterinary practices are not delivering the kind of communication that would improve adherence to medication regimens—such as demonstrations and follow-up calls. The research also found that pet owners are willing to pay more for medication that is easier to administer.
The summary of the study is available on the AAHA Web site. The full report and a companion publication, “Six Steps to Higher Quality Patient Care,” will be available this summer.
Implementation of electronic health records at veterinary practices is the focus of another AAHA initiative. Dr. Heidi A. Burnett, chair of the AAHA Electronic Health Records Task Force, said implementation takes time and money but is worth the cost because of the potential benefits to patients and the profession.
To realize all the benefits, though, electronic health records need to incorporate standard diagnostic codes. Dr. Burnett said AAHA is working with 45 practices to beta test the diagnostic codes that the association has been developing. The association is meeting with software vendors about incorporating the codes.
Dr. Burnett added that a slow economy might be a good time for some practices to explore computerizing their records.
“At your hospital, maybe you should consider removing mountains of paperwork,” she said.
Kimberly Smith-Akin, a doctoral candidate in health informatics at the University of Texas, spoke later in the AAHA meeting about “Pulpless Fiction: Myths and Truths on Going Paperless.”
Computers can do things that paper can't, Smith-Akin noted. Software can issue alerts about allergies or drug interactions, chart laboratory data to reveal trends, and even provide aggregate data to improve medical treatment.
Smith-Akin said the people and processes at a practice will affect any transition to electronic health records. A practice might need to make its processes more efficient before going paperless. People dislike change, Smith-Akin said, but one way to overcome resistance is to have a champion who explains the benefits.
Conference: 3,583 attendees—including 1,362 veterinarians, 332 veterinary technicians, and 114 veterinary and veterinary technician students
Membership: about 3,000 AAHA-accredited hospitals and about 3,000 nonaccredited hospitals, comprising close to 40,000 individual members
AAHA president brings business sense to veterinary practice
Tait is working to promote the value of a veterinary degree, AAHA accreditation
Dr. John D. Tait is all about the business side of veterinary medicine, and he brings that perspective to the American Animal Hospital Association during tough economic times.
The incoming AAHA president, managing partner of a group of veterinary practices in Ontario, said the association's top priority is a new campaign to promote AAHA-accredited hospitals to consumers. The association also is trying to address professional issues ranging from student debt to animal welfare.
Dr. Tait formed an interest in veterinary medicine growing up in a family that had a love of animals and a medical background. After graduating from the Ontario Veterinary College in 1986, he went into practice treating companion animals and horses. Soon, he developed an interest in the business side of practice.
“The idea of bringing sound business principles to a veterinary environment intrigued me,” Dr. Tait said. “I just found that I liked working with numbers and finance and all the various components of a small business like a practice. The challenge of making it better not only for myself but for others was just something that really became a passion.”
Deciding he needed more education to pursue that passion, Dr. Tait earned his master's degree in business administration from Ontario's McMaster University. He went on to become a regional vice president in Michigan for VCA Animal Hospitals.
Dr. Tait also began teaching business at the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine. He eventually joined the faculty of the Ontario Veterinary College, serving as director of the teaching hospital and developing a business curriculum.
Currently, Dr. Tait oversees the Ontario Veterinary Group, which comprises eight animal hospitals. He continues to teach part time at the veterinary college.
In 2003, Dr. Tait joined the boards of AAHA and the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues. He served as AAHA secretary-treasurer and was a member of its advisory group on practice management. He also chaired the task force that wrote the AAHA mentoring guidelines and the work group that developed the student Web site.
Dr. Tait said the most important AAHA initiative going into his year as president is the new campaign to raise awareness of the association's accreditation program for veterinary practices (see page 1242). During the current recession, he said, consumers look even more for branding that signals the quality of a business.
“The rebranding and new focus on accreditation are very timely,” Dr. Tait said. “In this economy, where there's maybe more thought put into spending money, and less discretionary income, there's a challenge for us to increase awareness on the part of our client base as well.”
Dr. Tait added that AAHA is working to help veterinarians and pet owners who are struggling because of the recession. The association has joined with VetPartners, formerly the Association of Veterinary Practice Management Consultants and Advisors, to offer advice and coaching for veterinarians. The association continues to offer grants through the Helping Pets Fund for veterinary care of pets whose owners are experiencing financial hardship.
On the topic of student debt, Dr. Tait has a different take than many veterinarians. He said the total return on investment for a veterinary degree is still very positive. Nevertheless, he said, veterinary students and recent graduates must learn more about personal finance and practice management.
Dr. Tait said another important AAHA initiative is the establishment of an Animal Welfare Task Force. He said the task force will review the association's existing animal welfare policies and write new ones, with the intention of serving as a source of meaningful information for AAHA members.
Other officers, remarks
Joining Dr. Tait as AAHA officers are Drs. Gregg K. Takashima, Lake Oswego, Ore., president-elect; Michael R. Moyer, Bensalem, Pa., vice president; Anna E. Worth, Bennington, Vt., immediate past president; and G. Timothy Lee, Anderson, Ind., secretary/treasurer.
Dr. James O. Cook, AVMA president, spoke briefly at the AAHA meeting during the opening session.
Dr. Cook said the AVMA has been working hard to advocate for federal legislation beneficial to the profession. He also touched on the issues of student debt and animal welfare.
“I want to ask you to please help us at AVMA to promote animal health, promote human health, and advance the veterinary profession,” Dr. Cook said.
CATalyst Council names Top 10 Cat-Friendly Cities
The CATalyst Council has announced the Top 10 Cat-Friendly Cities for 2009—with the No. 1 spot going to Tampa, Fla.
CATalyst is a coalition of organizations that came together last year to promote feline health and welfare. Participants include the American Association of Feline Practitioners, AVMA, Society of Animal Welfare Administrators, American Animal Hospital Association, and industry partners.
By highlighting cities that provide the best care for cats in the annual rankings, CATalyst hopes to set the bar for other cities to follow.
“Cats are the most popular pets in the United States, and yet the frequency of veterinary visits for cats is less than that for dogs,” said Dr. James O. Cook, president of the AVMA. “By identifying the cities in America in which cats receive the best care and attention, I hope CATalyst will inspire every cat owner, nationwide, to give their pets the respect and attention they've earned.”
The council announced this year's top cat-friendly cities at the recent AAHA meeting in Phoenix, and Phoenix just happens to be the second city on the list. The Top 10 list continues with San Francisco, Portland, Ore., Denver, Boston, Seattle, San Diego, Atlanta, and Minneapolis. An honorable mention went to Ithaca, N.Y., as home of the Cornell Feline Health Center.
CATalyst compiled the list of cat-friendly cities by evaluating the top 25 metropolitan areas on the basis of cat ownership per capita, the percentage of cats with microchips, numbers of Cat Fancy subscribers and Cat Fanciers' Association shows, and caliber of veterinary care. Criteria for veterinary care included numbers of AAFP members, AVMA members, and AAHA-accredited hospitals as well as specialists in veterinary internal medicine, behavior, and emergency and critical care.
Cities received extra points for having cat-friendly ordinances, a mayor who owned a cat, and animal shelters administered by SAWA members. CATalyst hopes to consider additional data about animal shelters in choosing the top cat-friendly cities for 2010.
The council also continues outreach through the It's All About the Cat campaign. The AAFP and AAHA are partnering to develop feline life-stage wellness guidelines for veterinary professionals. The Winn Feline Foundation will help write a consumer version of the guidelines.
“We are reaching out to all parties—the pet health care community, shelter and welfare organizations, government, and the public—to ensure that cats receive the proper care and attention they need and deserve,” said Dr. Jane E. Brunt, the executive director of CATalyst. “It truly is all about the cat.”
Don't know much about the Red Flags Rule? The “red flags” are warning signs of identity theft, and the Federal Trade Commission has issued a rule that means most veterinary practices must develop programs to prevent identity theft. The AVMA has arranged webinars with an expert on the subject. Information about the Red Flags Rule and upcoming webinars is at www.avma.org/issues/FTC_red_flags_rule.asp. Individuals can contact the FTC with questions by e-mailing RedFlags@ftc.com or calling (202) 326-2252.
Mass chicken depopulation to control infectious laryngotracheitis
About 1.4 million chickens were killed in a mass depopulation to control the spread of a viral upper respiratory tract infection discovered in early March at farms in east-central Texas.
A statement from the Texas Animal Health Commission indicates the birds were affected or exposed to laryngotracheitis. In the statement, Dr. Bob Hillman, director of the TAHC, said his agency was overseeing cleaning and disinfection of farm vehicles and conducting disease surveillance in the area.
Dr. Hillman said the disease is not a threat to human health.
Joelle Schelhaus, spokeswoman for the Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, said the USDA was helping TAHC officials with cleaning and disinfection, but she referred other questions to the TAHC.
Dr. Philip A. Stayer, corporate veterinarian for Sanderson Farms, said the chickens were housed with contract growers at six farms in a two-mile radius near Hammond, Texas.
A staff veterinarian for Sanderson Farms saw clinical signs of infectious laryngotracheitis during a routine farm visit March 9, and the depopulation occurred between March 13 and 21, Dr. Stayer said. About one million of the chickens were processed for meat, and about 400,000 were not of age to process.
The depopulation was unusual in its size, but eradication is preferred to vaccination and living with the virus, Dr. Stayer said. Foam depopulation was the method used. The AVMA supports the use of water-based foam as a method of mass depopulation for poultry in accordance with the conditions and performance standards outlined by the USDA-APHIS.
By mid-April, no further laryngotracheitis infections had been discovered, he said.
Leader in virology, pathology given world veterinary award
Murphy wins second annual Penn Vet World Leadership Award
Dr. Frederick A. Murphy has led research on deadly viruses, including Marburg and Ebola.
As director of the National Center for Infectious Diseases, he was the first veterinarian to hold such a high-ranking position in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He estimates he has authored and co-authored about 450 articles, chapters, and books during his career.
Dr. Murphy is the second winner of the Penn Vet World Leadership Award, a prize that comes with $100,000 in unrestricted funding. The award is underwritten by the Vernon and Shirley Hill Foundation.
Dr. Bernard Vallat, director general of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), won the inaugural award in 2008. The award was presented to Dr. Murphy April 20 on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in Philadelphia.
Two veterinary students also receive $100,000 each through the annual Penn Vet Inspiration Award competition, which is also funded by the Hill Foundation.
Dr. Alan Kelly, dean emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, said the award is meant to celebrate distinguished leaders in veterinary medicine for their contributions to the profession and society. He hopes it will become, for veterinary medicine, the equivalent of a Nobel Prize.
Dr. Kelly praised Dr. Murphy for his leadership at the CDC, which he said opened new paths for other veterinarians and helped gain public recognition for veterinary medicine's contributions.
Dr. Murphy, the James W. McLaughlin professor-in-residence at the University of Texas Medical Branch's Department of Pathology, described his role at the CDC as “a great opportunity to show how the veterinary profession is tightly linked with the other health professions, especially in the world of prevention and control of infectious diseases.”
He said he was grateful to Vernon and Shirley Hill and the University of Pennsylvania. The award selection committee included members from Australia, France, Israel, Scotland, and the United States.
“When Dean Kelly called me, I was, I don't know what the right word is—it's beyond flabbergasted,” Dr. Murphy told JAVMA. “I probably went right into shock.”
Dr. Murphy considers himself very lucky in the course of his career.
He was drafted into the Army Veterinary Corps the day after graduating from Cornell's veterinary college in 1959. He was stationed at Fort Sam Houston in Texas, where he was responsible for rabies diagnosis on military bases in five states at a time when human exposure to rabies was much more common.
“I learned a lot of virology there and also had a lot of responsibility,” Dr. Murphy said.
As a young lieutenant, Dr. Murphy met Irene May Warwas, the nursing student who would become his wife.
“Family life is the foundation of professional life,” Dr. Murphy said.
After leaving the Army in 1961 and spending a month trying to figure out what to do with his life, Dr. Murphy, his wife, and their infant son moved to California, where he pursued a doctorate in comparative pathology at the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. He was writing his thesis when he received a call from Telford Work, M.D., who was then head of the virology department at the CDC.
Dr. Murphy was hired as the chief of the Viral Pathology Branch, which he had to build from scratch. He said scientists and medical professionals in the branch were united by the motive of trying to prevent and control disease.
“It wasn't just to study diseases,” Dr. Murphy said. “It was to do something about them.”
Not long after he arrived, a viral outbreak in 1967 caused seven deaths and 23 severe illnesses in Germany and Yugoslavia. German virologists made the primary discovery of the filovirus that would become known as Marburg.
Dr. Murphy was one of three CDC scientists who studied the virus in a temporary containment laboratory set up within an 18-wheeler trailer in the parking lot behind the CDC virology building in Atlanta. The biocontainment in the trailer was not to today's standards for handling Marburg virus, but only three experienced virologists—Dr. Robert Kissling, Roslyn Robinson, PhD, and Dr. Murphy—were allowed inside.
“We did lots of basic virus characterization work, complementing the work of the German virologists,” Dr. Murphy said.
The group developed reagents for future diagnostics and published two papers.
His experience with Marburg prepared him for his work in 1976, when people began dying of a strange disease in what was then Zaire (now, the Congo). The filovirus isolated from patients would become known as Ebola.
“I think my veterinary training was key to how to be careful,” Dr. Murphy said.
Dr. Murphy described preparation for performing surgery as the reverse of gowning, gloving, and masking for working with dangerous pathogens.
“Instead of having to maintain sterility and a sterile operating area on the way in, you have to be very careful on the way out,” Dr. Murphy said.
Though he has spent half his career as an administrator, Dr. Murphy said his contributions toward infectious disease sciences and toward mentoring the next generation give him the most satisfaction.
“These younger people are so bright and able that I often wonder what ever allowed me into this wonderful profession,” Dr. Murphy said. “I can only think that it has been incredibly good luck.”
Dr. Murphy plans to donate part of the $100,000 prize to support efforts for recovery from Hurricane Ike and part toward his project on the history of veterinary and medical virology. He said the two fields of virology are very closely connected, and the concept of “one medicine” was understood from the day the first virus of vertebrates—foot-and-mouth disease—was discovered.
Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges
Dr. Tracy L. Hanner received the Iverson Bell Award during the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges' Iverson Bell Symposium March 13. Dr. Hanner is coordinator of the Laboratory Animal Science Program in the Department of Animal Sciences at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University. He is also an adjunct assistant professor and clinical associate veterinarian. The award was given in recognition of Dr. Hanner's contributions in promoting opportunities for racially and ethnically underrepresented individuals in veterinary medical education. In 1986, Dr. Hanner became the first black graduate of the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
In his current position, Dr. Hanner worked to implement the Laboratory Animal Scholars Program, which provides tracked admission for NCA&TSU students into the NCSU College of Veterinary Medicine. He has mentored more than 4,000 students in related animal science and medicinal fields. More than 50 of his minority students attend U.S. veterinary schools.
American Animal Hospital Association
The American Animal Hospital Association, meeting March 26-29 in Phoenix, recognized three veterinarians for their contributions to veterinary medicine.
Dr. Nancy D. Kay (COR '82) was the recipient of the Hill's Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award. After earning board certification in veterinary internal medicine, Dr. Kay established the Animal Care Center of Sonoma County in Rohnert Park, Calif. There, she runs a pet support group and conducts client communication rounds. Dr. Kay often lectures on the topic of client communication, and she wrote a medical-advocacy reference book for dog owners.
Dr. Mitsie Vargas (TUS '94) received the Nestle Purina Petcare Award. In 1996, Dr. Vargas started Orchid Springs Animal Hospital, an AAHA-accredited practice in Winter Haven, Fla. She has been active in local civic groups, the Ridge Veterinary Medical Society, and the Humane Society of Polk County. Dr. Vargas recently founded K-9 For Life to provide veterinary care for police dogs after their retirement. She writes the column “Vet Talk” for the Polk Voice.
Dr. Michael R. Grguric (OSU '03) was the recipient of the AAHA-Pfizer Leadership Award for AAHA member veterinarians who are recent graduates and have demonstrated commitment to the profession. He worked at three practices before joining 1st Emergency Pet Care as emergency director. Dr. Grguric mentors veterinary students at The Ohio State University, is a member of many industry organizations, and has authored several articles in veterinary journals.
Janis H. Audin (1950-2009)
Dr. Janis H. Audin, the innovative AVMA editor-in-chief whose leadership helped advance the relevance, accessibility, and global reach of the Association's scientific journals, died April 22, 2009. Dr. Audin, 58, of Northbrook, Ill., was a 1979 graduate of the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine.
One month earlier, on March 23, AVMA CEO W. Ron DeHaven conferred on Dr. Audin the special title of editor-in-chief emeritus.
To celebrate her new stature, the Executive Board had approved publication of a proclamation expressing their gratitude for Dr. Audin's service to the AVMA. The proclamation further stated that her unwavering dedication to excellence in scientific journalism serves as an illustration to others, and cited JAVMA and the American Journal of Veterinary Research as preeminent publications owing to her outstanding leadership, judgment, and guidance.
The emeritus distinction created a mechanism for Dr. Audin to continue contributing to the AVMA as her three-year battle with pancreatic cancer grew ever more challenging. Over the ensuing month, however, her health failed rapidly.
Dr. DeHaven said, “Dr. Janis Audin's contributions to the journals, to the AVMA, and to the profession were profound, and we will be forever grateful. Between the professional journals which she lived for and the many lives she has touched and influenced, Janis Audin's legacy will live on at AVMA.”
Associate Editor Kurt J. Matushek has been named interim editor-in-chief and interim division director. Dr. Matushek, who joined the AVMA staff in 1992, said, “Janis' passing is a tremendous blow to the Publications Division staff. Inspired by her vision and training, we will continue to work to reach the ideals she set for us.”
Dr. Audin began her career with the AVMA in 1985 as an assistant editor in the Publications Division. She was promoted to associate editor in 1989 and editor in 1994.
Former editor-in-chief, Dr. Albert J. Koltveit said, “Within a few months after hiring Dr. Audin, I knew intuitively that she would one day become a superlative editor and administrator. She soon proved that she had all the requisite skills a good editor needs to succeed. Beyond those skills, I was pleased to discover that she had an attitude of fierce loyalty to the AVMA.
“Indeed, Dr. Audin's contributions to the fine image of the AVMA and of veterinarians everywhere, through the pages of the JAVMA and the AJVR, will, I predict, prove to be her enduring legacy to the profession. But uppermost in my memory of Dr. Janis Huston Audin is that she strived for perfection in all tasks that confronted her.”
After Dr. Koltveit retired, Dr. Audin was promoted to editor-in-chief and division director. She served in both positions from April 15, 1995, to this March when she received the emeritus designation.
Dr. Audin always considered herself an editor-in-chief in transition. She set out to leverage leading print and electronic technologies, overseeing the conversion to desktop publishing, and helped create varied information formats for the journals' audiences. As editor-in-chief, she led expansion of the JAVMA and AJVR from a print-only format, adding an electronic format with the AVMA Journals Online. More recently, she led the staff effort to repurpose journal content into features such as the AVMA Collections and the AVMA Ed online learning courses.
She worked to broaden the journals' global reach while upholding the highest standards for veterinary publishing and humane treatment of animals. She enhanced the content by initiating practice-relevant features in areas such as dentistry and anesthesiology, and she worked to make the journals more relevant for the entire profession by providing articles on the many facets of veterinary medicine.
Dr. Bruce W. Little, AVMA CEO from 1995-2007, said, “Dr. Janis Audin was the consummate editor-in-chief of the AVMA publications. She had a unique set of skills, which coupled with her degrees in both science and art, gave her a broad perspective of content and readability for the journals. Her education, clinical background, and people skills made for a formidable combination in executing her duties as director of the Publications Division.”
Her creativity was evident not only in the innovations she sponsored but also in the JAVMA cover itself. The Boston native came to Illinois to earn her bachelor's degree in art history and biology at Lake Forest College outside Chicago. This art background served her well as she coordinated the acquisition of cover art for the JAVMA for nearly a quarter century. Early on, she expanded the use of cover art to both semimonthly issues, and each year, she chose a work of art from the International Exhibition on Animals in Art to appear on the cover. To strengthen the AVMA's creative capabilities, she added to the graphic design staff.
Commenting on the April 15 JAVMA cover—a portrait of Dr. Audin, a surprise tribute—Executive Board member Douglas G. Aspros said, “I'm glad that she got to see her photograph on the cover of JAVMA. For all the (other) great covers she chose, it was the best of them.
“Janis brought style and elegance to a potentially dry, scholarly endeavor. Her approach to a devastating disease was to just get on with the work of life, neither succumbing to the disease nor to the struggle. She sparkled.”
Executive Board Chair David L. McCrystle added, “Janis left her great mark. The board and I will miss her as a dedicated employee of the AVMA, but even more so, as a friend.”
Dr. Audin's tenure as division director and editor-in-chief was marked by outstanding success and divisional growth. She embraced technology to cut lead time, reduce costs, and improve reporting abilities. She consolidated the two journals at a single printing location, moved to a complete in-house production system, and instituted online manuscript submission and tracking.
In recent years, ad revenue dramatically increased under her leadership, generating substantial nondues revenue. During the current economic downturn, she investigated alternatives such as online advertising to offset AVMA revenue declines.
Dr. James F. Peddie, AVMA treasurer from 1999-2005, said, “Dr. Audin—Janis—was a treasurer's dream, always on or below budget with her expenses and consistently meeting, or more commonly, exceeding, her income goals with the operation and production of the AVMA journals.
“It's a rare blend of traits to find an individual with her high level of creativity who also possesses sound business sense. This world has lost a multitalented, lovely, most gracious human being.”
With her knowledge of the profession and organized veterinary medicine, Dr. Audin was in demand. She found time between continual production deadlines to contribute organizationally by serving on entities such as the Long-Range Planning Committee and task forces devoted to strategic planning, communications, and headquarters renovations. As a consultant to the Executive Board Bylaws Committee, she helped develop the AVMA Bylaws adopted in 2006.
In 2007 she received an AVMA President's Award from Dr. Roger K. Mahr. She was inducted as a distinguished practitioner in the National Academy of Practice in Veterinary Medicine in 2002.
Before joining the AVMA staff, Dr. Audin practiced small animal medicine for four years in Calumet City, Ill. At the University of Illinois, she received her master's degree in reproductive physiology in 1977 and her DVM degree with honors two years later. She followed that with two years of clinical work and postgraduate training and research in clinical pathology at the veterinary college.
At the University of Illinois, Dean Herb Whiteley of the College of Veterinary Medicine said, “Dr. Janis Audin's quiet but unmistakable impact was felt throughout her long tenure at the helm of two publications that reached a majority of U.S. veterinarians. She continually sought to improve access to, and quality of, information on both veterinary research and professional governance. Few people have been in a position to so broadly affect the veterinary profession over their lifetime.
“We are proud to claim her as an Illini. She will be greatly missed.”
Her alma mater honored her in 2006 with the Dr. Erwin Small Distinguished Alumni Award for being “dedicated to our profession with a quiet fervor that enables her to make things happen.” Accepting it, she said Dr. Small had infected her with his passion for organized veterinary medicine—“the glue that holds our wonderful profession together.” She added, “Like the AVMA, the JAVMA and AJVR serve the entire profession and provide touch points for the profession's many diverse members.”
Dr. Rick DeBowes was class president their second year of veterinary college. Currently he is professor of surgery and an associate dean at Washington State University. He said, “Janis Audin assumed a quiet but strong role in the Class of 1979. She was friends to all classmates, never critical, and possessed a strong work ethic and unique humor. While many thought we would enter private practice, Janis chose a unique path and excelled, using her inner strength and quiet but strong personality of ‘getting things done.’
“Janis epitomized the essence of class in her interactions with classmates, faculty, staff, and clients. It is no surprise that she significantly impacted the veterinary medical arena in her professional life, one that, sadly, was all too short. Her passing will leave a unique void in veterinary medicine and publishing.”
In the AVMA Publications Division, Dr. Audin mentored many veterinarians as editors of the Association's scientific journals, along with copy editors, designers, and members of the news, production, advertising, and library staffs. She set standards of excellence for the division, encouraging her staff to stay dynamic.
Dr. Audin was a member of the Illinois State and Chicago VMAs, Phi Zeta, and the American Medical Writers Association. She was active in the Society of National Association Publications, served on committees of the Council of Science Editors (formerly, Council of Biology Editors), and was instrumental in organizing and hosting the first Veterinary Medical Journal Editors meetings. She often gave presentations for veterinary colleges, pharmaceutical companies, and veterinary specialty meetings.
Dr. Audin is survived by Dr. Richard E. Guelzow (IL '80) of Northbrook, Ill., and her brothers, Marshall Audin of Arlington, Mass., and Curt Audin of Sudbury, Mass.
It was Dr. Audin's wish that memorial donations be made to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation and designated for Animal Health Studies. Donations can be made online at www.avmf.org or mailed to the AVMF, Suite 100, 1931 N. Meacham Road, Schaumburg, IL 60173. Should the donations reach $25,000 or more, the Foundation will create an Animal Health Studies endowment in her honor.
In addition, the University of Illinois veterinary class of '79 is working to establish a scholarship at UI in Dr. Audin's memory through the University of Illinois Foundation.
—SUSAN C. KAHLER
obituaries: AVMA Honor Roll Member: AVMA Member: Nonmember
David K. Detweiler
Dr. Detweiler (UP '42), 89, Gladwyne, Pa., died Feb. 15, 2009. Known for his expertise in veterinary comparative cardiology, he was professor emeritus of physiology and animal biology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine since 1995. Dr. Detweiler began his career at Penn as an assistant instructor in physiology and pharmacology, serving as acting head for the two disciplines from 1944-1947. In 1962 he became professor of physiology, with a joint appointment in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. From 1962-1968, Dr. Detweiler served as head of the Laboratory of Physiology and Pharmacology in the veterinary school. In 1970, he was named head of the graduate group in comparative medical science.
During his tenure at Penn, Dr. Detweiler obtained grants from the National Institutes of Health for epidemiologic studies on heart disease in dogs. In 1960, the NIH awarded him a grant to establish the Comparative Cardiovascular Studies Unit at the university. The creation of the CCSU established the veterinary school as a center for comparative cardiovascular research and training.
Dr. Detweiler was a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. During his career, he served as a Guggenheim Fellow at the University of Zurich and lectured at several universities in Germany. Dr. Detweiler received an honorary doctor of science degree from The Ohio State University and honorary veterinary degrees from the Vienna Veterinary School, Austria, and University of Turin, Italy. He was a past president of the Academy of Veterinary Cardiology, served as a consultant on cardiovascular disease for the World Health Organization, and was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.
Dr. Detweiler received several honors, including the Gaines Award in 1960 and the Pennsylvania VMA Distinguished Veterinarian Award in 1990. In 1982, the World Small Animal VA established the D.K. Detweiler Prize for outstanding scientific work in cardiovascular research, especially as applied to small animals. Dr. Detweiler is survived by his wife, Birthe; two sons; four daughters; three stepsons; and a stepdaughter. Memorials toward the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine may be made to the Office of Development and Alumni Relations, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, 3800 Spruce St., Philadelphia, PA 19104.
Frank L. Docton
Dr. Docton (OSU '51), 89, Xenia, Ohio, died Feb. 18, 2009. He retired in 1988 from Docton Animal Clinic in Xenia. Early in his career, Dr. Docton was an instructor of pathology at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. He served as a captain in the Army Air Corps during World War II. Dr. Docton's wife, Elizabeth, and a son survive him. His son, Dr. Maurice H. Docton (OSU '78), works for The Iams Company in Dayton, Ohio.
Wayne L. Emerson
Dr. Emerson (ISU '49), 84, Eagle Grove, Iowa, died Feb. 15, 2009. He practiced at Emerson Veterinary Clinic and Hospital in Eagle Grove for 60 years. Dr. Emerson was a life member of the Iowa VMA. He was the recipient of a 1987 Stange Award from Iowa State University. In 1992, Dr. Emerson received the IVMA President's Award.
Active in civic life, he served on the Eagle Grove City Council for several years. Dr. Emerson was a Navy veteran of World War II. He is survived by a son and daughter. Dr. Emerson's son, Dr. Ronald C. Emerson (ISU '73), practices at Emerson Veterinary Clinic and Hospital. His granddaughter, Dr. Jennifer Emerson Mathis (ISU '01), is a veterinarian in West Des Moines, Iowa.
Wayne L. Finkbeiner
Dr. Finkbeiner (MSU '47), 88, Middleville, Mich., died Jan. 23, 2009. He was the founder of Southkent Veterinary Hospital in Caledonia, Mich., practicing there until retirement in 1982. Dr. Finkbeiner was a member of the Michigan VMA and a past member of its board of directors. He also served on the Caledonia School Board and Kent Intermediate School Board for several years and was active with the 4-H and Rotary clubs. Dr. Finkbeiner served as a lieutenant in the Army Air Corps. His wife, Marie, and three daughters survive him. Memorials may be made to Leighton United Methodist Church, 4180 2nd St., Caledonia, MI 49316; or The Wayne and Marie Finkbeiner Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 164, Middleville, MI 49333.
John F. Hudelson
Dr. Hudelson (ISU '51), 86, Parachute, Colo., died Feb. 19, 2009. Prior to retirement in 1988, he was Colorado state veterinarian. Following graduation, Dr. Hudelson owned a practice in Pomona, Kan., for six years. He then worked as area veterinarian for the Department of Agriculture in northwest Kansas. In 1958, Dr. Hudelson became state veterinarian for the Kansas Livestock Sanitary Commission. He served as Kansas Livestock Commissioner from 1970-1972, following which he moved to Colorado to serve as assistant state veterinarian.
Dr. Hudelson was a past president of the United States Animal Health Association, Kansas VMA, and Western States Livestock Assocation. He was named Kansas Veterinarian of the Year in 1971 and Colorado Veterinarian of the Year in 1985. Dr. Hudelson served in the Army Air Corps during World War II. His two daughters and a son survive him.
William C. Lawrence
Dr. Lawrence (UP '59), 74, West Chester, Pa., died Nov. 22, 2008. He was professor emeritus of microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Lawrence is survived by three daughters.
Earl E. Lindsay
Dr. Lindsay (OSU '54), 82, Williamsburg, Va., died March 4, 2009. Prior to retirement in 1995, he owned Aquadale Veterinary Clinic in Massillon, Ohio, for more than 40 years. Dr. Lindsay served on the Ohio School Board and was active with the K9 Connection Therapy Dog Group and Boy Scouts of America. He was an Air Force veteran of World War II. Dr. Lindsay's wife, Nancy; a son; and a daughter survive him. Memorials may be made to the Heritage Humane Society, 430 Walter Mill Road, Williamsburg, VA 23185.
John R. Molesworth
Dr. Molesworth (KSU '63), 71, Posen, Mich., died Sept. 18, 2008. Prior to retirement in 2006, he was a field service veterinarian and livestock agent at Michigan State University Extension. Early in his career, Dr. Molesworth owned a practice in Rugby, N.D., for 25 years. He was a past president of the North Dakota VMA. Dr. Molesworth was a veteran of the Army. His wife, Glenda, and two sons survive him.
James P. O'Connell
Dr. O'Connell (WSU '41), 92, Hayden, Idaho, died Dec. 13, 2008. From 1952 until retirement in 1979, he owned Sunset Animal Clinic in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Following graduation, Dr. O'Connell worked for the Department of Agriculture in California. In 1945, he moved to Coeur d'Alene, where he established a practice.
Dr. O'Connell was a past member of the Idaho Board of Veterinary Medicine. His four daughters and two sons survive him. Memorials may be made to St. Pius X Church, 625 E. Haycraft Ave., Coeur d'Alene, ID 83815; or The Holy Family Catholic School, 3005 Kathleen Ave., Coeur d'Alene, ID 83815.
Tom F. Ohnemus
Dr. Ohnemus (MEX '83), 67, San Antonio, died Dec. 25, 2008. He was administrator of the Animal Hospital of San Antonio. Dr. Ohnemus was a veteran of the Army, attaining the rank of colonel. He received a Department of Defense Superior Service Medal. Dr. Ohnemus is survived by his wife, Dr. Rachael S. Ohnemus (MSU '74), who practices at the Animal Hospital of San Antonio, and two daughters. Memorials may be made to St. Peter Prince of the Apostles Catholic Church, 111 Barilla Place, San Antonio, TX 78209.
Earl J. Splitter
Dr. Splitter (KSU '43), 88, Plantation, Fla., died Dec. 24, 2008. Known for his expertise in hemoparasitic diseases, including eperythrozoonosis, anaplasmosis, and theileriosis, he retired from the U.S. Department of Agriculture as deputy director of animal health in 1986. Following graduation, Dr. Splitter worked as junior state veterinarian for the North Carolina Department of Agriculture. In 1946, he joined the faculty of Kansas State University, where he conducted research and became an associate professor.
Dr. Splitter's career with the USDA began in 1957 when he joined the experiment station of the Agricultural Research Service as principal veterinarian. During his almost 20-year tenure, he served as director of research and education of what was is now known as the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service. Dr. Splitter was a liaison representative for regional committees on animal health research, headed review teams for research and graduate education programs in veterinary medicine, and eventually became responsible for the administration of the extramural research programs in animal health, including formula funds and special/peerreviewed grants.
He was a member of the National Association of Federal Veterinarians, American Association of Veterinary Parasitologists, and Conference of Research Workers in Animal Diseases. Dr. Splitter received several honors, including the USDA Superior Service Award in 1971; the KSU Distinguished Service Award and USDA Director's Award in 1982; and the American Feed Industry Association Award in 1986. In 1988, the 69th annual meeting of the CRWAD was dedicated to him. Dr. Splitter is survived by his wife, Clara; two daughters; and a son. His son, Dr. Gary A. Splitter (KSU '69), is a member of the veterinary faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Charles S. Thorpe
Dr. Thorpe (AUB '52), 85, New Baden, Ill., died Jan. 21, 2009. Prior to retirement in 2008, he owned a practice in New Baden. Dr. Thorpe was a member of the Illinois State VMA. An Army veteran of World War II, he was also a member of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Dr. Thorpe is survived by his wife, Frances, and a daughter. Memorials may be made to Zion United Church of Christ Building Fund, 11 N. Railway St., New Baden, IL 62265.