AVMA launches cyberbullying resource for veterinarians
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recently introduced two new tools: a cyberbullying hotline and a reputation management service. The association prioritized the creation of resource tools after 20 percent of its members reported experiencing cyberbullying and false reviews, according to an AVMA release.
Operated by crisis management consultants, the 24/7 DVM Cyberbullying Hotline is available available to veterinarians being cyberbullied and in need of immediate assistance. The service includes 30 minutes of free consultation for AVMA members. Additional consultation time is available at a discounted member rate, the release states.
DVM Reputation Guard, available through the AVMA Member Advantage Program, is a subscription-based service that gathers data from social media and other online sources. Results are analyzed to determine the presence of potentially damaging items or reviews. If a threat is detected, participants are notified immediately, and experts provide them with assistance in developing a response.
“Our veterinarians must be protected from cyberbullying, hacking and false reviews,” says AVMA President Tom Meyer, DVM, in the report. “They not only threaten our livelihood; they damage our sense of well-being.”
In response to several high-profile cases of veterinarians being cyberbullied—including a veterinarian who committed suicide after she was severely cyberbullied—the AVMA published online reputation management resources addressing best practices for preventing online reputation problems, responding to criticism and reviews, and mitigating cyberbullying, according to the release.
At the urging of constituents, the AVMA House of Delegates requested that the AVMA elevate the priority of providing these resources for members, increase outreach efforts and consider offering a hotline for AVMA members who are being victimized, according to the release. In November, the AVMA Board of Directors approved the cyberbullying hotline pilot program.
“We hope these steps will provide all of our members with immediate support to thwart potential negative attacks and start those who already have been victimized on the road to reputation recovery,” Meyer says in the report.
Bernstein Crisis Management Inc. (BCM) is the provider of both the hotline and reputation preservation services. Callers can retain BCM's services beyond the initial consultation call for AVMA-preferred rates. For more information, see the AVMA's "Cyberbullying—and How to Handle It" website.