AVMA's 20/20 Vision Committee advocates radical change for veterinary association's structure, organization

AVMA's 20/20 Vision Committee advocates radical change for veterinary association's structure, organization

Apr 29, 2011
Schaumburg, Ill. — The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) does not have the structure in place to adequately lead the veterinary profession, according to a new report from the association’s own 20/20 Vision Committee.

After more than a year in development, the committee’s report, released in late March, spells out the weaknesses and strengths of AVMA, and offers a number of suggestions on how the organization can best serve its membership by the year 2020.

Times are changing quickly and drastically, and AVMA needs to adapt to be able to change just as quickly, the report notes. Generational, gender and minority issues, as well as fragmentation of the profession by specialty and special-interests compound the challenges the modern world is throwing at the profession, and the committee cautions that the association is at a pivotal time where it can either become a leader or lose influence and relevancy.

“Commission members concluded that great leaders and organizations have the capacity to improve what is, and concurrently, what isn’t. While commission members acknowledge AVMA’s efforts that strive for continuous improvement and support of its current activities, the commission focused most of its attention on creating what isn’t—a new vision and associated pathways that will create an organization for 2020 that is profoundly different than the association today.

The report outlines a detailed vision for AVMA by 2020 that includes better educating the public on the need for veterinary medicine, functioning in a way that promotes greater trust and broader participation in the association, and building partnerships internally and externally to advance the profession.

The commission outlines 11 areas of focus for the national veterinary association, as well as strategies for growth for each one. Each strategy includes background information on why the committee believes it is an important area of focus, what AVMA is lacking in its current strategy and how the association can best move forward.

The 11 areas include: societal impact, public awareness, economics, relationships to other organizations and professions, global impact, membership, generational and demographic synergy, technology, governance and participation, culture, and knowledge.

In its call to action, the committee’s report states that to carry out the vision for 20/20, AVMA’s leaders will have to employ “radical thinking about the purpose, priorities and the very structure and functions of AVMA.”

“The identity of AVMA and its brand recognition need to be reconsidered and both are also likely to change as the AVMA expands in scope, scale and impact. The culture must also be reinvented based on changing values and assumptions about the future and changing needs and demands of members and potential members,” the report states. “The gap is growing incrementally between what AVMA is asked and expected to do and what it can deliver with a relatively small staff and reliance on volunteers as its principal workforce …

“The future will belong only to those who have the tools and vision to embrace it, and those who recognize and act upon what needs to be done to lead membership and retain relevance.”

The committee was formed by the AVMA Executive Board in January 2010, as reported in DVM Newsmagazine, and charged with the mission to make recommendations to carry the association forward into the next decade. Its members include: Chair Lonnie King, DVM, MS, MPA, Dipl. ACVPM; Bonnie Beaver, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVB; Grace Bransford, DVM; Anne Hale, DVM; Steven Kess; Joanna Morel; Stacy Pritt, DVM, MS, MBA; Stephan Schaefbauer, DVM, MPH; Christina Tran, DVM; Peter Weber, CAE; and Michael Whitehair, DVM.

Read more analysis of the 20/20 Vision Committee’s report in the June 2011 issue of DVM Newsmagazine.