Schaumburg, Ill. — American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) leaders want to tap the group's invested reserves to support up to $1 million in future programs that guide and promote the profession.
The allocation, authorized by Executive Board members in April, fuels a strategic plan designed to steer AVMA on advocacy, the veterinary work force, education, animal welfare and economic viability.
Those key areas, identified by a Strategic Planning Committee in 2006, will be promoted through 2010. It's the first time AVMA has adopted a comprehensive, long-term approach to shape the future of veterinary medicine, Executive Vice President Dr. Ron DeHaven says.
When asked to address the project's significance and price tag, DeHaven recites his mantra: "There is no such thing as status quo in an organization. They're either improving or declining. If an organization is going to improve, they have to anticipate the future and position itself to meet that future environment."
On the ground
That means, for example, extending AVMA's outreach to law schools teaching animal welfare or rights classes, possibly to curb a national movement in which veterinarians face increased legal actions. Already, AVMA councils and committees have identified $800,000 in activities to advance the group's strategic objectives.
"(Allocations) will be made on a proposal-by-proposal basis," DeHaven explains. "Board approval is required to appropriate those funds."
Dipping into AVMA's financial reserves, which top $27 million, is "critically important" to stimulating these projects, he adds.
"The purpose of AVMA is not to see how much money we can accumulate," DeHaven says. "The membership looks to us to provide leadership to make sure we're scanning the environment in terms of issues that are going to affect us as veterinarians. This is an appropriate and responsible use of membership dollars to address the needs of the profession."