Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges

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Advocating for Academic Veterinary Medicine

The Governmental Affairs program works to secure resources in support of academic veterinary medicine. This includes informing and influencing policymakers and their staff on important issues that affect veterinary medicine’s impact on public health, including biomedical research, agriculture, and animal welfare, as well as both direct and indirect support for colleges of veterinary medicine.

Working closely with the government relations officers who serve our members, we monitor, review and respond to federal legislation or regulations that affect veterinary medical education. This includes maintaining a continuous presence on Capitol Hill to inform decision-makers and the public about the critical role that veterinary medical education plays. It contributes to society’s overall quality of life by educating veterinarians who advance medical knowledge, help to recognize and prevent the spread of diseases and pathogens, and protect our nation’s food supply.

We reach out to all branches of government to encourage the development of policies that will benefit veterinary medical education, and to explain the many ways in which such support will also enhance animal and public health.

With input from our Advocacy Committee, the governmental affairs program identifies and addresses critical issues in veterinary medical education, such as the need for increased diversity and the too-burdensome debt load often carried by graduates. Our work includes supporting initiatives designed to encourage a wider spectrum of students, to reduce veterinary medical student debt through public and private support and loan-forgiveness programs, and to recognize the contributions that veterinarians make to our public health system.

Finally, we work to keep the importance of veterinary medical education in the public’s eye through media outreach, public events and Hill briefings that highlight the crucial role that academic veterinary medicine plays in advancing society’s well-being.

Legislators Form Veterinary Medicine Caucus

The AAVMC works with the first-ever, bipartisan Veterinary Medicine Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives. Formed in March 2013, the caucus aims to increase awareness of the importance of veterinary medicine to research, public health, animal health and welfare, food safety and our overall economy. The caucus is led by Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL), who are both veterinarians. In March 2013, the congressmen invited fellow representatives to join the caucus, and the caucus continues to underscore the critical role the veterinary medical profession plays in a healthy society. See a list of caucus members and learn more.

The Farm Bill Passes

The AAVMC reached a significant legislative milestone with the passage of the Farm Bill, signed into law by  President Obama on Dec. 7, 2013.  Passage of the Farm Bill was one of the AAVMC's top legislative priorities for the fiscal year and is of enormous importance to our members. We will continue to advocate for appropriations to fund the bill’s provisions. In advocating for the bill's passage, the AAVMC joined 531 other organizations in an unprecedented sign of mutual support by signing this letter, addressed to the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, John Boehner, requesting that he bring the bill back to the House floor and pass it.

Now that the bill is passed, find out what it means to our members here.

Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act Becomes Law

Another longstanding AAVMC legislative priority came to fruition on Friday, Aug. 1, when President Barack Obama signed the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act (H.R. 1528) into law.

The law amends a restrictive provision in the Controlled Substances Act and allows veterinarians to transport and dispense controlled substances outside of their DEA-registered locations, across state lines if necessary, in order to provide the best care for their animal patients.
The bill passed both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, and on July 16, Congress sent the bill to the president for his signature.

“Our Government Affairs Director Kevin Cain worked tirelessly with the Veterinary Medicine Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives and with allied organizations such as the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) to get this bill passed,” said AAVMC Executive Director Dr. Andrew Maccabe. “This initiative is a prime example of what can happen when like-minded organizations advocate for mutually beneficial legislation, in alignment with influential and informed Congressional representatives.”

Altogether, the bill had 185 cosponsors.

AAVMC Visits to NIH Highlight Importance of Academic Veterinary Medicine in Research

AAVMC staff and member representatives meet regularly with National Institutes of Health (NIH) leaders, as part of an ongoing outreach effort to share the AAVMC’s story and educate many high, institute-level NIH officials about research activity at member institutions and the importance of continued funding and collaboration. During these meetings, AAVMC members learn about potential areas where our member schools can better engage with the NIH and also potential opportunities for DVMs as NIH continues to examine its biomedical workforce needs. In recent meetings, the AAVMC has engaged with directors or deputy directors of National Center for Advancing Translational Science, National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Cancer Institute, Center for Scientific Review, and Office of Research Infrastructure Programs.

AAVMC Participates in the National Coalition for Food and Agriculture Research

AAVMC is a member of the National Coalition for Food and Agriculture Research, known as NC-FAR. National C-FAR serves as a forum and a unified voice in support of sustaining and increasing public investment at the national level in food and agricultural research, extension and education. National CFAR is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, consensus-based and customer-led coalition established in 2001 that brings food, agriculture, nutrition, conservation and natural resource organizations together with the food and agriculture research and extension community. Learn more about National C-FAR.

AAVMC Forms Public Policy Faculty Fellows Program

The Public Policy Faculty Fellows Program, newly instituted in 2014, is designed to bring member institutions’ faculty members to Washington D.C. to develop leadership skills in the advocacy arena, explore the importance of public policy decisions to the profession, and gain overall knowledge of the legislative and regulatory process at the federal level. Each candidate must agree to advise and mentor future fellows and special consideration is given to nominees who have exhibited leadership skills, especially in the areas of advocacy and government. Learn more.

Governmental Affairs Initiatives


Priorities for Fiscal Year 2014

Appropriations Recommendations for the 113th Congress (Second Session)





Other legislative positions and congressional actions
Executive Branch Activities

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Colorado State University Veterinary Dean Emeritus Earns AAVMC Recognition Lecture Award

read more Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Texas A&M University Professor Earns AAVMC Leadership in Public Policy Award

read more Tuesday, January 27, 2015

University of Georgia Professor Earns AAVMC Iverson Bell Award

read more Journal of Veterinary Medical Education