Washington, D.C – August 20, 2019 – Briefings from federal government officials and leaders from academic veterinary medicine and other associations highlighted the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges’ (AAVMC) Summer Meeting in Washington, D.C. August 3.
Kicking off the event attended by about 50 deans and other guests, AAVMC President Dean Michael Lairmore outlined the progress of the AAVMC’s current strategic planning process. Lairmore said a series of concept papers exploring top issues in academic veterinary medicine had been developed by staff, board members and volunteers. The plan is on schedule for completion in early 2020.
A broader take on the future of academic veterinary medicine was then detailed by Texas A&M Dean Dr. Eleanor Green, who is leading the Veterinary Futures Commission. Comprised of representatives from the AAVMC, the AVMA and other profession leaders, the commission is nearing completion of a major report on the future of veterinary medicine. In draft phase, that report is expected to be broadly released throughout the profession in several months.
Dr. Scott Angle, Director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) then spoke to the group about the status of NIFA’s relocation to Kansas City. The Trump administration’s decision to move NIFA and the Economic Research Service (ERS) to Kansas City generated a great deal of concern from Congress and a variety of stakeholders. While the move is on track for September 30 deadline, Angle said, only about 25% of the agency’s 700 employees are expected to make the move, precipitating a vast “brain drain” and loss of institutional knowledge. Angle said the agency is approaching the move as an “opportunity for change.”
Dr. Stephane Martinot, President of the European Association for Establishments of Veterinary Education (EAEVE), then outlined some of the current issues and operations of that group, which includes 96 members from 34 countries.
An update from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) was then shared by Executive Director Dr. Sally Rockey. Created by the 2014 Farm Bill and initially funded with $200 million, FFAR operates as a public/private partnership that funds promising research in food and agriculture. In their roughly three years of operations, FFAR has funded more than 100 proposals and established relationships with 344 funding partners. FFAR, along with the AAVMC, offers a summer fellowship program for veterinary students called the FFAR Vet Fellows. These fellowships allow veterinary students to pursue research at the intersection of global food security and sustainable animal production.
Dr. Douglas L. Steele, Vice President for Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources with the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU), presented an overview of that organization’s current operations and priorities. The AAVMC has recently partnered with APLU on the establishment of the National Institute for Antimicrobial Resistance Research and Education (NIAMRE).
The meeting wrapped up with questions and comments from the audience following a presentation on the Veterinary Business Management Association by President Ricky Walther and Vice President Emily Farmer.
The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) is a nonprofit membership organization working to protect and improve the health and welfare of animals, people and the environment around the world by advancing academic veterinary medicine. Members include 50 accredited veterinary medical colleges in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Europe, Australia, Asia and New Zealand.
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