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AAVA Alternate Delegate to the AVMA House of Delegates (HOD) Cindy Wallis was one of only ten HOD members selected to participate in the Leadership Development Program held in October at AVMA Headquarters in Schaumburg, IL.

On October 16-17, I attended the AVMA Leadership Development Program at AVMA Headquarters in Schaumburg, Illinois.  This program is set up to give members of the House of Delegates (HOD) an in-depth orientation to the AVMA, its structure and function and the process for policy and procedure development. Ten Delegates and Alternate Delegates from the HOD met with key staff at the AVMA, the Office of the Executive Vice President, 12 divisions, the AVMF, PLIT and GHLIT. We were able to hear firsthand about their roles and responsibilities, key issues, initiatives and member resources.
Topics covered over the 2 day meeting included:
How AVMA Policy is Made
Resolution and Bylaw Amendment Process
The Role of the House Advisory Committee (HAC)
HOD Forum and Governance Portal
The Strategic Management Process
Partnerships and Alignments
Conflicts of Interest

We also met with representatives of each of the Divisions, including:
Veterinary Economics Division
Communications Division, including the State Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Department
Education and Research Division
Scientific Activities Division
Membership and Field Services Division
Animal Welfare Division
Convention and Meeting Planning Division
Information and Technology Division
Publications Division
Finance and Business Services Division
American Veterinary Medical Foundation
Office of the Executive Vice President
And we had a Videoconference Meeting with the Government Relations division in Washington, D.C.

We learned how the AVMA is restructuring in an attempt to be more nimble and more relevant to the membership.  Based on surveys to the AVMA membership, they are working hard to focus on what is most important to the members.  Key areas include Advocacy and Economics.  The AVMA is doing a lot to support and promote the profession of veterinary medicine.  I would encourage you to visit their website at to learn more about the issues being addressed on both the State and National levels. You can also sign up for an online newsletter, the AVMA Advocate. Another valuable resource is the Animal Health Smart Brief, a free online subscription that provides with you daily updates to keep you informed about the latest news, policies and information affecting the animal health community.

This was an incredibly worthwhile meeting for any new or current Delegate or Alternate delegate to attend. I left with a much greater understanding of what the AVMA does for our profession and also what my upcoming role is as the Alternate Delegate for the AAVA.

* To maintain the AAVA seat in the HOD, our voting membership must equal 1% of AVMA’s voting members, of which 85% must be voting members of the AVMA.  WE NEED YOU!  If you have not yet renewed your membership in AAVA,  click here to renew.

* Are you interested in volunteering with AVMA?  Explore the upcoming positions available by visiting the AVMA website to learn more.