Spring 2017
Successfully advancing our initiatives requires strong collaboration with organizations and coalitions that share our goals and interests. Here are a few organizations we work closely with.  
Health Professions and Nursing Education Coalition (HPNEC): The Health Professions and Nursing Education Coalition (HPNEC) is an alliance of over 60 national organizations representing schools, programs, health professionals and students dedicated to ensuring the health care workforce is trained to meet the needs of our diverse population.

Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI):
The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation is a non-profit research and education organization that is gathering, funding and sharing the scientific research that demonstrates the positive health impacts of animals on people. 

National Association for the Advancement of Animal Science (NAAAS):
The National Association for the Advancement of Animal Science is comprised of representatives from animal, dairy and poultry science departments from colleges and universities across the United States who are dedicated to improving overall federal funding for animal agricultural research.

National Coalition for Food and Agriculture Research (NC-FAR):
National C-FAR is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, consensus-based and customer-led coalition that brings food, agriculture, nutrition, conservation and natural resource stakeholders together with the food and agriculture research community, serving 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. Kevin Cain sits on the board of NC-FAR.

Presidents United to Solve Hunger (PUSH):
Is an initiative which unites universities in the fight against hunger and malnutrition. By signing PUSH, university leaders are agreeing to make food and nutrition security a priority on campus. Leadership from the top will expedite progress in addressing this critical local and global issue. AAVMC is a supporting partner.

Advocacy Activities
2017 Advocacy Day
The AAVMC's annual Advocacy Day is a highlight of the year. The AAVMC maintains a continuous presence on Capitol Hill; however, once a year on Advocacy Day, deans and other representatives from member institutions meet with Congressional representatives face to face. During the AAVMC's 2017 Advocacy Day on March 9, more than 80 representatives conducted some 140 visits with Members and staffers. 

The day kicked off with Kevin Cain, the AAVMC's director of governmental affairs, presenting a summary of the AAVMC's legislative agenda, including the need to support medical and educational research and increase support for the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program. Then, member representatives travelled by bus for a full day on Capitol Hill, where they met directly with the Congressional representatives from their respective states to make the case for issues that matter to veterinary medical education.

Congressional members and staffers were generally receptive and, oftentimes, already familiar with the issues. They asked questions, provided updates on pending legislation, or inquired about the latest school news. The chats were congenial but also focused and directed: to advance the AAVMC's legislative priorities, as well as those of specific schools, and keep those issues before the eyes and ears of elected decision-makers.
AMR Legislative Briefing Highlights Need for Action, One-Health Approach
The AAVMC is broadly responding to the public health threat posed by antimicrobial resistant (AMR) bacteria. To build awareness and cultivate support, the AAVMC and the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) recently presented a legislative briefing on Capitol Hill.

The event attracted about 40 legislative staffers, government and industry officials and focused on the need for taking a multi-disciplinary, "One Health" approach to solving the AMR problem. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations Senior Liaison Officer Barbara Ekwall moderated the event which featured three leading experts who focused on research, education and public policy. Featured guests included:
Government Relations Directors Update Students at Several Veterinary Colleges
Veterinary medical students are understandably concerned about economic issues in veterinary medicine and hungry for information. Legislation like the Higher Education Act  and the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Enhancement Act materially affect important items like financial aid, loan repayments and career opportunities. Some of these students are now better informed than they were, thanks to the efforts of AAVMC Governmental Affairs Director Kevin Cain and AVMA Government Relations Assistant Director Gina Luke. 

Responding to student invitations, they've recently made presentations at the Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine, the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine, the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, and the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. The VM presentation was webcast to interested students at other colleges. Presentations focused on the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, the AVMA/AAVMC's Fix-the-Debt campaign, and ways students can get engaged with the process of creating positive change.
AAVMC, APLU and FAO Collaborate on AMR Roundtable
To summarize progress and map out future strategies, an Antimicrobial Resistance Roundtable Discussion involving 15 stakeholders from the AAVMC, the APLU, the FAO, the World Bank and other groups was hosted from FAO offices on April 6, 2017. The group focused on educational, research and policy development initiatives with international impact, including methods for educating stakeholders, the potential establishment of a university-based Center of Excellence to coordinate research and educational programs, and Congressional outreach and potential One Health legislation.
Capitol Hill Agricultural Exhibit and Reception
AAVMC members were invited to participate in the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities' 2017 Capitol Hill Agricultural Exhibit and Reception. Almost 200 guests, including six Representatives (including Veterinary Medical Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Ted Yoho), staffers and other stakeholders turned out for the event. Dr. Brad White from the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine presented an exhibit related to the work being done at KSU with funding provided through the Veterinary Services Grant Program (VSGP).

It Takes a Village
As the old saying goes, there's strength in numbers. To achieve its advocacy goals, the AAVMC actively collaborates with many like-minded organizations on programs designed to inform, educate, and persuade. Letters supporting and challenging legislative policy are often signed by dozens or even hundreds of organizations. Below are some policy letters that the AAVMC has recently signed onto.
  • Letter supporting the swift completion of FY 2017 appropriations, with the highest possible levels for the R&D budget.
  • Letter supporting an additional $35 million to support the Combatting Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria (CARB) initiative at USDA, for research, monitoring and surveillance.
  • Letter supporting increased funding for Labor, HHS, Education and Related Agencies for FY 2018. This is commonly known as the "302b" letter, because that is the allocation that the House and Senate Appropriations Committees provide to their individual subcommittees as a top line number.
  • Letter in support of continued robust student aid in the budget and in FY 2018. The AAVMC is a member of the Student Aid Alliance.
  • The Animal Agriculture Coalition (AAC) FY 2018 request letter is a compilation of the key funding priorities for animal agriculture. These include AFRI, as well as the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program and the Veterinary Services Grant Program.
Please contact - 
AAVMC Director of Governmental Affairs Kevin Cain at  kcain@aavmc.org or 202-371-9195 (ext. 117) 
with any comments, questions and suggestions about our program.