Spring 2018
Federal Spending Bill Includes Good News for Academic Veterinary Medicine
The federal government's recently passed Omnibus spending bill for FY 2018 contains some good news for academic veterinary medicine. Several important programs to the AAVMC received funding as part of the legislation. The Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank (FARAD), the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program, the Veterinary Services Grant Program, and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) were funded; in many cases, at levels which represented substantial increases. 
One Health Legislation Introduced in Senate
The Advancing Emergency Preparedness Through One Health Act has been introduced in the 115th Congress by Minnesota Senator Tina Smith and Indiana Senator Todd Young. The bill would require federal agencies like the Departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture to adopt a One Health approach to understanding and managing disease threats. One Health recognizes the interrelationships between animal health, human health and the environment and takes an integrated approach to prevention and management. The World Bank estimated that from 1997-2009, six zoonotic disease outbreaks cost $80 billion in losses, and the CDC estimates there are 2.5 billion zoonotic disease infections around the world every year. Senator Smith's office expressed their gratitude to the AAVMC for helping with the legislation. The bi-partisan legislation builds upon efforts launched with the One Health Act of 2016, which was introduced in the 114th Congress by Minnesota Senator Al Franken, also from Minnesota.
Strong Response Received for RFP to Establish AMR Institute
Nine universities, all home to AAVMC member institutions, have responded to a Request for Proposal (RFP) designed to support the creation of a major research and education center on Antimicrobial Resistance. Establishing a formal research and education center represents the final phase of a four-year collaboration undertaken by the AAVMC and the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) to help address the menacing public health problem of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). A review committee chaired by former USDA Under Secretary of Agriculture for Research, Education and Economics Dr. Cathie Woteki has been appointed to review proposals and make recommendations.
AAVMC Advocacy Day Efforts Yield Immediate Results
Effective advocacy work on Capitol Hill requires persistent and sustained effort. Results are more often measured in slow and steady progress, not necessarily "eureka moments." But that wasn't the case following a visit made during the 2018 AAVMC Advocacy Day by Mississippi State College of Veterinary Medicine Dean and former AAVMC President Dr. Kent Hoblet. Within days of Hoblet's visit, Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker signed on to the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Enhancement Act (VMLRPEA), which seeks to eliminate ill-founded tax penalties with the existing legislation. On the AAVMC's March 1 Advocacy Day, 72 educators representing 27 states made the trek to Capitol Hill, where 138 meetings were held with scores of Congressional offices.
Senator John Melcher, Giant Advocate for the Profession,
Dies at 93
Senator John Melcher
The veterinary medical community mourns the passing of Senator John Melcher, a veterinarian who represented Montana in the House of Representatives from 1969-1977 and in the Senate from 1977-1989. Senator Melcher served as an important advocate for veterinary medicine, working for both the AVMA and the AAVMC as a lobbyist following his service in Congress. Known to his constituents as "Doc" Melcher, he began his veterinary career in 1950 following service in World War II, where he participated in the D-Day invasion of Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge. In 2007, the AAVMC created the Senator John M. Melcher, DVM, Leadership in Public Policy Award to honor his contributions. Melcher was 93.
AAVMC's Cain Discusses Higher Ed Re-authorization Act During AVMA "Fly-In"
AAVMC Governmental Affairs Director Kevin Cain joined the AVMA's Alex Sands to present a briefing on the status and policy objectives for the re-authorization of the Higher Education Act of 1965 during the AVMA's Washington D.C. "AVMA Fly-In." With origins in the Johnson administration's "Great Society" initiative, the sweeping legislation has a major impact on colleges and universities and student financial aid resources. About 100 people participated in the AVMA's annual three-day event, held March 25-27. Registrants received a series of briefings on AVMA legislative priorities and an orientation before engaging in advocacy visits with members and staffers in House and Senate offices on Capitol Hill.
VSANZ Executive Officer Scott Williams Visits AAVMC
Dr. Scott Williams enjoys a lighter moment during the recent AAVMC annual meeting.
Dr. Scott Williams, Executive Officer of the Veterinary Schools of Australia and New Zealand (VSANZ), recently spent about a week in Washington visiting colleagues at the AAVMC and the AVMA. Williams met with a variety of AAVMC staff members and AVMA officials during the visit, which was coordinated by the AAVMC. Williams and AAVMC Governmental Affairs Director Kevin Cain also met with Congressman Ted Yoho, co-chair of the Veterinary Medicine Caucus in Congress. While in town, Williams also participated in the AAVMC's annual conference.
Ramaswamy to Leave NIFA, Lead Western Higher Ed Accreditation Agency
Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy
National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Director Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy has announced he will leave his current post to become President and Chief Executive Officer of the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) in July 2018. Respected as a powerful advocate for science and education, Ramaswamy has led NIFA since his appointment in 2012. Prior to his service at NIFA, he served in leadership positions at several major U.S. universities. "Dr. Ramaswamy has made profound contributions during his role at NIFA," said AAVMC CEO Dr. Andrew T. Maccabe. "He understands the role of academic veterinary medicine in 'the big picture' and has been a great leader, friend and supporter. We appreciate all he has accomplished and wish him well in his new role at the Northwest Commission."
VSGP Applications Due May 18
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is taking applications for the 2018 Veterinary Services Grant Program (VSGP). The VSGP seeks to develop and sustain the broad availability of veterinary services and alleviate shortages in the United States. The program will provide approximately $2.4 million in funding during this cycle and is open to a variety of educational institutions and other entities. Click this link for detailed information on eligibility requirements and application procedures.
NCFAR Ag Research Summit in Washington May 31-June 1
The National Coalition for Food and Agriculture Research (NCFAR) is partnering with several other agricultural and educational stakeholders to present a Summit for Integrated Research, Economics, Education, and Extension Priorities to Advance American Agriculture. The meeting will be held May 31-June 1 in Washington, D.C. The purpose of the summit is to promote stakeholder engagement with administration officials and help inform the action plan for Research, Education, and Economics (REE). The group hopes to cultivate and advance a long-term vision and plan for advancing agricultural research, education, and extension. The AAVMC is participating as a "Friend of the Summit" level sponsor.

AAVMC Advocacy Letters

Please contact: AAVMC Governmental Affairs Director Kevin Cain at kcain@aavmc.org or 202-371-9195 (ext. 117) with any comments, questions and suggestions about our program.

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