A commission has published a report identifying emerging trends that will affect the veterinary profession in the next generation.
AVMA and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges established the AVMA-AAVMC Veterinary Futures Commission in early 2018. The report was published in February after more than a year and a half of research and investigation by members of the commission, a mix of experts, science and clinical practice, as well as those with senior positions in the profession.
“The future may be unknown, but that doesn’t mean we can’t prepare for change as a profession,” said Dr. John Howe, President of AVMA, in a February 10 announcement. “As the report shows, organized veterinary medicine can take steps to identify currents and trends and use those findings to determine how we can most effectively lead the profession into the future.”
“As we prepare new generations of veterinarians, academic veterinary medicine has a special responsibility in planning,” said Dr. Michael Lairmore, AAVMC President, in the announcement. “Accelerating change has become the new status quo in our profession, and we need to use it in a way that builds and sustains success. The Futures Commission has made a remarkable contribution to this, and we are grateful for its work. “
According to the report, the following outcomes could be achieved if veterinarians allow their future to be “determined by events rather than a proactive approach to managing change”:
- The preeminent role veterinarians play as leading experts in animal health and wellbeing could be undermined.
- Alternative sources of veterinary care could displace veterinarians as the primary option for animal health solutions.
- The primary care veterinary practice could switch from a medical authority to a technical provider of standard services.
- Veterinarians could have less of an impact on animal husbandry, science, research, public policy, and animal health in general.
- The profession could no longer be seen as an attractive career option for aspiring health professionals.
The report shows the following possibilities “to lead the profession into a more sustainable future by taking into account the social, technological and ecological disturbances that arise”.
- The veterinary profession can establish a professional culture that adapts to change, inspires innovation, and builds an entrepreneurial mindset.
- Veterinary medicine can grow its influence as a trusted leader and valued partner in protecting animal, human and planet health.
- Veterinarians can develop constantly evolving, innovative educational models that are competency-based and learning-centered to promote lifelong learning and facilitate the acquisition of new knowledge and skills.
- Veterinarians can improve access to care and penetrate underserved markets by deploying technologies that promote team-based care and employ a wide range of business models, from large corporate practices to ownership.
- Veterinarians can hire a more diverse group of the highest quality applicants from a variety of backgrounds and experiences who can envision and implement different, novel approaches to solving complex global challenges.
The report covers developments in culture and professionalism, veterinary health care, the role of veterinarians in food production, global safety, teaching and learning, and research.