Winter 2020
December Federal Appropriations Bill and AAVMC Priorities
Following stopgap funding provided by two Continuing Resolutions, a final federal government appropriations bill was signed into law on December 20, 2019. That measure completes funding through the remainder of the 2020 fiscal year.

Here’s how the appropriations bill affects AAVMC priority programs:

  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH) received $41.7 billion, an increase of $2.6 billion over FY 2019
  • Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) received $425 million, an increase of $10 million over FY 2019
  • Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) received $8 million, which was level funding
  • Veterinary Services Grant program (VSGP) received $3 million, which was level funding
Health Professions and Nursing Education Coalition Reports Funding Progress
The AAVMC, along with the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and several other health organizations, is a member of the Health Professions and Nursing Education Coalition (HPNEC). That group has shared the following information regarding the status of key initiatives for the health professions in Congress.

The current language of the Labor-HHS-Education (Labor-HHS) bill provides the Title VII Health Professions and Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development programs with $652.5 million for previously funded programs in FY 2020, a $10.8 million (2%) increase from FY 2019 enacted levels. With the inclusion of programs receiving first-time funding, Title VII and Title VIII received $684.5 million in FY 2020, a $42.8 million (7%) increase from FY 2019 levels.

The original House Labor-HHS bill provided $680 million for previously funded programs, a $38.305 million (5.97%) increase from FY 2019 levels, while the Senate draft Labor-H committee report provided $633.506 million for previously funded programs in FY 2020, an $8.189 million (1.27%) decrease from FY 2019.

See the full funding chart here. Some items of note:

  • $15 million for HCOP (6% increase)
  • $51.5 million for SDS (5% increase)
  • $41.25 million for AHEC (5% increase)
  • $43.9 million for Nurse Education, Practice and Training (5% increase)
  • $18.3 million for Nursing Workforce Diversity (6% increase).

The Behavioral Health Workforce Education & Training Program received $102 million, a $27 million (36%) increase over FY 2019 enacted levels. This increased allocation includes funding dedicated to the Mental and Substance Use Disorder Workforce Training Demonstration and Loan Repayment Program for Substance Use Disorder Treatment Workforce programs, which received first-time funding. The legislation also provides $5 million in new funding for the Nurse Practitioner Optional Fellowship Program.
AAVMC Co-Sponsoring Infectious Disease Outbreak Briefings on Capitol Hill
An educational briefing/luncheon on “Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World” will be held on Thursday, January 30, 2020 from 12-1 p.m. in the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, D.C.

Sponsored by the U.S. One Health Commission, the AAVMC, and the AVMA, the meeting will feature former FDA-CVM Director Dr. Bernadette Dunham, who is now with the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. She is currently serving as an advisor on the FDA’s new One Health Initiative.

The briefing will also feature Dr. Daniel Lucey, Senior Scholar at the O’Neil Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University. Lucey, a noted infectious disease pandemic expert, is also Adjunct Professor of Medicine - Infectious Diseases at the Georgetown University Medical Center. He proposed and helped organize the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History’s popular exhibit on epidemics which runs from 2018-2021.

The two experts will repeat the presentation from 2-3 p.m. in room G-11 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building. The briefings come at the end of a month-long observance of One Health coordinated by the One Health Commission, which contains more than 60 organizational members.
2020 Faculty Fellows Named
The AAVMC has chosen Dr. Melissa Bain from the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and Dr. Erica Behling-Kelly from the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine (Behling-Kelly on left, Bain on right) as 2020 Faculty Fellows.

Behling-Kelly is an associate professor in the Cornell University Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences and serves as director of the Clinical Pathology Laboratory. The dates for her fellowship are April 13 through May 15, 2020. Bain is a professor who is board-certified by the American College of Animal Welfare and the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (ACVB). Her fellowship dates are May 26 through June 8, 2020 with an additional three weeks to be determined in September 2020.

The AAVMC launched the Faculty Fellows Program in 2015 to bring faculty representatives from member institutions to Washington D.C. to develop leadership skills in the advocacy arena, explore the implications of public policy decisions on the profession and gain overall knowledge of the legislative and regulatory process at the federal level.
Programs at Eight AAVMC Institutions Funded by VSGP
Almost $2 million in proposals from seven AAVMC member institution colleges of veterinary medicine and one affiliate were funded during the most recent distribution of Veterinary Services Grant Program (VSGP) Awards. Awards include the University of Illinois, Iowa State University, Kansas State University, the University of Kentucky (affiliate), the University of Missouri, Oklahoma State University, Lincoln Memorial University and the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine.

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) recently announced nine Extension and Training Grants to help mitigate veterinary service shortages in the United States. This program is designed to support education and extension activities that enable veterinarians, veterinary students, and veterinary technicians to gain specialized skills and practices.

The Agricultural Act of 2014 authorized the establishment of the VSGP as a companion to the Veterinary Medical Loan Repayment Program to incentivize service in areas underserved by veterinarians.
Cain Represents AAVMC at NCFAR Meeting
AAVMC Governmental Affairs Director Kevin Cain represented the AAVMC at a recent meeting/webinar of the National Coalition for Food and Agricultural Research. Cain is a member of the board of that organization. Following welcoming remarks from NCFAR President Andy LaVigne, guests heard presentations and updates from speakers representing several major organizations working in the food and agriculture space.

Those included Dr. Scott Hutchins, Deputy Under Secretary of the USDA - Research, Education and Economics; Dr. Scott Angle, director of the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture; and Dr. Doug Steele, Vice President of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). Guests also heard from Senator Richard Durbin’s Legislative Assistant Todd Atkinson on the America Grows Act, and Dr. Sally Rockey, Executive Director of the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR).

NCFAR 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. They actively work to support and sustain federal investment in food and agricultural research, extension and education.
FFAR Seeks Nominations for 2020 New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research Award
The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) is now accepting nominations for the 2020 New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research Award. FFAR plans to grant up to ten awards to early-career scientists pursuing research that supports the Foundation’s Challenge Areas and promotes global, sustainable food production. Each applicant is eligible to receive up to $150,000 per year for a maximum of three years totaling $450,000 from FFAR. For the first time, FFAR is not requiring awardees to secure matching funds, opening this opportunity to a wider pool of applicants. 

Institutions of higher education, nonprofit research institutions and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are encouraged to nominate one applicant who holds tenure-track or equivalent position and meets the eligibility criteria specified in the Call for Nominations.

Applications from eligible nominees will be evaluated on their research program proposals as well as a demonstrated commitment to mentoring future generations of agricultural and food scientists. The deadline for submitting nominations is March 4, 2020 at 5:00 pm ET. Complete submission guidelines and program deadlines are available on the FFAR website.
AAVMC Represented at APLU Conference in San Diego
AAVMC President Dr. Michael Lairmore and Governmental Affairs Director Kevin Cain attended the 132nd meeting of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) in San Diego in late November. Lairmore was designated by the AAVMC Board of Directors to serve transitionally as the AAVMC’s official delegate to the APLU to fill a vacancy that occurred after former Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine Dean Dr. Bryan Slinker was promoted to serve as Interim Provost and Executive Vice President.

The AAVMC has a seat on the APLU’s Committee on Legislature and Policy as well as the Board on Agriculture Assembly. The AAVMC and the APLU work closely on several issues in Washington, including antimicrobial resistance and gene editing in agricultural animals. They worked together on a major program that led to the creation of the National Institute for Antimicrobial Resistance Research and Education (NIAMRRE), based at Iowa State University. They also sponsored a major symposium on gene editing in September and are in the process of developing a task force that will examine regulatory issues.
AAVMC, AVMA Government Relations Personnel Brief Joint Committee
AAVMC Governmental Relations Director Kevin Cain and AVMA counterparts Alex Sands and Lauren Broccoli presented a briefing on joint advocacy activities during the recent meeting of the AVMA/AAVMC Joint Committee in Washington. The presentation discussed funding and program implementation, legislation related to higher education and student debt, the Farm Bill implementation, and key legislation related like the One Health bill and the American Grows Act. They also presented an overview of the political environment in the capital, suggesting that issues like impeachment, immigration and others will affect Congressional ability to productively focus on important legislation.
AAVMC Supporting Foster Our Future Ag Exposition in Washington
The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) is hosting a food and agriculture research exhibition and discussion forum at the Ronald Reagan building in Washington on February 5, 2020. The AAVMC is helping sponsor the event. Foster Our Future showcases FFAR-funded and other agricultural research by allowing participants to interact with exhibits that demonstrate how science is changing the food and agriculture landscape. Former Vice President Al Gore will present a keynote address and a panel discussion on “Agriculture- The Climate Solution” will be featured.

“Addressing hunger and poverty requires the kind of advancements in agriculture only possible through increased research and innovation,” said AAVMC CEO Dr. Andrew T. Maccabe. “We cannot neglect our obligation to invest in a better future. We believe in FFAR’s mission and we are pleased to support this exposition.” Established by bipartisan congressional support in the 2014 Farm Bill, FFAR is a nonprofit organization that leverages federal investment with other partners to address critical shortfalls in agricultural research.
AAVMC Assists with Global Health Advocacy Day
AAVMC Governmental Affairs Director Kevin Cain represented the AAVMC during the Consortium of Universities for Global Health’s (CUGH) Global Health Capitol Hill Day in late 2019. Among others, Cain met with Washington D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (above).

Last year, the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) secured a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to work with the U.S. academic community on efforts to increase U.S. funding for global health initiatives. This was part of that effort.
The AAVMC frequently collaborates with the CUGH, which is a Washington based organization of almost 200 major universities and other organizations focused on improving global health through education, research, service, and advocacy. AAVMC President Dr. Michael Lairmore will address their international conference in April 2020.
Advocacy Letters

The AAVMC continues to work closely with a wide array of organizations that share our interests in supporting the advancement of academic veterinary medicine, food security and public health. The letters below reflect some of that recent activity.

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

Sign up to receive the Vet-Med Educator in your inbox here . See past issues here
Sign up for our Advocacy newsletter here . Read past issues here
Sign up for the newsletter of the Council on International Veterinary Medical Education (CIVME) here . Read past issues here .
Association of American Veterinary
Medical Colleges

655 K Street, NW, Suite 725
Washington, D.C., 20001