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AAIV Education Series

A Seat at the Table
By Debra Nickelson
Posted: 2021-06-04T20:10:00Z

A Seat at the Table: What does AAIV's representation on AVMA House of Delegates mean?

Debra Nickelson DVM, MBA

AAIV Alternate Delegate

What is the House of Delegates?

The House of Delegates, all volunteers, is comprised of a two people from each state, including Puerto Rico and two people from each allied organization.


What are the allied organizations?

There are 17 allied organizations and the student AVMA. Allied organizations include the species-specific groups (feline, equine, bovine, small ruminant, swine, avian) and specialized groups (acupuncture, holistic, avian pathology, lab animal, theriogenology, veterinary clinician, AAHA). There are four non-clinical practice allied organizations (federal veterinarians, uniformed services, food safety and public health AND American Association of Industry Veterinarians.)

How can I help make sure the AAIV continues to be represented in the AVMA House of Delegates?
Double check that your AAIV account lists you as an active member, or become an AVMA member today! If you need help checking your AAIV account, please contact us at


What makes AAIV unique among the allied organizations?

AAIV is the organization that represents the veterinarians associated with the animal and human health companies and the other groups that support their efforts. AAIV represents YOU to the AVMA.


What does the House of Delegates do?

Members of the House of Delegates vote on resolutions that will become AVMA policy. They also vote for the AVMA President-Elect, Vice President, and any contested openings for AVMA Councils, Committees and Task Forces. AAIV supports qualified people for these positions to represent the interests of animal and human health companies.


How many votes does each state or allied organization get?

The states get a prorated number of votes, depending on the number of AVMA members in each state. Each allied organization and the student AVMA get two votes.


Where do recommendations for AVMA policy come from?

·       From the AVMA Councils, Committees or Task Forces

·       From the House of Delegates acting on a resolution

·       From petition of AVMA members


Then what happens?

Recommendations are written up as resolutions to be reviewed by the House Advisory Committee and House of Delegates. They are discussed and voted upon during one of the AVMA meetings in January or July. If approved, the policy is instituted by the AVMA board of directors.


What else does the House of Delegates do?

Members of the House of Delegates are invited to participate in conversations with U.S. senators and representatives on matters that affect veterinarians. See my article on the Virtual Legislative Fly In. Note that I offered perspectives on the role of animal health companies providing safe and effective pharmaceuticals and the importance of public health in rural communities.


What else about the House of Delegates?

Members of the House of Delegates receive extensive communication from AVMA regarding hot topics, issues and current affairs. We share that with you.


How can you be represented?

When AAIV asks for opinions on Veterinary Information Forum, input on AVMA candidates or topics that should be considered for resolutions, be sure to respond. We need your feedback to represent you.


So, who are my AAIV delegates?

Dr. Ellen Lowery is the primary delegate and I am the alternate delegate. Usually, terms run for three years at which time the alternate fills the primary role and AAIV will search and vote for an alternate delegate. You can have a seat at the table. Look for a call to nominations in the AAIV newsletter sometime in fall of 2022, as new terms will begin in January 2023. Nominate yourself or a colleague who is a member of AAIV.