What Advocacy Really Means

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What Advocacy Really Means

Thank you to Dr. Jill Lancaster for helping us put this together and her continued commitment to advocating for the Georgia veterinary community.

Advocacy“: noun. the act or process of supporting a cause or proposal.

Why is advocacy a pillar of the GVMA?

  • It’s a part of how we carry out the GVMA’s mission statement – The GVMA is committed to advancing the veterinary medical profession in Georgia and supporting the veterinarian’s role in improving animal and public health.
  • It’s how we protect the profession – address systemic issues and drive change; Work toward creating an environment that can sustain our profession long term.
  • It’s how we protect the public and animals.
  • Influence legislation and policy-making.
  • Empower our members to have a collective voice in the political process.

Advocacy and politics: What’s the difference?

  • Advocacy is the act of supporting, defending, or arguing in favor of a cause, policy, or group of people. It often involves raising awareness, influencing public opinion, or lobbying decision-makers to change or create policies.
  • Politics is the practice or profession of conducting political affairs, which includes activities associated with governance, the formation and administration of policies, and the struggle for power within groups or organizations.
    • Politics can involve negotiation, debate, legislation, and the enforcement of laws within a government.
  • While advocacy can be a part of politics when individuals or groups lobby for certain issues, not all advocacy is political, and politics encompasses a broader range of activities beyond advocating for specific issues or causes.
  • The GVMA advocates for causes, policies and legislation that will impact the veterinarian’s role in improving animal and public health. 
    • The GVMA argues against causes, policies, and legislation that will have a negative impact the veterinarian’s role in improving animal and public health.

What is the GVMA advocating for in 2024?

  • Improving the Food Animal Veterinary Loan Repayment Plan
    • Recommend increasing the amount to $25,000/year for 3 years.  Currently an individual applies for the grant annually.  The Federal VLR is one application for 3 years, and this would align the GA plan with the Federal plan
    • Recent graduates or 4th year students can apply and feel confident as a grant recipient they can focus on their food animal practice knowing the grant has a 3 year duration.
    • Food animal veterinarians competitive salary is not equivalent to urban small animal veterinary medicine yet their student loans are similar.
    • The GVMA has stakeholder support especially from the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association and Georgia Farm Bureau.
    • The GVMA has legislators support especially from the Rural Business Development Caucus – a bipartisan group of legislators from both the House and the Senate.

Want to get involved?

  • Find your elected officials here.
  • Send them a friendly email sharing the Georgia Veterinary Medical Association advocates for causes, policies and legislation that will impact your role in improving animal and public health. 
    • Ask them to support legislation supported by the GVMA and if they have questions about proposed legislation that affects animals or veterinarians to reach out to you or directly to Dr. Keri Riddick at keri@gvma.net.
  • Are you interested in a quick, and very important way that you can participate in advocacy?  Complete this brief survey that helps us identify what is important to you!
  • If you are willing to write a short email to your legislator, or make a quick phone call or happen to know a legislator (it is ok if you don’t, most of us do not) the survey will collect the ways you are willing to advocate for the GVMA in the future.

State Board of Veterinary Medicine

Did you know that many of the State Board of Veterinary Medicine meetings are open to the public?

  • Rules Committee Meetings and Veterinary Medicine Board Meetings have public links.
  • The GVMA attends all of the open meetings to remain informed and serve as the voice advocating for our members.