AVMA launches new economics division

Published on: Mar 21, 2013

As part of its renewed focus on economic issues affecting the veterinary profession, the American Veterinary Medical Assn. (AVMA) announced the hiring of Dr. Michael R. Dicks as director in the association's newly created Veterinary Economics Division.

"As an economist with more than 25 years of applied research and policy analysis experience, I'm excited about this opportunity to help AVMA better understand the changing veterinary profession. Along with the work of the new Veterinary Economic Strategy Committee, we'll be working to ensure that veterinary medicine remains a great career option for current professionals and those entering the profession in the future, and understanding the workforce and profitability will be critical to achieving that goal," Dicks said.

AVMA said it decided to create the Veterinary Economic Division in 2011 at the same meeting it established the Veterinary Economics Strategy Committee (VESC) to advise AVMA leaders on the future of the profession.

Dicks and his staff will provide support services for the VESC and other economic entities and working groups and provide the leadership needed so that the association can best deal with the economic issues that veterinarians face today. AVMA has also funded new research that will provide information about the economics of the veterinary profession.

Dicks has experience as a professor and leader in the field of economics, and in his new position, he'll be applying his skills as an economist to all economic aspects of the profession. Prior to coming to AVMA, Dicks was the Lou & Wes Watkins Chair for International Trade & Development at Oklahoma State University's School of International Studies, and a professor in Oklahoma State's department of agriculture and natural resources economics. He's also been a professor at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University and a research associate at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

He also has a great deal of experience in government units, research centers and international projects. Before coming to AVMA, he was lead scientist in the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Economic Research Service's (ERS) Natural Resource Policy program, which is tasked with providing USDA and Congress with analysis of resource policy, and he was section leader with ERS's Aquaculture & Alternative Products Section, a new section he developed to collect and disseminate economic information on U.S. aquaculture products sectors.

AVMA's Veterinary Economics Division will participate in the formulation and execution of the association's policies, objectives and programs relating to the economic issues that AVMA members face today. These efforts will include: conducting benchmarking surveys and studies on veterinary economic statistics, conducting economic analysis on policies and issues, developing and managing programs and projects consistent with the AVMA's economic strategic goals, developing business engagements and partnerships and functioning as a liaison with AVMA staff, volunteer leadership and stakeholder groups to establish the economic goals of AVMA in order to best ensure the future of the veterinary profession for association members.