AVMA Launches New Economics Division; Dr. Michael R. Dicks Joins AVMA as Director

(SCHAUMBURG, Ill.) March 21, 2013—As part of its renewed focus on economic issues impacting the veterinary profession, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) hires Dr. Michael R. Dicks as director in the Association’s new Veterinary Economics Division.

“”As an economist with over 25 years of applied research and policy analysis experience, I’m excited about this opportunity to help the 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,”” Dr. Dicks says. “”Veterinarians have contributed so much in the areas of patient care, disease control, animal welfare and health, food safety, research, and medical innovations, and we’ll need America’s best and brightest to continue to enter the profession if we’re to see similar contributions—that benefit both animals and people—into the future.””

The AVMA 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. Dr. 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. The AVMA has also funded new research that will provide information about the economics of the veterinary profession.

“”When we set out to hire our new Veterinary Economics Division leader, we knew right away that it would be a tall order to find somebody with the knowledge and skills to launch such an important new endeavor for the Association, but Dr. Dicks definitely has the background to accomplish our goals,”” says Dr. Douglas Aspros, AVMA president. “”He’s been a professor and economist in the fields of international trade and economics for over 20 years. His knowledge, analytical skills and real-world experience will be essential in helping us launch our new Veterinary Economics Division to help ensure the future of our industry and our members.””

Dr. Dicks has a wealth of 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 the AVMA, Dr. Dicks was the Lou and Wes Watkins Chair for International Trade and Development at the School of International Studies at Oklahoma State University (OSU) since 2010, and a professor in the OSU Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources Economics since 1989. He’s also been a professor at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and a research associate at the University of Missouri-Columbia, his Alma matter.

He also has a great deal of experience in government units, research centers and international projects. Before coming to the AVMA, he was lead scientist in the USDA/Economic Research Service for Natural Resource Policy program, which is tasked with providing the USDA and Congress with analysis of resource policy, and he was section leader with the USDA/Economic Research Service/Aquaculture and Alternative Products Section, a new section he developed to collect and disseminate economic information on U.S. aquaculture products sectors. He was director of the OSU and Kansas State University/Great Plains Agricultural Policy Center, a congressionally funded center he developed that focusses on the economic implications of federal policies on Great Plain states. He was also director of the OSU/International Trade and Development Center that focuses on assisting small and medium sized Oklahoma businesses to initiate or increase exports and to provide energy, food, water, and sanitation development assistance to communities in developing countries.

Earlier in his career, he worked as a research analyst for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service from 1982-1984, served as a research analyst-consultant in the Tunisia Technological Transfer Project from 1981-1983, and worked in Kenya as part of the Peace Corps from 1976 to 1979.

Dr. Dicks received his Ph.D. in agricultural economics from the University of Missouri, Columbia in 1985, and his master’s in agricultural economics in 1982 from the same university.

In his new role as head of the AVMA Veterinary Economics Division, Dr. Dicks will focus his knowledge of economics and trade at the veterinary profession to help AVMA members. The AVMA’s new 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 the Association in order to best ensure the future of the veterinary profession for Association members.

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The AVMA, founded in 1863, is one of the oldest and largest veterinary medical organizations in the world, with more than 84,000 member veterinarians worldwide engaged in a wide variety of professional activities and dedicated to the art and science of veterinary medicine.


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