Dear Readers and fellow animal lovers.
It is time for us all to stand up for what believe in. The RACE committee, which dictates what we as veterinarians can use as CE ( continuing education credits to maintain our license) has change their policy so we can no longer get any credit for the 100’s and 1000’s of hour we put into self education in complementary veterinary medicine for the purpose of serving our animal friends as effectively as we can.
I have included the letter I just wrote to the California Steate board about my concern for this biased and rude treatment of me and my fellow veterinarians who choose to provide quality completmentaty veterinary medicine to our animal patients. You can use my words and add your own. These need to be emailed or mailed in the form of letters to your state boareds to support a change in the current RACE standards which are totally biased in favor of drugs and surgery.
Please pay this forward as fast as you can to make sure our rights to choose the medical protocols of our choice are not taken away by greed and ignorance. Blessings to you all.
Dr. Stephen Blake .
January 26, 2011
Dear California State Veterinary Board Members,
Re: the RACE committee
I am a practicing California Veterinarian who has been in good standing with SDCVMA, CVMA and AVMA for over 37 years. My license number is 5303. I have dedicated my life to caring for animals, just as you have all done. I have chosen to specialize in Complementary modalities of veterinary medicine for the past 30 years, so that my clients have medical options for the care of their beloved animals.
It saddens me to see what has happen to my profession, I so dearly love. When a few people can dictate policy against the wishes of the people who love their animals, for personal gain or bias it saddens my heart. We are here to serve as stewards to the animals and provide compassion in a professional caring manner.
The RACE committee has insulted my entire fellow veterinary communitee and me as a health professional by their actions. They are telling me my thousands of hours of continuing education are of no value. This is beyond belief. I would like to know how much time they have spend learning what I have spent a lifetime learning. My guess would be NIL.
You are our ONLY hope to stand up for me and my fellow veterinarians who provide quality integrative veterinary medical care for our animal patients. I ask you as fellow human being and fellow veterinarian to stand up for me and correct this injustice against my profession and the animals NOW.
I will always love my profession and have chosen to dedicate my life to caring for my friends the animals. Help me to continue to fulfill my dream.
Blessings to you all and than you for all the hard work you do for our profession.
Dr. Stephen R. Blake
An estimated 50% of Americans use Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) for themselves and their pets. There is a need for knowledge and education about these modalities for veterinarians. If a veterinarian does not know about them, or dismisses them, the public has no recourse except to turn to lay practitioners, which can result in harm to their pets.
Education in veterinary CAM (also known as CAVM) is present in most state and national veterinary association meetings. In addition to associations, which are members of the AVMA House of Delegates, national associations such as CVC also include these tracks. For them, and for associations specifically devoted to various modalities of CAVM, approval for CE comes primarily from the RACE committee of the AAVSB. Despite the statement by AAVSB that the process is strictly voluntary, RACE approval has become the de facto means of recognizing CAVM CE in most states.
Since December of 2008, all CAVM submissions have been reviewed by a single new member of the RACE committee who has training in 2 CAVM modalities (of 8 commonly used). Turnaround time for approval or denial by the RACE committee for CAVM courses has expanded dramatically from less than 45 days, to up to 11 months. Attendees at CAVM meetings no longer know if a program can meet their CE requirements until months after the meeting is over.
When denying approval, the committee almost never gives reasons. This does not allow for improvement of programs, making it difficult to adjust program offerings to those that agree with AAVSB standards. Occasionally, reasons are given for rejection, which do not make sense (e.g., rejecting a course in acupuncture because the lecturer owns an herb company, creating “conflict of interest.”) At other times, the rejection appears related to the published opinions of the reviewer (e.g., all lectures about Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) have been rejected.)
Wholesale rejection has included items, which are required for licensing for the human version of those practices. (TCM knowledge is required for training and licensing of OMDs, licensed acupuncturists, and licensed Chinese herbalists in all states, and is a large part of their national board exam.) It has also included items specifically named in some states’ practice acts. It has also included courses and meetings accepted by many state boards, and items taught in veterinary schools in the U.S., Canada, or Europe. It has included courses, which were approved for 8 years or more previously. Although AAVSB has stated it is interested in input from interested parties, they have told us they are only interested in the input from state boards.
To properly protect the public, veterinarians need to be able to learn about CAVM, in lectures or courses given by those who are judged expert by their peers. Judgment of the validity of CAVM CE should be done by those with training in those modalities, and who do not have their own courses to promote, at the expense of others offering competing courses. Approval or denial must be done in a timely manner, with feedback to help improve CE offerings. If RACE does not do this for CAVM, it has failed in its purpose. I am asking the California State Board to ask the RACE committee to apply their criteria in a fair and unbiased way, to use those who have training recognized by universities and the CAVM community to judge questionable items, and to use those who do not have a conflict of interest, to help with CE approval. I would also ask that RACE return to its former approval time of less than 45 days. Finally, I would like the committee to give feedback with its rejections, to allow understanding of what they consider quality education.
References available on request.
Dr. Stephen R. Blake
California License # 5303
This is my second letter sent today to ask the AVMA to make the changes that need to be made to support integrative veterinary medicine for all the pet lovers who want it for their dear friends. Thanks for paying it forward.
February 6, 2011
To whom it may concern:
As a 37 year AVMA and CVMA member I am pleased by the group’s effort to add
complementary/alternative medicine within Goal Six. I believe we must advocate
oversight of veterinary medical procedures if we are to preserve the
effectiveness and integrity of our wonderful profession.
I write this as a founding member of the American Holistic Veterinary
Medical Association and a practicioner who has over 30 years of experience with practicing alternativer veterinary medicine.
I have dedicated my life to helping animals and people using the many modalities I have spent thousands of hours learning and using in my practice over the past 30 years. As a science based and trained individual I knew that science began with personal observation and study of phenomena and I saw that complementary/alternative and integrative medicine deserved better investigation. It took me many years to learn enough to be able to more completely work in the integrative field but now I am proud to do so and people travel from all over the United States in search of assistance when their pets are in need. One of my favorite jobs is consulting in the alternative medicine folder at the Veterinary Information
access to integrative and complementary/alternative veterinary medical
practices. They tell me this daily. They want a well trained veterinarian to
assist their pets as their first choice, but when none exist they are forced
to look to others outside our profession. Some of these are reputable human
practitioners and many are poorly trained lay people who can and do create
harm from their recommendations.
Veterinarians must gain better access to these complementary and
alternative and integrative tools. AVMA is right to name this as a major goal for
our profession’s expansion. And veterinary professional schools are beginning
to add these departments to their programs. We must work to speed this
process as well and improve the quantity and quality of research and
development of such practices if we are to truly offer compassionate and effective
care for all our patients.
Currently we have difficulty as RACE has altered their original application
of continuing education approval and are denying CAVM training because it
is not taught in veterinary schools are has insufficient science to support
its use. Sadly this is being done by one person who is not sufficiently
trained or certified to evaluate these therapies. If RACE is allowed to
continue these actions it will become increasingly difficult for veterinarians
to obtain adequate training for veterinarians to maintain our position as
leaders in the field of animal health. If AASVB allows RACE to continue their
present suppressive actions, the public will be forced to seek out other
professionals with such experience. I have well trained, highly qualified
experts in the field of CAVM and integrative medicine who are willing to
assist you in any way possible to address this situation.
I would like to see the wording in #6 changed to address this situation.
The objective should state:
#6 — Develop and advocate a national agenda for veterinary medical
that includes education in integrative and complementary/alternative
It is important that such language not be edited or changed to include
any disclaimer stating evidence based or science based as this would
eliminate many practices for which evidence is being developed. And this could be
used to exclude complementary medicine as a matter of definition.
Thank you so much for your attention to this vital area. I am proud to be
part of this organization and work continuously to engage others to join in
the good works done by AVMA.
Stephen R. Blake, DVM