Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQ

Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQ

ACVIM Coronavirus Preparedness

 
We want to assure you the ACVIM is actively monitoring the latest information on the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak, including reports and travel advisories from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other global public health authorities.

ACVIM Statements

ACVIM Update May 22, 2020

Upcoming ACVIM ACE Course Updates

The ACVIM continues to monitor the impact of COVID-19. Given the ongoing uncertainty, we have made the difficult decision to cancel all upcoming, in-person Advanced Continuing Education (ACE) courses for the remainder of 2020. 

Our top priority continues to be the health and safety of our community and to continue bringing you high-quality education designed for specialists. The ACE committee has been working with course leaders to examine which courses we can effectively deliver in a remote environment and which courses will be postponed to 2021. 

We are currently working on all the requirements to postpone courses and create online learning opportunities. Please view the changes to our 2020 ACE offerings below and know that the ACVIM is dedicated to being the go-to organization for your CE needs, now and as we navigate the future.

Online and Virtual Offerings

ACVIM Brain Camp Online: Will consist of 3 courses diving into Diagnostic Imaging Electrodiagnostics and Neuropathology. each estimated at 6 hours plus a live Q&A opportunity

Bridging the Divide - Enhanced Communications for Specialists: Online Modules will be developed to support communication skills needs at a specialist level.

Virtual Course - SAIM Endocrinology: Will be developed into a virtual offering available in the fall.

Courses Postponed to 2021:
*ACVIM North American Neuroscience Course (Brain Camp)
Advanced Techniques in Neurosurgery
LAIM Candidate Boot Camp
*Bridging the Divide: Enhanced Communications for Specialists
Endoscopy Resident Boot Camp
Advanced Equine Cardiology: Delving into the Heart of the Matter
*courses will have an online component developed in 2020.

The Next Steps 

Information will be updated and shared on a continual basis as we have more details on what is to come. We know many people were anticipating course registrations opening and looking at travel logistics. We are sharing our decision now, hoping to avoid unnecessary time spent on hotel and flight plans. All registration fees will have the option to be refunded or transferred to the online offering and registrants will receive a separate communication with next steps. Please visit us online and check back often to access the most up-to-date information. 

We hear from our members that they support prioritization of public and individual health considerations.  We appreciate that support, as this was a difficult decision for the committees and staff to make. Please do not hesitate to reach out to learning@ACVIM.org with questions you may have not addressed in the information on webpages provided above.

ACVIM Update April 10, 2020

What is happening? After much discussion, the ACVIM is formally announcing the cancellation of the 2020 ACVIM Forum scheduled for June 10-13, 2020 in Baltimore, Maryland.  We regret any inconvenience and uncertainty the delay in official cancellation may have caused. We thank you for your understanding and continued support through these challenging times. As a resource, our Coronavirus FAQ page includes all of the information below in greater detail and answers more questions you might have.

Why did it take so long to cancel?
The ACVIM has been in negotiations with the City of Baltimore, the Baltimore Convention Center and our headquarters hotel for the past month. All parties have been closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19.  The rapidly changing situation has meant the city and hospitality community have had to make day-to-day adjustments, knowing that circumstances continued to evolve. We are relieved to report that our arduous negotiations are complete and have minimized the financial impact on our organization.  

Will any content from the ACVIM Forum be available virtually? Yes, we will be delivering selected content virtually and are currently working diligently to finalize the platform suitable for our content needs. With the breadth of what is offered at the ACVIM Forum and the time we have to work with, we will be offering a limited selection of content. Our plan is to focus efforts on delivering RACE-approved CE sessions featuring new research or time-sensitive updates and additional sessions from the specialty program and technician tracks. In addition, the interactive Solutions Center floor plan will be available for attendees to check out the latest industry products and services. All speakers and abstract presenters have received initial information regarding next steps. We don’t yet know the exact number of sessions that will be available and pricing information will be shared as soon as this information is determined.  

What about my registration fees and hotel reservations? The ACVIM wants to make this as easy as possible, offering options when it comes to your registration fees. We hope you will join us and choose to participate in our virtual offerings for a reduced registration fee, however you may elect to have your registration fees refunded in full. Additional information will follow in the next few weeks allowing you to select your preferred option. No action is currently necessary as we are updating our registration system to handle these new options. 

For hotel reservations made through our official ACVIM housing provider, Experient, Inc., reservations will be automatically cancelled, with no further action required. If you have booked outside of the official ACVIM housing provider, you will be responsible for cancelling your reservations. 

Special thanks! The ACVIM sincerely thanks all parties that dedicated their time to the 2020 ACVIM Forum development, including the Forum Program Chairs, all Subcommittees, Associated Specialty Veterinary Groups, Special Interest Groups, exhibitors, sponsors, presenters, attendees and other contributors who support this conference. The team dedicated to delivering a successful event will continue to work to create a strong virtual offering to ensure high quality continuing education is available. 

We wish you good health during these challenging times and look forward to seeing you in person next year at the 2021 ACVIM Forum scheduled to take place on June 9-12, 2021 in Louisville, Kentucky.  

For immediate and urgent questions not addressed in our Coronavirus FAQ page on ACVIM.org, please reach out to forum@ACVIM.org.  As always, we appreciate your patience as we’re responding to queries as quickly as we can and still working to finalize all information with this change.  

Stay safe and healthy.
Linda Fineman, DVM, DACVIM (Oncology)
Chief Executive Officer, ACVIM

 

ACVIM Update March 26, 2020

Message from Dr. Laura Garrett, President of the ACVIM Board of Regents:

What is happening? The ACVIM Board of Regents and staff have made the difficult decision to cancel all ACVIM examinations for June 2020.

Why did we make this decision? Each day the global situation with the COVID-19 pandemic becomes more serious and the ability for anyone to predict what resources will be available in June diminishes dramatically. Without knowing if we'll have the proctors available or the places to administer exams at the times needed, it is not only too risky to ask candidates to spend months studying, only to have the exam cancelled at the last minute, it is also profoundly unfair to those candidates. From the questions and comments we've been hearing from multiple sources across the US and the world, the uncertainty is causing significant distress for candidates, for mentors, and for program directors alike. We recognize that while different geographic locations are experiencing the impact of the pandemic variably, we know that things are changing rapidly everywhere. We have been closely monitoring the situation, reassessing constantly in hopes that there might be improvement in the projections. Since the situation has instead grown more dire, we find a need for even greater caution and risk mitigation. There are very real concerns about candidates or proctors becoming ill, or at minimum, being at the mercy of travel restrictions that are not uniform nor predictable. Additionally, there is a growing potential that veterinarians may be asked to play a role in supporting efforts to care for humans impacted by the coronavirus. It is difficult to anticipate the ways we may be called upon to help as a profession, nor how such a new role would impact candidates, mentors, and program directors. We all believe that human healthcare must take top priority at this time, this decision also reflects that value.

What does this mean for candidates? We plan to offer the General, Cardiology, Neurology, Oncology, and SAIM Specialty examinations in June 2021. The LAIM Specialty exam will go forward as scheduled in January 2021. Those scheduled to sit for the general examination this year will have the option of taking both the general and specialty exam next year or staggering the two exams. We recognize the impact of trying to sit two exams simultaneously is especially hard for everyone taking exams at Forum as it means preparing for two dissimilar exams. Additionally, we recognize that LAIM candidates scheduled for the General Examination this year will now be taking the Specialty Exam prior to their taking the General Exam.

Candidates completing their residency programs in 2020 will be able to practice as residency-trained veterinarians until they achieve board certification. We understand that some job seekers might be impacted as they compete with applicants that have already achieved board certification and that as a result, their negotiations may be more challenging. It is our hope that most employers would approach discussions with a willingness to accommodate applicant's unique circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While we've come from a time where specialists have been in high demand, allowing them to choose from many opportunities, we also understand the feeling of economic uncertainty makes it hard to predict how the job market might change.

We have heard from many of you with questions about how to successfully meet residency training requirements in this new environment. A working group has been formed to address those questions and more information will be following as soon as it is available. Our goal is to do everything possible to set candidates up for success as we all navigate our way through an unprecedented and rapidly changing situation.

How can candidates be sure we won't run into a similar situation in 2021? While no one is certain of what will be happening with coronavirus next year, we can plan proactively, starting now, to have virtual test-taking capabilities, including virtual proctors, in place for future examinations. Although this technology is relatively new in the veterinary profession, it has been well-received by other groups which have used it. We estimate that it will take a minimum of 6-9 months to set up virtual test-taking, therefore work will start quickly so that we can try to be ready for 2021, regardless of how long it takes to resolve the current pandemic.

What action is needed now? We are actively working through some of the logistical details, so no action is needed by candidates right now. Keep an eye on the FAQ section of the ACVIM website https://www.acvim.org/COVID-19 and your ACVIM360 community for updates. We will be in touch with each candidate to go over options for handling examination fees already paid.

What's the take home?
The staff and Board of Regents, Program Directors and ACVIM membership all feel a strong sense of responsibility for helping the next generation of specialists. This decision was one of the most profoundly difficult decisions made in the history of the ACVIM. All involved found it to be gut-wrenching, as it is one we can all empathize with having gone through the experience of studying for and taking the exams ourselves. Having explored all reasonable possibilities and concluded that it is the wisest and most appropriate one does not alleviate the disappointment we all feel on behalf of our candidates. We know that this will be keenly felt by all, none more than by the candidates who've worked so hard to get to this point. Please know that this decision was treated with the gravity and deliberation it deserves, and that we are all truly saddened to have to cancel the exams this year. It may be of some small consolation to realize that other veterinary specialty colleges are also facing these same challenges, having to cancel examinations and to find ways to facilitate residency training during a pandemic. We are not alone in facing this challenge.

Who can I speak with about questions? Please reach out to Certification@acvim.org with urgent questions only. As you might imagine, everyone is working very hard to navigate the evolving situation. Responses to emails may be delayed for that reason.

ACVIM Update March 20, 2020

We’d like to update you on the status of the ACVIM Forum and examinations for candidates scheduled in Baltimore, Maryland this June. As the situation with the pandemic continues to evolve rapidly, we’ve had to make difficult decisions and do some creative planning to minimize impact to as many people as possible.  

What is happening?  We are actively exploring the process of cancelling the ACVIM Forum for this year.  Although we have not made a final decision, all signs indicate that will be the decision made.  We are planning to go ahead with the candidate examinations, however, will not be holding them in Baltimore.

How did we arrive at these decisions?  The staff and Board of Regents have carefully considered ramifications to all parties associated with the ACVIM Forum and examination process. We feel strongly that we have an ethical obligation as a group of highly trained veterinary medical scientists to do our part to minimize disease transmission and ensure the safety and well-being of those who participate in these events. We reviewed recommendations by expert physicians and scientists in infectious disease and epidemiology, as well as evolving recommendations from government and health leaders. 

How will this impact me or my group?  The list of groups of people that would be affected by this decision is long. We have not worked through all the details yet. More information will follow as it becomes available.

Candidates are already experiencing significant stress with the uncertainty of whether the examination will be able to take place and all the associated logistics and potential barriers to getting there. We envision administering examinations at the local level to avoid travel wherever possible. There are many details to follow about how that will be implemented, and we will provide more information as quickly as we can. Because of the uncertainty about the next few months, we realize that well-intended plans may have to be altered to incorporate the restrictions that are in place in June. We will continue to provide updates as quickly as decisions are made and want all candidates to be aware that they are our highest priority. In addition, many candidates present abstracts or posters at the ACVIM Forum. We intend  to move posters and abstracts to a virtual format, making them widely available in the event of cancellation.

• Once final, attendees would be severely affected by this decision, as the ACVIM Forum is our major annual continuing education events and the place we go to connect with our colleagues and friends. While we will be working on an approach to virtual content in some areas, we know we would not be able to replace the entire roster of sessions offered. There would be simply no way to pull that all together in the relatively short amount of time we have. 

Residency Program Directors will be called upon to help with logistics around examination administration or other aspects of residency requirements. Working groups are forming now, including a Credentials Working Group, who will work with Program Directors to address some of the anticipated issues, such as residency training requirements that may be difficult to meet on schedule.

•  Award and certificate presentations would need to be adjusted. We will be able to mail certificates to new Diplomates if needed. When the details for determining who would like certificates mailed and how we will honor other award recipients are known, we’ll share them with everyone, knowing that we all find meaning in seeing the hard work of these individuals honored. 

•  Working with our Specialty Subcommittees and Affiliated Specialty Veterinary Groups, selected content will be considered for virtual delivery, knowing that travel bans are unlikely to be lifted completely, focusing on sessions where we want to prioritize sharing of critical new information. Speakers in those areas will be asked to deliver their content virtually. We will be in contact with every speaker with additional information as the situation unfolds

What do I need to do next? There are many things we need to work through, so for now, you do not need to take any action.  In the event the ACVIM Forum is officially cancelled, you would need to cancel your travel arrangements. In that event, all hotel reservations made through the official Experient Housing Site will be cancelled on your behalf. No further action would be needed. However, if a reservation was made directly through the hotel or another source you would need to cancel your own reservation. The ACVIM is unable to cancel any individual travel plans or hotel reservations made outside of our official housing provider. More information will follow soon about registration fees, virtual attendance options, exam logistics, etc. We sincerely appreciate your understanding and your patience as we work through the substantial logistics associated with this situation. 


For immediate and urgent questions only, please reach out to forum@ACVIM.org or certification@ACVIM.org.  As always, we appreciate your patience as we’re responded to queries as quickly as we can.  

Stay safe and healthy, 

Linda Fineman, DVM, DACVIM (Oncology)
Chief Executive Officer, ACVIM

ACVIM Position Statement March 18, 2020

As veterinary medical specialists, our organization and its members recognize that we have a societal obligation to lead through practicing behaviors that limit or slow the spread of COVID-19, and that contribute to the protection of human and animal health and welfare through collaboration with human health care professionals and governmental agencies.  We recommend members find ways to minimize exposure of their colleagues, staff, and clients in clinical settings and to conserve resources that may be needed by healthcare providers treating people suffering from COVID-19. We endorse the AVMA’s recommendations addressing ways for veterinary practitioners to adjust their workflows.  We strongly urge members to stay home while sick and recommend practicing social distancing and/or self-quarantine when appropriate as recommended by the CDC and WHO.  Please use the following links for up to date information:

ACVIM website FAQ https://www.acvim.org/COVID-19
AVMA website https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/animal-health-and-welfare/covid-19
CDC website https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
WHO website https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019 
• Johns Hopkins website https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6


ACVIM Update March 14, 2020

Dear ACVIM Diplomate,

I'm writing today to update you on the status of the upcoming ACVIM Forum and examinations for candidates in Baltimore, Maryland this June. Many of you have reached out with questions and suggestions about what action should be taken. I want to reassure you that tremendous time and thought is going in to how best to react to the unprecedented situation we are in as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

What is happening? The ACVIM staff and Board of Regents have discussed pros and cons of delaying, cancelling or holding the conference and examinations as planned. The conversations have looked at the perspectives of all parties affected, including ACVIM members, candidates, speakers, allied groups that hold meetings at the ACVIM Forum, sponsors, exhibitors, award recipients, international attendees, residents delivering presentations and staff. Additionally, because the situation is changing rapidly and is complex, it is difficult to project what the coming days, weeks or months will look like.

Why are we considering how to proceed?
We have two functions to consider: the educational component and the examination component. In addition, we need to consider our societal obligations. The ACVIM is a medical group, and as such should be taking a leadership position in limiting disease spread. We are choosing to look at the situation first through the lens of social ethics. Knowing that social distancing is the primary recommendation for slowing the rate of disease spread and thus limiting the risk of overwhelming medical capacity, we must consider following the recommendations to avoid group settings. While there are many details that must be dealt with as we consider the impact to the various groups described above, we believe it is our obligation to prioritize social responsibility and our commitment to ensure individual's health and safety. At this time, no final decision has been reached.

What about the educational component? Many organizations are delivering continuing education through virtual events, online presentations and other means. We are exploring ways those options might apply to the mission of the ACVIM Forum. 

What about the examinations? We have heard from many members and candidates that ensuring the examinations take place is the top priority. As an ACVIM Diplomate myself, I remember well what it feels like to prepare for the exams and am personally committed to the goal of administering the examination in some capacity, with a variety of approaches under consideration. All parties involved see this as the highest priority. Many different scenarios are actively being explored with this goal in mind. Communication is going out now directly to the candidates so that they know we are actively working on contingency plans around exams.

When will more information become available?
We are actively monitoring the spread of disease and recommendations of epidemiologists and other medical experts. We will share decisions and plans with you as soon as decisions are made and are committed to do so promptly.

What should I do right now?
Please hold off on buying plane tickets and making other travel arrangements if you have not already done so. Airfares are dropping as people avoid traveling, so there is little downside to waiting to make reservations. More information will be shared about next steps as it becomes available.

Who can I reach out to with questions?
We ask you to try to wait for the next communication to come out if possible. We know many of you have a lot of questions and concerns about the uncertainty of the situation and are committed to sharing detailed information as soon as it becomes available. In addition, the FAQ section of our website will be updated frequently. The link is ACVIM.org/covid-19. If you have a question that cannot wait, please email me directly at linda@ACVIM.org. I'll appreciate your patience as I try to field questions as quickly as possible!

------------------------------
Linda Fineman
Chief Executive Officer
American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine

ACVIM Coronavirus Statement March 4, 2020

March 4, 2020

ACVIM Members, 2020 Exam Participants and 2020 ACVIM Forum Attendees,

 
We are looking forward to seeing our global community at the 2020 ACVIM Forum and administration of the examinations in Baltimore, Maryland, this June (still 14 weeks away). We want to assure you the ACVIM is actively monitoring the latest information on the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak, including reports and travel advisories from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other global public health authorities.

At this time, we are planning for a successful conference and currently have no plans to postpone or cancel our continuing education events or exams. We recognize that there have been some other groups cancelling their events, especially those with many international attendees. Because this unprecedented situation is changing daily, the ACVIM remains watchful and sensitive to everyone’s concerns. We will be doing everything we can to help those who attend the 2020 ACVIM Forum and exams feel welcome and comfortable, while focusing on delivery of what is an extremely important event for our global veterinary community.

The 2020 ACVIM Forum and exams are primarily taking place at the Baltimore Convention Center and the Hilton Baltimore Inner Harbor. The teams at both locations have issued statements and have confirmed enhanced cleaning and disinfecting procedures, while taking new actions in accordance with recommendations from government agencies and industry leaders for preventative measures in the spreading of this virus. 

While we are not in a position to recommend a specific course of action for travel in June, the health and safety of our participants is our top priority. We recommend monitoring your government’s travel advisories and restrictions to understand any changes that may arise as a result of your country’s response to the Coronavirus outbreak.

In addition to suggesting recommendations like frequent hand washing and other travel advice from the CDC, we are mindful of your care while in Baltimore. The ACVIM is carefully considering and consulting with experts on what the appropriate sanitary, health and other measures should be and can assure our group that all appropriate measures will be in place at the conference.

The Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) is presenting an unprecedented global challenge and we believe it’s important not to overreact but to keep this global health issue in context. Below we’re sharing some of the sources we believe to be the most reliable, independent and credible. 

• U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention travel information and alerts
• World Health Organization advice for the public
• World Health Organization planning recommendations for mass gatherings
• Johns Hopkins University live tracker

We want your time at the ACVIM 2020 Forum and exam experience to be smooth, comfortable and a positive experience. If you are not able to travel to Baltimore due to travel restrictions by your organization, home country or discomfort, please reach out to the ACVIM via email to let us know. Questions regarding the 2020 ACVIM Forum should be directed to forum@ACVIM.org and all exam questions should be directed to certification@ACVIM.org

We will continue to monitor the latest information available from global public health authorities and will provide updates when possible through the conference’s Frequently Asked Questions section.

Thank you,


Linda Fineman, DVM, DACVIM (Oncology)
Chief Executive Officer, ACVIM 

Advanced Continuing Education (ACE) FAQs

What is the latest information regarding the fall 2020 ACE courses?

The ACVIM continues to monitor the impact of COVID-19. Given the ongoing uncertainty we have made the difficult decision to cancel all upcoming, in-person Advanced Continuing Education (ACE) courses for the remainder of 2020. 

Our top priority continues to be the health and safety of our community and to continue bringing you high-quality education designed for specialists. The ACE committee has been working with course leaders to examine which courses we can effectively deliver in a remote environment and which courses will be postponed to 2021. 

Please click here to view the most up-to-date information regarding our ACE course offerings. More information on individual course changes will be provided soon.

 

Will any ACE course content be made available virtually?

Yes, the ACVIM is committed to creating online learning opportunities. At the present time, courses that will offer online content include:

ACVIM Brain Camp Online
Bridging the Divide: Advanced Communications for Specialists
Virtual Course: SAIM Endocrinology

Please click here to view the most up-to-date information regarding our ACE course offerings.

What courses are being postponed to 2021?

ACVIM North American Neuroscience Course (Brain Camp)* 
Advanced Techniques in Neurosurgery 
LAIM Candidate Boot Camp 
Bridging the Divide: Enhanced Communications for Specialists* 
Endoscopy Resident Boot Camp 
Advanced Equine Cardiology: Delving into the Heart of the Matter 

*Courses will have an online component developed in 2020.

If I registered for the ACVIM North American Neuroscience Course (Brain Camp), will my registration fees be refunded?

Yes, you have options to refund or transfer your registration fees. The ACVIM wants to make this as easy as possible, offering options when it comes to your registration fees. We hope you will join us and choose to participate in our virtual program that’s being developed for a reduced registration fee (with a refund of the balance), however you may elect to have your registration fees refunded in full. Additional information will follow in the next few weeks allowing you to select your preferred option. No action is currently necessary as we continue to work through the details of the virtual offering and update our registration system to handle these new options.

Should I cancel my hotel reservation?

Yes. If you booked a hotel room in anticipation of attending a fall ACE course, you must cancel your individual reservation directly with the hotel.  We recommend contacting the hotel as soon as possible to avoid any penalties or cancellation fees. The ACVIM is not responsible for the cancellation of hotel and travel arrangements. 

Will the ACVIM reimburse for flights or other travel costs?

The ACVIM is unable to provide refunds for any individual travel costs. If you purchased travel insurance, please contact your provider for information and next steps. Most airlines are showing greater flexibility in allowing future use of tickets and/or extending refunds for changes due to the pandemic. Please contact your airlines as soon as possible to inquire about refunds and cancellation policies. We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause you.

I am a 2020 ACE course sponsor, now what?

The ACVIM sponsorship team has already been in initial contact with sponsors and will continue to discuss sponsorship options with each company. Please contact Leah Gayheart (leah@ACVIM.org) with any questions regarding sponsorships with the ACVIM.

What if I have more questions?

For immediate and urgent questions not addressed in the FAQs, please email learning@ACVIM.org. We will get back to you as soon as possible. We appreciate your patience, as we will respond as quickly as we can.

ACVIM Forum FAQs

Is the 2020 ACVIM Forum Cancelled?

Given the continued spread of COVID-19, the newest guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control, as well as executive orders issued by the City of Baltimore and the State of Maryland, the ACVIM is officially cancelling the 2020 ACVIM Forum, June 10-13, 2020.

Will my registration fees be refunded?

The ACVIM wants to make this as easy as possible, offering options when it comes to your registration fees. We hope you will join us and choose to participate in our virtual offerings for a reduced registration fee, however you may elect to have your registration fees refunded in full. Additional information will follow in the next few weeks allowing you to select your preferred option. No action is currently necessary as we are updating our registration system to handle these new options. 

Should I cancel my hotel reservations?

All hotel reservations made through our official housing provider, Experient, Inc., will be cancelled automatically. Credit cards used to hold rooms in the ACVIM block have not been charged and credit card information will be discarded properly. No further action is required on your part.

If your reservation was made outside of the ACVIM room block via a travel site or at another hotel, you must cancel your individual reservation directly with the hotel or the specific booking site.

Will ACVIM reimburse for flights or other travel costs?

The ACVIM is unable to provide refunds for any individual travel costs. If you purchased travel insurance, please contact your provider for information and next steps. Most airlines are showing greater flexibility in allowing future use of tickets and/or extending refunds for changes due to the pandemic. Please contact your airlines as soon as possible to inquire about refunds and cancellation policies. We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause you.

Will any content be made available virtually?

Yes, the ACVIM is committed to delivering select content from the 2020 ACVIM Forum virtually. With the breadth of what is offered at the ACVIM Forum and the time we have to work with, we will be offering a limited selection of content. Our plan is to focus efforts on delivering RACE-approved CE sessions featuring new research or time-sensitive updates and additional sessions from the specialty program and technician tracks. In addition, the interactive Solutions Center floor plan will be available for attendees to check out the latest industry products and services. All speakers and abstract presenters have received initial information regarding next steps.

How will I access the virtual content?

We are working diligently to quickly finalize the platform suitable to deliver our content needs. Detailed information to access the site will be shared as we get closer to the event. We plan to have content available On Demand in June and accessible for at least 6 months. 

What will it cost to access the virtual content?

There will be a cost to access the virtual offerings at a reduced rate. We are working with Forum Subcommittees and ASVG groups, in addition to speakers to identify the content that will be made available virtually. Once the exact number of sessions we are able to offer is finalized, pricing will be confirmed and communicated.  

What will happen to Board of Regents and ACVIM Committee meetings?

We plan to hold all BOR and Committee meetings virtually and will work with each group that holds an in-person meeting at the ACVIM Forum to identify the best method and schedule to host these meetings.

I am a new ACVIM Diplomate and I was supposed to receive my specialty certificate in Baltimore.

Congratulations on your accomplishment and we are disappointed not to share in this achievement in person. We have two options for receiving your specialty certificate. The class of 2020 new Diplomates will be recognized during their specialty luncheons at the 2021 ACVIM Forum and you can choose to receive your certificate during that time, or specialty certificates may be mailed directly to you. An ACVIM staff liaison will reach out to all new ACVIM Diplomates in May to determine if you would like your certificate mailed this year. Please reach out to membership@ACVIM.org if you have any additional questions.  

What about award recipients?

The 2020 Lee & Inge Pyle Distinguished Service award recipient and Robert W. Kirk award recipient have been selected and notified. We are actively working to find alternative means to present their awards, as well as recognize them college-wide. More information will be posted on ACVIM360 and in these FAQs, as soon as it is available. It is our hope that you will join with us to honor our distinguished recipients later in 2020. Both will also be recognized again during the Awards Luncheon at the 2021 ACVIM Forum.

I participate in an affiliated group that meets at the ACVIM Forum

All groups that meet at the ACVIM Forum have received our official cancellation notice and will reach out to their participants directly.  

I am a 2020 ACVIM Forum sponsor, now what?

The ACVIM exhibits and sponsorship team has already been in initial contact with sponsors and will continue to discuss sponsorship options with each company.

Will exhibitors be refunded for booth space?

Yes, the ACVIM will cancel your booth registration and refund your booth payment within 4-5 weeks. 

I already shipped my exhibit booth freight to Baltimore for the June show. What now?

Freeman is the general service contractor and they will reach out directly to any companies that have shipped freight or ordered services. 

I am an exhibiting company and I pre-ordered services, what now?

All ACVIM official service providers will automatically cancel all services and provide refunds within 2-4 weeks. 
 • Freeman - Booth services, furnishings
 • Cogent Global Solutions, Inc. - AV provider
 • EDLEN - Convention center electrical provider
 • M.C. Dean - Convention center internet and phone services
 •Centerplate - Convention center catering


When can I select my booth space for 2021?

The 2021 floor plan will be available in June, 2020. Separate communications will be sent out to each exhibitor. The space selection schedule will be sent to exhibitors using the ACVIM Partner Priority Point system.

What if I have more questions?

For immediate and urgent questions not addressed in the FAQs, please reach out to forum@ACVIM.org. We will get back to you as soon as possible. We appreciate your patience as we will respond as quickly as we can

Certification Exams

Why didn't candidates, members, program directors and residents advisors have a voice in the decision?

The voting members of the Board of Regents consists of elected representatives of the membership that are charged with making decisions in the best interests of their constituencies.  All voting members are Board-certified Diplomates and as such are aware of the ramifications of a decision of this magnitude.  In addition, all of them have trained or are currently training residents, making them strong, passionate advocates for prioritizing the needs of the next generation of specialists.  When making decisions of this magnitude, a vote of the membership is often called.  Our policies require a one-month period of discussion followed by the same length of time to vote.  Given the early June timeframe scheduled for administration of the exams, two months for a vote is not feasible, as the vote would end essentially one week before the examination.  This uncertainty would not be fair to candidates who would be actively studying during that time. In this case, even if we had called a vote, the logistical challenges of being able to execute on a different decision would not have changed the outcome.

Why not allow a candidate to take the exam if they choose to take the risk of becoming infected with coronavirus?

While we appreciate how important taking the examinations are to every candidate, we cannot ask others to put themselves at risk to administer the exam to them.  Some of the same logistical concerns identified in the model of locally proctored small groups apply to individual test-takers as well.  

Why not wait another few weeks before making the decision to cancel the exams?

Many candidates have already begun to study for exams.  Asking them to continue to do so on the hope that we might be able to deliver an examination to them is simply not realistic nor is it fair.  Projections for coronavirus peaks in many parts of the country coincide with the previously scheduled June test date.  In addition, lifting of both travel restrictions and social distancing recommendations typically lag several weeks behind the peak period of reported new infections.  Since we know we will be unable to ensure safety as early as June, the responsible decision is to cancel the planned administration in June, allowing staff to begin working on next steps.

What options were considered before choosing to cancel the exams?

The certification team pulled together five options for exam administration as it became clear the pandemic was going to be an issue in June.  With the top priority being to move forward with the exam without risking the health of those involved, the option we initially chose was to administer the exam locally, using local volunteer proctors and thus avoiding travel.   See further discussion of this option below in the answer to the question Why not proceed with local proctors and small groups sitting for exams? Other options included regional administration (rejected because of the travel restrictions), postponing the exam for an unspecified time,  to be rescheduled once travel restrictions were lifted (rejected because of the marked uncertainty for candidates and the long lead times needed to reschedule, which would create ongoing logistical challenges including arranging study time for candidates), and moving forward as originally scheduled in June 2020 as planned (rejected due to high probability of a last-minute cancellation due to travel restrictions and lack of examination sites in Baltimore).  The last option, as it was the most severe, was to cancel the exam.  We ultimately chose this option because of the ongoing uncertainty about when travel might be feasible and knowing that it made more sense to move quickly to identify and implement a remote virtual platform so that neither travel nor on-site proctors would be required.  

Why not proceed with local proctors and small groups sitting for exams

This was the proposed method we had been working toward until March 23rd.  At that time, it became clear that there were very real barriers to this option that were growing more daunting by the day.  Given the substantial and ongoing uncertainty about any volunteer proctor’s ability to be present on the days of the exams, we would need to recruit a roughly 3:1 proctor to test location ratio, and this would be assuming that locations would allow more than one examinee in a room with appropriate social distancing.  Even then, if an area is hard hit by COVID-19 at the time of the exams, it is likely that candidates in that location would not be able to move forward with the examination due to local shelter in place orders.  Although unpredictable, ongoing governmental regulations restricting social interactions seem likely to increase in geographic scope and over time.  

Space to deliver the exam in is another big concern: most universities are closed to any group gatherings, as are all public facilities like libraries and testing centers.  We considered the extreme option of having exams be administered at candidate’s homes, yet even that doesn’t address the unknown about proctor availability and the potential risk for disease transmission.  Given that we have over 400 exams to be administered this year the likelihood of finding proctors that we can guarantee will be available to cover that many locations on the exam dates and finding viable locations for testing is unrealistic.


Why not postpone the exams instead of cancelling them?

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic is expanding daily, making it impossible to predict what resources will be available at any given time.  While we hope that there will be much greater clarity about this in a few months, we simply cannot know what we will be facing over the next 3, 6 or even 12 months.  Rather than indefinitely postpone the exams to some unspecified future date, we felt it important to have a firm commitment in place for a timeline that seems realistic, rather than leaving it open-ended, further adding to the uncertainty candidates are already experiencing.  This also allows both candidates and programs to plan more confidently.

Why not offer the general and specialty exams remotely using an online platform the way some universities are doing with their student exams?

The examinations administered by the ACVIM are high-stake exams.  This means exam security and delivery must be rigorous, given the magnitude of the accomplishment and change in status that results from passing the exam.  It requires both a secure platform and active proctoring, since it is not an open-book exam.  

What if we moved to testing centers, like the Large Animal Internal Medicine Specialty Examination uses?

Local testing centers are currently closed in most locations and when open, are limited in the number of examinees that may be tested on a given day.  There are also substantial logistical concerns about moving all exams to local testing centers.  We’ve learned that testing centers vary greatly in the quality and consistency of facilities and proctors.  It has been challenging to ensure a smooth experience for the roughly 40 Large Animal Internal Medicine Specialty Exam takers.  Finding high quality locations for the 211 General Examination candidates and 208 Specialty Examination candidates would be nearly impossible, and thus might exclude some candidates from having the opportunity to take the exams.  We believe all candidates should be treated fairly and have the same opportunity to take the examination at an adequate testing location.

Why not at least move forward with the General Exam, which is already computerized?

The General Exam is currently delivered electronically but still requires local proctors as the virtual proctor functionality of our vendor has not yet been vetted nor implemented.  Availability of local proctors cannot be relied upon in the rapidly changing environment we currently face.  

Can we set a date in late winter or early spring for the General Exam, even if we might need to move it at the last minute?

While the General Examination is already computerized, it is not set up for virtual proctoring.  We do not know how long it will take to make that transition and test it once it is set up, making it very difficult to select a specific time to guarantee a completely virtual examination process.  It would be unfair to ask candidates to take time out of their programs or time off work to study, only to have to postpone them again. Please also see the response to: Why not commit to an earlier time frame for the exams rather than waiting a full year?  

Why not move the Specialty Exams to a digital platform like the General Exam is on?

While we are moving toward having all specialty exams delivered and proctored virtually, right now our Specialty Exams are not yet digitized.  This means that we have substantial work that must be done on 4 separate Specialty Exams to get the content adapted to digital delivery. A key limitation is that vendors are overwhelmed by the demand from other groups trying to do the same thing we are thus we expect a wait time to be able to move forward.  This will be the case with any vendor we select, even if it is the vendor currently under contract for the General Exam.  

Why not commit to an earlier time frame for the exams to be administered with a virtual platform rather than waiting a full year?

There are many reasons we think a year was an appropriate timeline. We must research and choose a virtual delivery partner experienced in administering multiple high-stakes examinations simultaneously.  We are already in discussion with virtual platform vendors but because of the massive and unexpected demand for virtual examination services, all providers are being overwhelmed with urgent requests for help.  Until we can find a vendor that can meet our needs, we will not know how long the waiting period will be but do know that we won’t be able to move forward with implementation right away.  

While we are moving toward having all Specialty Exams delivered and proctored virtually, and currently the General Exam is administered using a computer-based platform that has virtual proctoring capabilities available, we have not yet vetted it for that functionality.  The Specialty Examinations first need to be moved to a digitalized version as described in the question below about logistical barriers to a quick move before any additional steps can be taken to have virtual proctors for the Specialty Examinations.  Transitioning to virtual proctors will require careful assessment of the functionality to ensure the quality of administration required for these high-stakes exams.

Another significant challenge to setting an earlier date for exams is that we must provide ample notice of upcoming exams.  Although we need to provide four months’ advance notice prior to an exam as mandated by the ABVS, we also need to allow up to several more months for residents or practicing candidates to rearrange their schedule to allow them to have adequate time to study.  This means if we want to aim for a December examination, we’d need to be converted to a new platform, then have that platform beta tested and adjusted to ensure it is functioning optimally within the next month, beginning today.  Given the minimum timeline of six to nine months to set up the exam after we’ve selected the provider and moved to the top of the queue to begin work, the feasibility of moving the examination up becomes quite low.  



What are some of the other logistical barriers to switching to a virtual platform for exam administration quickly?

Transitioning six separate examinations to a new electronic platform is a huge undertaking.  For each of the specialty exams, we would need to move the entire examination to a digital format.  In addition, some of them require access to large digital image files, which will necessitate specific and unique requirements of the platform, limiting potential vendors.  We will also need significant time from volunteer subject matter experts to assist with the transition.  While there is no doubt that our membership is eager to volunteer to help, what is unknown and continually changing is their availability.  Diplomates at some universities and private practices are now experiencing extreme demands on their time.  Some of them have even written to us expressing concern about their resident’s ability to take time off to study now, given how dire the clinical needs in their locations are, much less for those Diplomates to be able to volunteer to help with exam preparation or administration.  While this is not the case at every, or even most, locations right now, as COVID-19 spreads more institutions will be impacted.

Why not use ACVIM or specialty-specific funds to move the exams forward quickly?

The decision to cancel this year’s examinations was not a financial decision. The ACVIM places highest priority on ensuring qualified candidates become board-certified, and if the logistical considerations were likely to be quickly solved, the ACVIM Board of Regents would readily support allocating any funds needed to allow us to move forward.  

What will happen to my exam fees?

Registrants will have the option to carrying fees over to 2021 or to receive a refund.  There will be no increase in exam fees in 2021.  The certification team will reach out to individual registrants soon to ask for their preference.

Will candidates need to resubmit credentials and pay the fee again?

Payment of fees is required only once, provided the candidate’s credentials were approved or conditionally approved. Those candidates who are conditionally approved are required to submit documentation of any deficiencies identified on the original submission. If the candidate’s credentials are rejected, a second submission and fee is required.  

Can candidates choose whether to stagger exams or to take the general and specialty exam simultaneously? May candidates choose the order of the exams?

A candidate may take both exams in 2021, or take either exam in 2021, and then take the other one the following year, 2022.

How can candidates feel confident we won’t end up cancelling exams again next year?

Our plan is to move forward with a computer-based testing via a virtual examination administration platform with intent to have it in place by June 2021, with a back-up plan of administering the exams as we currently do in person at the ACVIM Forum in Louisville, Kentucky.  With a virtual platform, candidates will be able to take their exams without traveling or relying on available facilities or proctors to administer them.

Does this change the reading lists of published literature, as detailed in the Candidate Preparation Information documents, to be used to prepare for the exam?

No. The Board of Regents authorized the use of examinations and literature created for the 2020 Forum examinations as the examinations and literature to be used in the 2021 administration. As such, the required reading list(s) and literature will remain unchanged. Papers and literature relevant to the 2021 exam are through December 2019.
 (The LAIM Specialty Examinations are exempted from this action, as they were not scheduled to be administered at the 2020 Forum). 

 

What can candidates rely upon?

The decision to cancel the 2020 examinations does not preclude staff from continuing to explore and implement new solutions that will allow us to provide a virtual platform that will remove the barriers we currently have to exam delivery.  Our intent is to provide a virtual platform, with all content delivered by computer and proctoring taking place remotely.  We are committed to beginning the transition process as soon as possible, ensuring candidates will be able to take examinations in 2021.  

Will ACVIM offer a grace period or extend the Maintenance of Credentials (MOC) re-certification period?

The MOC re-certification period will remain 10 years. MOC program participants may request a one-year extension, should they experience a hardship due to COVID-19 that impacts their ability to achieve re-certification. Please click here for additional information about MOC.

What should a prospective employer know about the cancellation of examinations in 2020?

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, on March 26, 2020, the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) cancelled its annual General and Specialty Examinations for 2020. These are the rigorous board exams that all current ACVIM specialist veterinarians -Diplomates in Small Animal Internal Medicine, Large Animal Internal Medicine, Cardiology, Neurology, and Oncology- have passed. The significance of being eligible to take these exams after ACVIM residency training, and the pride that comes with passing them, speaks to their importance for our residents and specialists, for the veterinary profession, and for the public.  The inability of these individuals to take their exams in 2020 if they were fully eligible to take them should not be perceived as a reflection on the motivation or abilities of the candidates. 

Additional Resources

Where can I look for up to date information about telemedicine or state CE requirements that may be adjusted due to the pandemic?

The American Association of Veterinary State Boards is tracking all recent state actions regarding regulatory changes in CE requirements or telemedicine due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Updates are being tracked frequently through a news article: https://www.aavsb.org/news/article/83, providing you with access for changes in guidelines for various states.  

Health Organization Links

 World Health Organization Twitter: @WHO
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Twitter: @CDCgov
 European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control Twitter: @ECDC_EU
 AMA Resource Center for Physicians
 Johns Hopkins University

For any other questions please contact us:  
forum@ACVIM.org or 800.245.9081