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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Animal & Veterinary

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FDA Veterinarian Newsletter March/April 2000 Volume XV, No II

by David Grau, D.M.D., M.A., Senior Management Consultant

The Center for Veterinary Medicine is engaged in a continuous performance improvement initiative. Offices and Divisions within CVM are examining the effectiveness and efficiency of their work. They are asking questions such as: Are there services that we are not providing in which we need to be engaged? When we provide a service or product, does it meet the needs of our stakeholders?

Our goal is to have our Divisions function as integrated strategic business units, each aligned with the mission of their respective Office and with the mission of the Center. Divisions meet on a regular basis, typically biweekly or monthly, to discuss complex and important long-term issues. Division members work together to address these issues in an effort to improve the quality and quantity of their work. They also discuss concerns of a more interpersonal nature, for example, improving working relationships and the overall work culture of their organizations and the Center, in general. Examples of areas of concern that specific Divisions have either addressed or are currently discussing include:

Are our strategies appropriate for meeting our short and long-term goals?

  • What demands will be placed upon us over the next 3-5 years and how do we build our internal capacity to meet those future demands?
  • Are we structured in a way that allows the work to flow through our system as efficiently as possible?
  • As we pass work from one organizational unit to another, are we performing our work, e.g., a drug review, in a way that allows the recipient to readily perform the service we are calling upon them to provide?
  • Can we provide more guidance for industry that will support them in submitting drug applications that will allow the Center to do its job more efficiently?
  • How can we make use of technology that provides our stakeholders with timely, high quality information in response to their requests and also allows the Center’s employees to meet their regulatory obligations?

CVM's high performance organization initiative has been a part of the life of the Center for the past 2 years. The initial focus of this change process has been on improving our work culture. While that aspect of the process will continue, we are beginning a more focused examination of our core work and work processes.

A key aspect of our emphasis on high performance is our recognition of the need to engage all CVM employees and stakeholders in this initiative. Ultimately, it is our "customers" and stakeholders that determine whether or not we are a high performance organization, i.e., is CVM doing the right things in the right way? CVM is asking its many stakeholders to help answer that question by providing the Center with their feedback. What do we do well? Where would you like to see our performance improve? What services would you like to see or see more of? What recommendations could you make to help us be more effective and efficient? Our Stakeholder meetings are one aspect of our effort to engage in dialogue with those we serve. This high performance initiative is still evolving, and while it has been mostly internal, in the future there will be aggressive outreach to solicit even more Stakeholder input.

We invite you to share your thoughts in answer to the questions previously stated. You may do so by contacting the FDA Veterinarian. Thank you for your continued support as we endeavor to improve our organization and provide the highest quality service with the current level of resources available.