CIVME Presents Update at Annual Conference


The AAVMC’s Council for Veterinary Medical Education (CIVME) presented an update regarding their activities during the recent AAVMC annual conference. Entitled “How has veterinary education evolved across the globe: Reports from the CIVME Regions,” the session featured profiles and priorities for academic veterinary medicine in various regions of the world.

CIVME works to advance the quality of international academic veterinary medicine by encouraging communication and collaboration among regions and disseminating information about innovations and best practices.

Two years old, the group has funded two rounds of micro-grants and met several times in person, including meetings in Mexico City and London.

“We have a very dedicated group,” quipped Dr. Emma Read of the University of Calgary, after outlining some of the challenges of arranging Webex meetings among members situated across 11 different time zones. Everyone agreed that learning more about academic veterinary medicine as it exists around the world has been a valuable experience.

Current CIVME points of discussion include accreditation and the establishment of standards, outcomes based education and assessment, and balancing technical and “soft” skills in education, according to Reed, who also said she knows of no other organization besides the AAVMC that is funding the advancement of academic veterinary medicine at the global level.

Panel members acknowledged the wide variety of accreditation standards across the globe, with some regions having established standards, some having evolving standards, and some having no standards at all.

For example, there is no established accreditation system serving veterinary colleges and schools in the Middle East, according to Dr. Ehab Abu-Basha of the Arab Association of the Veterinary Medical Faculties.

The focus of veterinary medicine is different there as well, he said, with the profession more focused on large animal medicine and infectious disease control as opposed to the companion animal care which predominates in the United States and England. They also face financial constraints and pressure from the government to admit more students, he said.

Dr. Francisco José Trigo Tavera of the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico said that 21 of the 52 colleges in Mexico are accredited on the basis of 85 requirements as opposed to the “standards” which characterize the COE.

The group acknowledged the need for increased standards and accreditation systems across the globe, but recognized the daunting nature of the task.

That said, the panel concurred with Dr. Steven May of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons when he said that quality assurance in veterinary education was necessary for “accountability for the central contract we (educators) have with the public” as stewards of the profession.