April 2018

AAVMC Establishes Guidelines for Internships at Academic Institutions

Veterinary internships provide a valuable opportunity for new graduates to gather additional experience and skill in providing clinical care. But concerns have been raised about the wide variety of scope and range of quality among the hundreds of internship programs offered throughout academia and the private sector.

To address that problem, the AAVMC has developed a comprehensive set of guidelines designed to bolster and ensure the academic integrity of internship programs. The guidelines have been endorsed by the American Association of Veterinary Clinicians (AAVC), which operates the Veterinary Internship and Residency Matching Program (VIRMP) in the United States.

The American Veterinary Medical Association had previously published guidelines for veterinary internships in 2011. The AAVMC began with these guidelines and looked to the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) to establish “best practices” for veterinary medical clinical internship programs.

The new AAVMC guidelines affirm a core statement previously made in the AVMA guidelines: “The primary purpose of an internship is to provide an educational program for the intern, rather than a service benefit to the hospital.”

“These guidelines will help to improve the learning experience, advance the quality of clinical internship programs and ultimately train better veterinary practitioners,” said AAVMC Chief Executive Officer Andrew T. Maccabe. “We’re grateful to the working group members for their work, and especially to our colleagues in the AAVC for their contributions and support.”

The AAVMC took steps to examine clinical internships in academic veterinary medicine following the publication of a January 19, 2017 article in Newsweek magazine that portrayed clinical internships in veterinary medicine as a means of providing inexpensive labor for the sponsoring organizations that provide little educational benefit for interns.

The AAVMC’s Internship Guidelines include learning objective language associated with Entrustable Professional Activities (EPA’s), which are incorporated in the AAVMC’s recently introduced Competency-Based Veterinary Education (CBVE) program. They also include recommendations on work hours and climate that are consistent with health and wellness concerns referenced by the ACGME.

The guidelines are written in a manner that makes them equally applicable for internships conducted at academic institutions and in private practice. While the guidelines will be aspirational for some programs, the AAVMC and AAVC are encouraging all programs to conform to the new standards.

The 11-page document describes acceptable standards for program design, clinical experience and responsibilities, training environment and resources, workload and supervision, health and wellness support, work conditions, as well as outcomes and reporting.

The AAVMC working group consisted of leading educators from seven AAVMC members and affiliates and was chaired by Dean Paul Lunn of the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

The working group reviewed internship programs underway at their respective institutions, interviewed interns and faculty supervisors, and analyzed the Internship Guidelines developed and published by the AVMA in 2011.

The working group also made several recommendations for future activities in this area. They suggested 1) considering the creation of an organization like ACGME for veterinary medicine that would focus on post-DVM professional development, 2) a comprehensive survey of current internship program performance to gain a better baseline understanding, and 3) consulting more broadly with corporations and veterinary specialty organizations, which play significant roles in promoting and providing internships.

In addition to Lunn, working group members included Roger Fingland, The Ohio State University; Richard Goldstein, Animal Medical Center, New York City; Ron McLaughlin, Mississippi State University; Laura Nelson, North Carolina State University; Ira Roth, University of Georgia; Corinne Sweeney, University of Pennsylvania and Dana Zimmel, University of Florida.

AVMA, AAVMC Form Veterinary Futures Commission

A Veterinary Futures Commission has been established by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the AAVMC.

Comprised of thought-leaders from academia, industry, professional practice and other officials, the group will evaluate challenges and opportunities in the veterinary profession, identify priorities guided by societal needs, and develop evidence-based recommendations regarding potential courses of action.

“We’re very excited to bring together such a visionary and diverse group of ‘big-picture’ thinkers to participate in these critical discussions,” said Dr. Michael J. Topper, president of the AVMA. “They are just the right folks to participate in the critical strategic discussions we need to be having, asking the right questions, and, when need be, challenging assumptions that might be holding us back.”

The AVMA-AAVMC Veterinary Futures Commission, which arose from discussions at the AVMA/AAVMC Joint Committee, held its first meeting April 8-9 in conjunction with the Innovation Summit at Texas A&M University.

“The purpose of this group is to help shape a better future for the profession of veterinary medicine,” said AAVMC CEO Dr. Andrew T. Maccabe. “I think the diversity of perspective and experience that commission members bring to the table is going to promote some innovative thinking and help generate the kinds of ideas that will create opportunities and foster better decision-making.”

The AVMA/AAVMC Joint Committee is comprised of senior leaders from each organization. The group meets every six months to collaborate on current issues in veterinary medicine.

Members of the Veterinary Futures Commission include:
  • Eleanor Green: Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University College Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (Chair)
  • Warwick Bayly: professor of equine medicine, Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Steve Curvey: chief operating officer, Veterinary Study Groups Inc.
  • Carla Gartrell: associate dean for academic affairs, Midwestern University
  • Christine Jenkins: chief medical officer, vice president of veterinary medical services and outcomes research at Zoetis
  • Jason Johnson: vice president and dean, Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Adam Little: director of veterinary innovation and entrepreneurship, Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
  • Shannon Mesenhowski: program officer, livestock/agriculture development team, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Ken Rotondo: president and founding partner, Mind Genomics Advisors
  • Nancy Turner: independent relief veterinarian, McKinney, Texas
The Veterinary Futures Commission will meet up to three times per year, along with conference calls as needed, to identify and evaluate issues of interest and develop evidence-based recommendations based on its findings for consideration by the AVMA and AAVMC boards of directors.

Strong Response Received for RFP to Establish Institute for Antimicrobial Resistance Research and Education

Nine universities, all home to AAVMC member institutions, have responded to a Request for Proposal (RFP) designed to support the creation of a major University Research Organization (URO) on Antimicrobial Resistance. Establishing a formal research and education center represents the final phase of a four-year collaboration undertaken by the AAVMC and the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) to help address the menacing public health problem of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

As envisioned the institute will serve as a national resource for coordinating and focusing the efforts of various stakeholders, organizations and institutions from academia, government and industry. The URO’s charge will be to develop and advance a national strategy for diminishing the threat posed by AMR.

Proposals have been received from:
  • University of Georgia
  • University of Minnesota
  • University of California – Davis
  • University of Illinois Urbanna-Champaign
  • University of Florida
  • Iowa State University
  • Cornell University
  • North Carolina State University
  • Ohio State University
Several years ago, the APLU and the AAVMC established a joint task force to examine issues relating to antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in agricultural production. The task force was comprised of leadership drawn from the two associations and representatives from the agricultural production and pharmaceutical industries. Working closely with several federal government agencies throughout the process, the task force issued its report and recommendations in October 2015.

Among the recommendations was the establishment of a university research organization to coordinate and implement the report’s recommendations.

Candidate institutions qualifying for the RFP were envisioned to be comprehensive universities with strong programs in the health sciences and agriculture – including colleges of veterinary medicine, agriculture, medicine and public health. Also deemed important was demonstrated emphasis on a One Health focus, senior university administrative support and a willingness to invest in the program.

The host institute was also asked to frame their application in a manner that is consistent with the vision, mission, direction and principles contained in the task force’s official reports and framing concept paper.

A review committee, chaired by former USDA Under Secretary of Agriculture for Research, Education and Economics Dr. Cathie Woteki, has been appointed by the executive committee and charged with the responsibility of reviewing the proposals and making recommendations for the selection process.

Educators Focus on One Health at Global Health Conference

Session participants included (standing, left to right) Zhengxia Dou, University of Pennsylvania; Noelle Noyes, Colorado State University; Olivier Lepage, VetAgro Sup; Guy Palmer, Washington State University; Bonnie Jenkins, University of Pennsylvania; Joan C. Hendricks, University of Pennsylvania; Andrew T. Maccabe, AAVMC; Judith N. Wasserheit, University of Washington; and Emmanuelle Soubeyran, VetAgro Sup. (Seated, left to right) Yalace Yamba KABORET, Professor Inter-State School of Veterinary Sciences and Medicine of Dakar; Woutrina A. Smith, University of California – Davis; and Nancy E. Glass, John Hopkins University.
About 40 people representing public health leaders, veterinarians, government agencies, NGO’s and other groups attended a half-day meeting in New York City on March 15 titled “Outside the Box: Addressing the Sustainable Development Goals Through a One Health Approach.”

Sponsored by the AAVMC, several of its members and other organizations, the meeting focused on how the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) could effectively be addressed through an integrated One Health Approach. The meeting was held in conjunction with the 2018 annual conference of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health.

Session topics included maximizing food and economic security while mitigating environmental harm, translating livestock vaccination into increased educational opportunities for girls, investigating mitigation interventions for antimicrobial resistance, increasing resiliency and recovery from violence, and mitigating the planetary impact of livestock.

Sponsoring organizations included the AAVMC, the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, the University of California – Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, VetAgro Sup, and Washington State University Global Health.

FY 2018 Omnibus Package Contains Good News for Academic Veterinary Medicine

The federal government’s recently passed Omnibus spending bill for FY 2018 contains some good news for academic veterinary medicine. Several programs of interest received funding as part of the legislation.
  • The Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank (FARAD) received $2.5 million in funding, which is the first time the initiative has ever been awarded the full amount approved under the authorizing legislation. FARAD is a multicenter initiative designed to prevent and minimize unsafe chemical residues from drugs, pesticides natural toxins and contaminants in animal-derived human foods. AAVMC member institutions participating in FARAD include the University of California-Davis, University of Florida, North Carolina State University, Kansas State University and the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine.
  • The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) received $400 million in funding, which is a $25 million increase over last year. Authorized in 2008 and re-authorized with the 2014 Farm Bill, AFRI awards research, education and extension grants across a spectrum of areas within agricultural production, food safety and food security.
  • The Veterinary Medical Loan Repayment Program received $8 million in funding, which continues an upward trend. In fiscal year 2016 the program was awarded $5 million, and in 2017, it was awarded $6.5 million. The VMLRP provides up to $25,000 a year to help repay educational loans for veterinarians who agree to serve three years in a National Institute of Food & Agriculture (NIFA) designated shortage area.
  • The Veterinary Services Grant Program, which was zeroed out in the President’s executive budget proposal, was funded at $2.5 million for the third consecutive year.
  • The legislation also includes some good news for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF). The omnibus funding bill created a one-time $350 million fund to help borrowers access loan forgiveness resources if they had mistakenly been making on-time payments under a plan that was not eligible for PSLF. The bill also includes $2.3 million for the Department of Education to conduct outreach programs designed to inform qualified borrowers working in the health professions, education, public safety and other areas about the opportunity.

“This is How We ‘Role’” is On a Roll - Grant Proposals Due April 16

An innovative program designed to interest young children in pursuing veterinary medical careers is growing – and grants are available to help veterinary medical schools implement the program.

The program was established in 2015 with a $1.26 million National Institutes (NIH) of Health grant awarded to the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, with the goal of expanding the program throughout U.S. academic veterinary medicine.

Nationwide presentation of “This is How We ‘Role’" programs through U.S. colleges/schools of veterinary medicine began in 2017 and the second round of grant proposals is due on April 16, 2018, with six grants of $5,000 to be awarded.

The program is designed to provide fun, interactive science and math experiences to students in kindergarten through fourth grade and encourage awareness and interest in the profession, according to Dr. Sandra San Miguel, the principal investigator, program founder and associate dean for engagement in Purdue’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

It’s particularly geared to reach young students who are educationally disadvantaged due to socioeconomic status, race, or ethnicity, with the long-term goal of diversifying the veterinarian-scientist workforce.

In 2017, the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine, and Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine received grants to disseminate and assess the program.

Veterinarians, veterinary technologists, veterinary medical students, and veterinary technology students participate in the program, helping kids to learn about the breadth of careers in the veterinary profession and how veterinarians can prevent and treat health conditions such as diabetes, cancer, and asthma that impact both people and their animals.

“This is How We ‘Role’” offers a series of four children’s books in English and Spanish: Dachshunds Get Diabetes, Too!/ ¡Los Dachshund También se Enferman de Diabetes!; Macaws Need Medicines, Too!/ ¡Los Guacamayos También Necesitan Medicación!; Elephants Need Eye Doctors Too!/ ¡Los Elefantes También Necesitan un Doctor Para Sus Ojos!; and, Donkeys Need Dentists Too!/ ¡Los Burros También Necesitan Dentistas!

Printed books are available at no cost to children participating in the afterschool program as part of the curriculum. Online versions of the books are available at no cost on the program’s website and members of the public can purchase books at (vet.purdue.edu/vet-shoppe/) with all proceeds being used to print more books.

In 2017, 43 individuals enrolled in the “Healthy Animals! Healthy People!” online certificate program and three have completed their certificate. Kids earn electronic ribbons for collecting five superpowers that can be used to keep people and their animals healthy: Making Healthy Food Choices; Exercising; Keeping a Healthy Environment; Getting Healthcare; and, Choosing A Career Where You Help Others Stay Healthy. Along the way, kids learn about teeth, the gastrointestinal system, healthy foods, muscles, breathing, hearts, microbes, immunity, medicines, wellness exams, dental exams, eye exams, and how to prepare for healthcare careers.

This is How We “Role,” is supported by the Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) program of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) of the of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

For additional information about the program, or to purchase materials, visit www.WeRoleLikeThis.org. Questions regarding the program and submission process should be addressed to: pvmengaged@purdue.edu

Agnes Scott Senior Jazz Stephens Honored with AAVMC’s 2018 Pre-Vet Leadership Award

An Agnes Scott College senior bound for veterinary school at the University of Georgia has been awarded the AAVMC’s 2018 Pre-Veterinary Leadership Award (PVLA). Jazz Stephens, a biology major minoring in German and chemistry, was recognized during the recent American Association of Pre-Veterinary Medical Association (APVMA) Symposium held at Auburn University.

Jazz is the founder and current president of the Pre-Veterinary Club at Agnes Scott. She works as a chemistry tutor at Agnes Scott and as a veterinary assistant at Clairmont Animal Hospital in Decatur.

In addition to earning membership in the Tri-Beta and Omicron Delta Kappa honor societies, she has been involved with research throughout her undergraduate career. Jazz is currently collaborating with an Agnes Scott professor and other research students to investigate how variation in incubation behavior influences variation in nestling telomere length in barn swallows.

She plans to enter the University of Georgia in Fall 2018, with the goal of becoming a veterinary pathologist.

The AAVMC established the first Pre-Veterinary Leadership Award (PVLA) in 2016 to recognize leadership within the pre-vet community. Application and nomination criteria for the award include an essay demonstrating how their leadership has impacted their local pre-veterinary community and how they advance diversity efforts within their pre-vet club. Nominations must also include a recommendation from a pre-vet / pre-health advisor.

Winners receive a personalized award, $500 to help pay for their application fees and travel, and $500 for their pre-vet club/society/or association. Winners are announced during the American Pre-Veterinary Medical Association (APVMA) annual symposium and presented the award at their home college or university by AAVMC Director of Admissions and Recruitment Affairs Tony Wynne.

Zoetis Awards Scholarships to Rising Veterinary Students

Zoetis and the AAVMC announced the winners of the 2018 Zoetis Veterinary Student Scholarship Program during the recent 2018 Student American Veterinary Medical Association (SAVMA) Conference at the University of Pennsylvania.

Now in its ninth year, the program awarded $630,000 in scholarship funds to 315 second- and third-year veterinary students at 33 colleges and schools of veterinary medicine. To date, this program has awarded nearly $6.1 million in scholarships to more than 3,000 students.

“Earning a veterinary medical degree is challenging enough without the added stress of debt,” said Dr. Christine Jenkins, Chief Medical Officer and Vice President of Veterinary Medical Services and Outcomes Research at Zoetis. “Our goal with this scholarship is to help alleviate the financial worries faced by student veterinarians.”

This year, more than 1,700 applicants from universities throughout the United States and the Caribbean vied for the scholarships, which were awarded in recognition of academic excellence, financial need, diversity, sustainability, leadership, and career interest.

“Student debt is one of the top concerns for young veterinarians,” said Dr. Andrew Maccabe, Chief Executive Officer of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges. “Debt can impact a veterinarian’s finances and life choices for 20 years or longer. We are proud to partner with Zoetis to award these scholarships to many exceptional veterinary students and help ease that burden.”

The average debt of indebted graduates of U.S. colleges of veterinary medicine was $162,707 in 2017. This year’s scholarship recipients reflect a broad range of professional interests. Here are a few facts about the 2018 cohort of recipients:
  • 36% are from racial and ethnically diverse backgrounds
  • 33% are studying mixed animal medicine
  • 11% are studying to practice food animal medicine
  • 24% are going into small animal practice
  • 4% are going into equine exclusive clinical practice
  • 16% are entering academia, public health, government, & industry
  • 11% will go into other areas such as lab animal, zoo/exotic animal, wildlife or other
Zoetis discovers, develops, manufactures and markets veterinary vaccines and medicines, diagnostic products, genetic tests, bio-devices and provides a range of services for veterinarians, livestock producers and people who raise and care for farm and companion animals. With sales in more than 100 countries, Zoetis generated annual revenue of $5.2 billion in 2017. Zoetis employs about 9,000 people.

2017-18 Leadership Academy Wraps Up, Prepares for Next Cohort

To see a roster of this year’s Leadership Academy participants, click here.

The AAVMC’s Leadership Academy recently wrapped up the 2017-2018 program in Washington, D.C. just prior to the 2018 AAVMC Annual conference with sessions that included Balancing the Demands of Leadership, Fundraising and Development, and Effective Advocacy.

The 35 Leadership Academy participants also had the opportunity to accompany veterinary medical college deans to Capitol Hill where they discussed pressing issues in academia and the profession with legislators and Congressional staff on Advocacy Day, just prior to the AAVMC’s annual conference.

The Leadership Academy’s unique focus is helping develop tomorrow’s leaders in academic veterinary medicine. The AAVMC launched the academy in 2012 to provide professional development for emerging leaders in veterinary academia and to provide a forum for building ties between faculty members at veterinary schools and departments around the world. Participation is limited to faculty and staff at AAVMC member institutions and each member institution is eligible to enroll one participant, chosen by the dean based upon demonstrated leadership or potential.

The academy convenes for three sessions each year and features expert speakers addressing effective leadership components that include communication skills, emotional intelligence and living leadership (applied leadership skills). Goals include equipping promising leaders with the knowledge and skills needed to interact with and thoughtfully influence people and processes within organizational environments.

“The AAVMC is committed to enhancing the experiences of promising leaders and providing them with the tools they need to propel professional development,” said AAVMC CEO Dr. Andrew T. Maccabe. “We’re also very grateful for Elanco’s sponsorship, which makes the Leadership Academy possible.”

Leadership Academy participants are assigned to learning groups in which they work throughout the program, which helps build professional networks that participants can rely on for advice and support throughout their careers.

Previous sessions for this year were held in September 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana, and December 2017 in College Station, Texas, featuring topics that included media training, managing conflict and strategic thinking and management.

Enrollment information for the 2018-2019 Leadership Academy will be sent to deans’ offices in April 2018.

For more information, contact Andrew Zoeller at azoeller@aavmc.org.

To see a roster of this year’s Leadership Academy participants, click here.

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Upcoming Meetings

Veterinary Wellbeing Summit, April 15-17, 2018, Schaumburg, IL

PCVE/VEC Joint Symposium, June 22-24, 2018, Ithaca, NY

Summer Meeting, July 13-14, 2018, Denver, CO, at the AVMA Convention

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