AAVMC Establishes Guidelines for Internships at Academic Institutions

Washington, D.C., April 12, 2018 – 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 AAVMC is a nonprofit membership organization working to protect and improve the health and welfare of animals, people and the environment around the world by advancing academic veterinary medicine. Members include 49 accredited veterinary medical colleges in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean Basin, Europe, Australia and Mexico.

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Jeff Douglas or Jeanne Johnson
Phone: 202/371-9195, x144
Email: jdouglas@aavmc.org or jjohnson@aavmc.org