September 2014

Oct. 7 Application Deadline for New AAVMC Public Policy Faculty Fellows Program

Faculty members at AAVMC member institutions can learn about and help shape how federal government policies affect academic veterinary medicine as part of the AAVMC’s new Public Policy Fellows Program.

The program brings faculty members to Washington D.C. to develop leadership skills in the advocacy arena, explore the impact of public policy decisions on the profession, and gain knowledge and experience with the legislative and regulatory process at the federal level.

The nomination period for the new AAVMC Public Policy Faculty Fellows Program runs from August 21, 2014 through Monday, October 7, 2014.

A maximum of two fellows will be chosen during each fiscal year, dependent upon AAVMC resources and advocacy issues. Fellowships last a minimum of six weeks and a maximum of eight weeks. The dates of the fellowships will be determined in consultation with the Director of Governmental Affairs, and will be based upon the issues to be studied, the congressional calendar, and the availability of the fellow.

Nominees must submit a package of no more than five pages, to include an abbreviated CV highlighting work that is relevant to this program, a letter outlining their reasons for applying for the program and what they would like to gain from the program, and any other supporting documents.

Fellows will receive a stipend of $10,000 from the AAVMC to cover expenses, but will remain on their employer’s payroll, subject to University policies. The program is open to all AAVMC member institutions.

Learn more about the Faculty Fellows program.

Nomination Cycle Opens for AAVMC Awards

Nominations for the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges’ 2015 series of professional achievement and distinguished service awards will be accepted from September 1, 2014 through October 31, 2014.

Each year, the AAVMC presents five major awards designed to inspire and recognize professional excellence in various sectors of academic veterinary medicine. These include the AAVMC Excellence in Research Award, presented by Zoetis; the AAVMC Distinguished Veterinary Teacher Award, presented by Zoetis; the Senator John Melcher, DVM Leadership in Public Policy Award; the Iverson Bell Award, and the Recognition Lecture.

Detailed information about the awards, nominations criteria, and past winners of the awards can be found on the AAVMC Awards Program site, found here.

Honorees will be formally recognized during the 2015 annual meeting of the AAVMC held in Washington, D.C. March 13-15, 2015.

In 2014, the AAVMC presented the inaugural AAVMC Excellence in Communications Award, which recognizes communications excellence in AAVMC member institutions. Nominations for that award will be accepted from January 1, 2015 through March 1, 2015.

Enrollment Growth and Impact on Diversity

Recent discussions within the veterinary medical profession have focused on changes in student enrollment at colleges of veterinary medicine; indeed, there has been consistent growth in the number of veterinary medical school graduates in recent years. The number of veterinary medical school graduates has grown by nearly 35 percent over the last ten years, from 2004-2014. The recent addition of data from our international member institutions suggests that, in 2017, there will be 4,460 graduates who are American citizens from veterinary medical colleges in the US and abroad.

Such growth brings increasing demographic changes as well. Currently, students from historically underrepresented racial and ethnic backgrounds make up 13.5 percent of all veterinary medical students in the U. S.; when Ross University’s American student population is included, the URVM population climbs to over 14 percent. Women continue to make up the majority of U. S. veterinary medical students, though over the past decade, the percentage of women enrolled has stabilized.

Additional data on current student enrollment trends can be found by visiting the Public Data page on the AAVMC website.

AAVMC Presents Outcomes Assessment Workshop in Denver

The AAVMC's Academic Affairs Committee organized and presented a workshop focused on the “Assessment of Clinical Competency” during the Annual AVMA convention in Denver. Associate deans, college outcomes assessment officers, deans, representatives from the Council on Education, and other interested parties attended. The purpose was to begin the discussion for a shared understanding of current practices, challenges, and successes in the assessment of clinical competency.

The workshop opened with a presentation by Drs. Jared Danielson, associate professor of veterinary pathology and director of curricular and student assessment at Iowa State University, and Kent Hecker, associate professor of veterinary medical education at the University of Calgary, who presented a brief overview of their “white paper” on “Standard 11: How to Assess Clinical Competency.” Danielson and Hecker emphasized the need for a common awareness of the options and best practices available for the assessment of clinical competency, and advocated that these must be aligned with accepted definitions of assessment terms.

A table of the methods used to assess the nine AVMA competencies in pre-clinical and clinical settings was shared with the audience as an example, and colleges were encouraged to begin or enhance the development of sustainable programs that assess clinical competencies and other important outcomes across the curriculum.

Breakout sessions were organized and the larger group reconvened to discuss common issues and “big ideas” that arose from these discussions. Concerns expressed included a perceived lack of clarity regarding requirements for the assessment of clinical competency and the lack of studies evaluating the efficacy of different assessment tools in veterinary education.

The group suggested that the “white paper” be expanded and used as a “roadmap” for the assessment of clinical competency. The need for resources for faculty training, sharing of sustainable assessment practices, and examples of clinical assessment methods with demonstrated utility were also recommended. Additionally, the group noted the need for improved mechanisms for sharing and evaluating current assessment methods, such as through online forums or a website.

A more formal description of the meeting is being prepared for interested parties.

Tennessee Dean Jim Thompson Joins Board of Directors

Dr. Jim Thompson

Dr. Jim Thompson, dean of the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, has been elected to serve on the AAVMC Board of Directors.

In addition to general responsibilities as a member of the board, Thompson will serve as the AAVMC’s official representative to the Association of Public Land Grant Universities’ Commission on Food, Environment and Renewable Resources. The mid-cycle appointment expires in July 2015 and Dean Thompson will be eligible for reappointment to serve two additional two-year terms.

“I feel fortunate to be a member of this profession and want to help veterinary medicine continue its strong historical relationships between people, animals, agriculture, and the environment,” said Thompson. “I’m excited to learn more about the issues impacting academic veterinary medicine and higher education and am honored by this opportunity to serve and contribute.”

Thompson has served as dean of the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine since 2008. Prior to his appointment as dean of the UT-CVM, he served as executive associate dean and professor at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine in Gainesville. Thompson also held a joint appointment in the University of Florida College of Medicine’s Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology.

Thompson earned a B.S. in biology and chemistry from Purdue University, his DVM degree from the University of Florida, and a Ph.D. in immunology and medical microbiology from the University of Florida.

He is board certified by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) in internal medicine and oncology and by the American College of Veterinary Microbiology (ACVM) in immunology, virology and bacteriology/mycology.

His clinical interests focus on internal medicine, immune mediated disorders, infectious diseases, and oncology.

New Leadership Academy Cohort Hits the Ground Running

A new 2014-2015 Leadership Academy cohort met this summer at Michigan State University.

AAVMC launched the Leadership Academy in 2012 to provide leadership development for emerging leaders in academia and to provide a forum for building lasting ties between faculty members at veterinary schools and departments around the world.

Sessions for the new group included: “Self-Awareness as a Foundation for Successful Leadership,” with Deb Dunbar, director of Organizational Development and Compensation Programs at Indiana University; and media training with Sue Carter, professor, and Bonnie Bucqueroux, emeritus faculty member, both from Michigan State University’s (MSU) School of Journalism.

All of the Leadership Academy sessions are designed to nurture skills that will benefit emerging leaders as they navigate the challenges of academic veterinary medicine now and in the future.

For example, the half-day media training session is designed to help leaders articulate important messages during various kinds of interviews, whether sharing good news or responding to a crisis situation.  The session’s primary goal is to prepare leaders and spokespersons who can communicate their colleges’ messages to the media clearly and quickly.

In a session on “Calibrating the Lens(es) of the Inclusive Leader,” Patricia Lowrie, former director of the MSU Women’s Resource Center, who now serves as consultant to the center, used capacity-building exercises, case studies, and dialogue to examine the skills required of inclusive leaders, with the goal of building skills and approaches that increase inclusivity.

A new session this year, included at the request of past participants, covered budgeting and finance with David Byelich, MSU’s assistant vice president and director of the Office of Planning and Budgets. This session explored the variety of ways through which colleges and departments are funded, and familiarized participants with the tools they need to provide effective financial management.

The next session will take place Nov. 7-8 in Indianapolis, Indiana, and the third and last session will take place March 11-12 in Washington, D.C.

This year’s Leadership Academy is made possible by a sponsorship from Elanco.

Former JVME Editor Henry Baker Honored

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recognized Dr. Henry Baker, Professor Emeritus of Pathobiology at Auburn University, with

Dr. Henry Baker
the 2014 AVMA Lifetime Excellence in Research Award at the Merial NIH Veterinary Scholars Symposium in August.

Established in November 2005, the award recognizes a veterinary researcher on the basis of lifetime achievement in basic, applied, or clinical research, with consideration given to the total impact their career has had on the veterinary or biomedical professions.

The award honored Dr. Baker for over 40 years of research into the pathogenesis of neurologic dysfunction associated with inherited lysosomal diseases, which involves characterizing the molecular defect in some fatal inherited diseases of children, dogs and cats. This genetic identification can lead to the development of therapeutic and preventative strategies for these incurable diseases. For example, Dr. Baker and his colleagues used gene therapy in cats to cure gangliosidosis, a fatal, degenerative brain disease afflicting both animals and humans that progressively destroys nerve cells (neurons) in the brain and spinal cord. The successful treatment of this genetic disease represents the first time in medical history that researchers used gene therapy to cure a fatal, global degenerative brain disease.

Additional research related to animal contraception contributed to the development of contraceptive vaccines for animal population control, with laboratory research results now being applied to target species such as dogs and cats.

In addition to his many years of ground-breaking research, Dr. Baker has contributed to and served in an editorial capacity for numerous scholarly journals. His editorial contributions include serving as the former editor-in-chief of the AAVMC’s Journal of Veterinary Medical Education.

The Merial NIH Veterinary Scholars Symposium, which honored Dr. Baker for his many research achievements, took place this year in Ithaca, New York. The symposium, co-sponsored by the AAVMC, exposes veterinary students in their first or second year of veterinary school to biomedical research and career opportunities in research. At the symposium, veterinary students from all over the world meet to present their research findings and share experiences from their various programs, as well as hear presentations by invited veterinary scientists, researchers and faculty members such as Dr. Baker, who can provide inspiration and motivation for veterinary medical research careers.

In speaking to more than 460 veterinary students at the symposium, Dr. Baker described research as the “backbone” of the veterinary profession and stressed the importance of comparative medicine in successful research.

Greenhill’s Work Recognized by LGVMA

The Lesbian and Gay Veterinary Medical Association (LGVMA) honored Dr. Lisa Greenhill, AAVMC's associate executive director for Institutional Research and Diversity, with an LGVMA Achievement Award during their 2014 meeting held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the AVMA in Denver.

“I’m deeply honored to be recognized by an organization that is doing such important work in modern society,” said Greenhill. “Thanks to the efforts of many dedicated and talented individuals, we’ve made some significant progress. But our important work continues.”

Greenhill, who provides staff support for the AAVMC’s Diversity Committee and leadership for a variety of programs and initiatives that seek to advance diversity and inclusion in academic veterinary medicine, has collaborated broadly with the group over the past several years.

She was recognized for her contributions to the recently published textbook “Navigating Diversity in Veterinary Medicine” and for her work on the AVMA/AAVMC Diversity Matters Climate Study, which examined the campus life experience for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

The awards are designed to recognize individuals who have contributed to the quality of veterinary services for animals owned by members of the LGBT community, for improving the environment for veterinary professionals, for enhancing the academic learning environment for LGBT veterinary or veterinary technician students, and for work that has contributed to the advancement of equality for members of the LGBT community and the mission of the LGVMA.

Academic Veterinary Medicine in the News

ME-WOW! Columbia Kitty Makes Medical History as Scientists Decode Cat Genome

The Columbia Heart Beat


Researchers Find Animal Model for Understudied Type of Muscular Dystrophy



Tuition Hikes Flatten as High Cost of Veterinary School Gains Attention



K-State Offers New Course on Regulation of Animal Drugs, Vaccines

Veterinary Practice News


UA Veterinary Program Aims to Start Up in 2015

Arizona Daily Star


Newest U.S. Vet School Welcomes Inaugural Class

Bovine Veterinarian


OSU Vet Faculty Member Receives Grant to Help Fight Cancer

Veterinary Practice News


Virginia-Maryland Opens Around-the-Clock Skills Lab

Veterinary Practice News


CSU Studies Effects of Climate Change in Polar Bears

Veterinary Practice News


Purdue to Develop Standards for Dog Breeders

Veterinary Practice News


UC-Davis Veterinarians Use Near-infrared Technique in Complex Surgery



Neutering Effects more Severe for Golden Retrievers than Labs



Too Many Veterinarians? AVMA Panel Tackles Hot Topic



AAVMC Welcomes New President, French Veterinary School

Veterinary Practice News


Lack of Hispanics in Veterinary Programs

New York Times

Virginia Tech Study Finds Common Household Chemicals Affect Reproduction In Mice

Red Orbit


LMU's New College of Veterinary Medicine Opens



Researchers Define Botulism Survival Rates in Adult Horses

The Horse


Vet into Motion: UGA Veterinary Teaching Hospital Set for March Opening

Online Athens


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