November 2014

Public Universities & Veterinary Medical Colleges Groups Announce Creation of Task Force on Antibiotic Resistance in Production Agriculture

On Nov. 5, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) announced the creation of the Task Force on Antibiotic Resistance in Production Agriculture.

The task force is comprised of representatives from U.S. agriculture colleges/land grant universities and veterinary colleges as well as key representatives from the production animal agriculture community and the pharmaceutical industry. The goal of the task force is to help advise the federal government on a research agenda and also help publicly disseminate information on the use of antibiotics in production agriculture. Officials from key federal agencies are expected to serve as observers to the task force and leaders from public universities in Mexico and Canada will serve as ex officio members.

Scientists and the public have grown increasingly concerned about the evolution of antibiotic resistant bacteria in veterinary and human medicine. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have expressed serious concerns as well. Some bacteria have developed defenses against different classes of antibiotic compounds.

“We recognize antibiotic resistance as a public health challenge and look forward to collaborating with APLU and the federal government on this critical initiative,” said AAVMC Executive Director Andrew T. Maccabe, noting that many of the AAVMC’s member institutions are based at land-grant universities.

“This is an important collaborative effort,” APLU President Peter McPherson said. “The task force and its members are well-positioned to advise the Obama administration as they consider strategies to address the judicious use of antibiotics in production agriculture.”

Dr. Lonnie J. King, chair of the task force and dean of The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, said, “The task force will draw on the expertise of its members to serve as a knowledgeable and important source of advice for the federal government as it develops its plans. It can also make recommendations on further research that should be undertaken to develop alternative solutions for some antibiotic use in production agriculture.”

Learn more.

AVMA Economic Summit Examines Workforce, Educational Trends

There was good news tempered with some not-so-good news shared during a major Economic Summit meeting presented by the AVMA in Chicago on October 28.

The excess workforce capacity of 12.5 percent identified in the U.S. Veterinary Workforce Study released by the AVMA in April 2013 has dropped to less than 10% and will likely remain there for the foreseeable future, according to AVMA economist Michael Dicks. That move was attributed to improvements in the national economy.

Veterinary unemployment was identified as 3.4 percent, which is substantially lower than the national unemployment rate of 6.1 percent, according to Dicks. Job growth in the veterinary sector is expected to trend upward through 2025.

The excess capacity issues identified during the April 2013 study conducted after the Great Recession are an indication of how vulnerable the profession is to economic downturns, Dicks said.

Data concerning the long-term implications of the gap between educational costs and earning power in some sectors of clinical practice was also shared during the conference.

These data could have implications for the future of the applicant pool, according to AAVMC Associate Executive Director for Institutional Research and Diversity Lisa Greenhill. While the total number of applicants may drop, she sees the quality of the applicant pool remaining strong.

During a presentation she made at the conference, Greenhill noted that the applicant pool in veterinary education tends to be cyclical. Based upon that, the number of applicants may trend down over the next five years. The current ratio of qualified applicants is presently 1.64:1, she noted. Given trends, that ratio could potentially drop downward for the next five years.

Despite that, Greenhill said, data suggests the quality of the applicant pool will remain very strong. Last year’s applicant pool held an average GPA of 3.43, however, the average GPA of the pool of admitted students was 3.60.

Almost 200 veterinarians, economists and educators attended the meeting, according to the AVMA.

The AAVMC has worked closely with the new AVMA Economics Division to acquire data that more effectively characterizes the market environment for both veterinary education and employment.

Look for a more detailed story concerning Dr. Greenhill’s presentation in the December edition of the Vet-Med Educator.

VMCAS Report Demonstrates Applicant Demand About Even with Last Year

Data from the 2015 VMCAS application cycle shows a total of 6,681 students have applied for admission to AAVMC member institutions participating in the VMCAS program. Compared to the 6,744 students who sought admission last year, it represents a decrease of less than one percent. On average, each applicant applied to 4.4 different institutions.

Compared to 2009 data, there have been changes in the distribution of applicants for U.S., Canadian, and international schools. Applications to U.S. schools have decreased from 94.8 percent of the VMCAS pool to 91 percent.  Applications to foreign schools have increased from 4.3 percent to 8.4 percent. Applications to Canadian schools have decreased from 1.5 percent of the pool to .9 percent.

Consistent with six-year trends, the number of students who began but did not complete the application process remains about 2,500.  As in prior years, surveys will be used to explore some of the reasons applicants choose not to complete the application process.

Zoetis Scholarship Program Accepting Applications Through Nov. 30

Zoetis and the AAVMC invite second- and third-year veterinary students to apply for the 2015 Zoetis Veterinary Student Scholarship Program.

In 2014, Zoetis awarded scholarships to 452 veterinary students. Each scholarship is $2,000 and interested students can apply for scholarships at VetVance®, a free online resource for students and recent graduates, through Nov. 30.

“By investing in the next generation of veterinarians, we can address some of the challenges facing the industry, including the issues of student debt and the need for greater diversity in professional tracks among students,” said Dr. Christine Jenkins, Chief Veterinary Medical Officer, Zoetis US. “This partnership with AAVMC broadens our ability to support students and veterinary medicine as a whole.”

Since its inception in 2010, the program has provided more than $3.6 million to more than 1,500 veterinary students. Scholarships are awarded to veterinary students at accredited schools in the United States and the Caribbean.

Eligibility criteria include academic excellence, financial need, diversity, sustainability, leadership and career path. Scholarships will be awarded to students in all areas of professional interest, including food animal medicine, small animal clinical medicine, research, government services, public health, and organized veterinary medicine. AAVMC will provide the list of potential recipients to the colleges for review and approval before final recipients are chosen.

Award eligibility also is subject to the guidelines established by individual schools. This is the first year that the AAVMC has worked directly with Zoetis in the administration of the scholarship program.

"The AAVMC prides itself in promoting leadership and diversity in the veterinary profession.” said Dr. Andrew Maccabe, Executive Director of the AAVMC. “This partnership with Zoetis is a wonderful way to recognize student achievement and support our future veterinarians.”

To learn more about the Zoetis/AAVMC Veterinary Student Scholarship Program or to apply for a scholarship, students will need to register at VetVance®. The online site also provides students and recent graduates with content on topics generally not covered in a student’s core curriculum, such as professional development, business skills, and financial literacy.

VetVance and the scholarship program are part of the Zoetis Commitment to Veterinarians™ platform, which offers support through training and education, research and development, investing in the future of the veterinary profession, and philanthropy.

Zoetis is the leading animal health company, dedicated to supporting its customers and their businesses. In 2013, the company generated annual revenues of $4.6 billion. With approximately 9,800 employees worldwide at the beginning of 2014, Zoetis has a local presence in approximately 70 countries, including 27 manufacturing facilities in 10 countries. Its products serve veterinarians, livestock producers and people who raise and care for farm and companion animals in 120 countries. 

Tufts University Joins the AAVMC’s Veterinary Medical Application (VMCAS) Service

The Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University has joined the Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS), an application service administered by the AAVMC.

Aspiring veterinary medical students use VMCAS to apply to most veterinary medical schools that are accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

With the addition of Tufts, the number of schools using VMCAS now totals  28 of 30 U.S. schools, two schools in Canada, two in Scotland, and one school each in England, Ireland, Australia, Grenada, St. Kitts, and New Zealand.

VMCAS collects, processes, and submits application materials to the veterinary medical schools and responds to inquiries about the application process from applicants, advisors, parents, and schools. The system also has electronic evaluation and submission capability and serves as a social media hub via Facebook where applicants can ask questions, interact, and obtain updates.

“We’ve been an active member of the AAVMC for about 40 years, so it just makes sense for us to use VMCAS,” said Tufts’ Dean Dr. Deborah Kochevar. “There’s not a better alternative in terms of far-reaching scope and focus."
AAVMC’s Primary Care Veterinary Educators (PCVE) Focus on Companion Animal Medicine

Nearly 100 veterinarians from veterinary medical associations and 29 schools and colleges of veterinary medicine attended the 2014 PrimaryCare Veterinary Educators’ (PCVE) World Symposium held at UC Davis in October. 

  Brainstorming at the PCVE symposium. (Photo: Don Preisler/UC Davis)

The annual symposium offers companion animal primary care educators the opportunity to learn from each other and benefit from presentations and networking opportunities that are designed to help them generate new ideas and develop more effective educational strategies.

The three-day symposium included research presentations, tours of the UC Davis veterinary medical school and Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, and lectures from UC Davis faculty and others designed to help companion animal primary care educators prepare general practitioners who possess the range of technical and communication skills required to practice quality primary care veterinary medicine.

"Many of AAVMC's member schools' primary care educators enter academia through a non-traditional path in vet med education," said Dr. Julie Meadows, a veterinarian with the UC Davis Veterinary Teaching Hospital. "This annual event provides us with an opportunity to enhance our skills as teachers, especially in a clinical setting, but also provides a forum for us to engage with each other as we seek out solutions to common challenges. Having the symposium at UC Davis capitalized on the efforts of our faculty who are involved in the Teaching Academy of the Consortium of West Region Colleges of Veterinary Medicine, as well as on our weather!" 

Merial provided funding for the meeting.

In order to ensure grassroots participation in the meeting, Merial provided registration, accommodation and travel assistance for one designated representative from each AAVMC U.S. and international school or college of veterinary medicine.

Veterinary Health and Wellness Summit Presented at The Ohio State University

More than 70 educators and staff from 32 schools and colleges of veterinary medicine gathered to discuss health and wellness issues related to veterinary students and the profession at Health and Wellness Summit 2.0, held at The Ohio State University (OSU) in October.

The AAVMC convened the summit—which Zoetis sponsored and OSU hosted—as a response to a growing body of evidence that veterinary students are experiencing increased levels of stress, anxiety, and depression and that these factors may impact productivity, longevity, and professional enjoyment.

The goals of the conference sought to develop a common understanding of the health and wellness issues in veterinary students and recent graduates and continue to formulate and implement an action plan for enhancing health and wellness within the profession.

Key content areas were increasing resilience, the role of curriculum design on student wellness, an overview of the state of health and wellness among veterinary students, and how emerging brain science can contribute to our understanding of how to create educational programs that facilitate and promote wellness.

2015 AAVMC Annual Conference Now Accepting Registrations

The 2015 AAVMC Annual Conference and Iverson Bell Symposium, "Recruiting and Selecting for the Future of Veterinary Medicine," is now accepting registrations.

Admitting bright, talented students is essential for academic veterinary medicine and the veterinary medical profession to meet the challenges of an ever-changing world.  Whether focusing on companion animal care, epidemiology or food animal medicine, veterinary medicine is a dynamic, evolving profession that must adapt to changing demand, demographics and economic constraints, as well as meet the world’s increasing demand for veterinary expertise.

The 2015 AAVMC conference, focusing on recruitment, admissions and diversity, is designed to help schools and colleges of veterinary medicine keep informed regarding the latest societal changes, how they’re affecting recruitment, and how to develop strategies to adapt to both short-term and long-term admissions and recruitment challenges.This will include the pressing challenge of recruiting students from historically under-represented populations and also the new minorities in academic veterinary medicine: males and rural students.

Learn more and register.

Dr. Don Smith to Work With AAVMC on 50th Anniversary History Book

Veterinary historian Dr. Don Smith

One of the profession’s most prolific and respected historians will author a book on the history of the AAVMC as part of the AAVMC’s upcoming 50th Anniversary celebration.
Donald F. Smith, Austin O. Hooey Dean of Veterinary Medicine, emeritus, and professor of surgery at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, has agreed to work with the AAVMC on the project.
Smith has authored a number of articles on the history of academic veterinary medicine in the Journal of Veterinary Medical Education (JVME). His celebrated “Perspectives in Veterinary Medicine” blog is a colorful exploration of the history of the profession, veterinary education, and some of the forces that have shaped their development and evolution.
Smith will also work with JVME Editor Dr. Daryl Buss on a special edition of the JVME that will also be published as part of the anniversary celebration.
Smith served as dean at Cornell from 1997-2007. Prior to that he served as associate dean for academic programs and veterinary education and chairman of the Department of Clinical Sciences. Prior to his service at Cornell, Smith served as a founding faculty-member of the University of Wisconsin College of Veterinary Medicine.
Smith earned his DVM degree at the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph and conducted a surgical residency at the University of Pennsylvania. He is board certified by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS).
The AAVMC’s 50th anniversary will be observed from March 2015 through March 2016.  A committee led by Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine Dean Dr. Ralph Richardson has been planning the celebration.

Academic Veterinary Medicine in the News


University of Illinois Receives $2.1M to Renovate Large Animal Vet Clinic

Veterinary Practice News


Clinical Trial Focuses on Breast Cancer in Cats

Veterinary Practice News


Dog Cancer Research Advances Knowledge of Human Cancer



After Texas A&M Veterinarians Assist In Monitoring Bentley, He Returns Home



UF Colleges Team up for Cat Surgery

Independent Florida Alligator


AVMA Says Veterinary Legislation will See Little Disruption from Republican Shift in Congress 



Vet School Adds Luster to Ohio State

The Columbus Dispatch


K-State Researcher Looks to Develop Vaccines Against Tick-borne Disease



New Veterinary Degrees May Not Pay Off, Economists Find



Merial Awards Three Postdoctoral Scholarships of $40,000 Each



Lamb Research Contributes to Human Wellness



Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine and Ngee Ann Polytechnic Strengthen International Ties

Fort Mill Times


Blog: Federal Regulation of Veterinary School Accreditation Brings Elitists out of the Woodwork



Kansas State Boldly Goes in New Direction

Veterinary Practice News


Ohio State’s Veterinary Program Among Best in U.S.

The Columbus Dispatch


Veterinary Medicine Students Spend First Year at MSU



University of Surrey Welcomes First Vet Students

Veterinary Practice News


Is One Health the New Veterinary Medicine?

Veterinary Practice News


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