AAVMC sets aggressive agenda for veterinary education


Consortium board is in place to help facilitate strategic planning, offer recommendations

National Report — It's a turbulent time for veterinary education as the profession tries to stave off veterinarian shortages, manage rising costs for educators and students, and find new educational models that will better prepare DVMs for the working world.

The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) is working on a plan to address the future of veterinary education with new leadership appointments to its North American Veterinary Medical Education Consortium (NAVMEC).

The nine-member board met once in November and plans to conduct discussions nationwide over the next year on topics such as what skills new veterinarians need to meet society's needs, what educational models will best prepare graduating DVMs for the workforce, and what relationships need to exist between colleges, accreditation and licensure to make it all happen.

The board includes Dr. Eleanor Green, dean of the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine; Dr. Bennie Osburn, dean of the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine; Dr. Willie Reed, dean of the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine; Dr. David McCrystle, immediate past chair of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Executive Board; Dr. Janvier Krehbiel, past chair of the AVMA Foresight Committee Task force and AVMA Executive Board member; Dr. David Granstrom, director of the AVMA Education and Research Division; Dr. Mike Thomas, past president of the American Animal Hospital Association and member of the National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners; and Dr. John Lawrence, president of the Minnesota Board of Veterinary Medicine and director-at-large for the American Association of Veterinary State Boards.

Dr. Mary Beth Leininger is serving as project manager. Kenneth Andrews, PhD, who founded High Impact facilitation and assisted AAVMC in the creation of its 2007 foresight report, will facilitate the consortium's national discussions over the next year.

So far, 164 organizations have agreed to participate, and the board intends to create a final plan based on the outcome of these discussions.

The plan will not include a quick fix for veterinary education, says Dr. Michael Chaddock, AAVMC deputy director, but it will provide insight for the stakeholders of veterinary education to use moving forward.

AAVMC believes its five-year strategic plan will help, too. That plan, outlined in AAVMC's annual report, has been years in the making and outlines the association's vision and goals. It addresses efforts for 2010 through 2014, including the establishment of the NAVMEC and a Veterinary Educator Collaborative to share materials and address educational challenges as they arise. Other goals include hosting career fairs, recruiting materials and exploring more diversity and leadership programs.

AAVMC will further discuss the future of veterinary education at its annual meeting, a joint meeting with the American Association of Veterinary Clinicians, March 11-14 in Alexandria, Va. More information can be found at www.aavmc.org. And for a complete list of events log onto dvm360.com.

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