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AAVSB founds new foreign graduate exam
San Diego - Veterinary students in off shore programs soon will have an alternative to a long-standing equivalency test required for licensure in the United States.
San Diego - Veterinary students in off shore programs soon willhave an alternative to a long-standing equivalency test required for licensurein the United States.
The American Associate of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) has joinedwith the National Board Examination Committee for Veterinary Medicine (NBEC)to create a replacement test for the Educational Commission for ForeignVeterinary Graduates (ECFVG) - a $6,000 program that includes the NorthAmerican Veterinary Licensing Exam (NAVLE). The ECFVG was developed by theAmerican Veterinary Medical Association in the early 1970s.
The new test, dubbed the Program for the Assessment of Veterinary Equivalence(PAVE), is scheduled for release this fall, and NBEC officials met Jan.20 in San Diego on its development.
The goal of the new equivalency exam is to alleviate licensure problemscaused by the ECFVG exam, which have led some states to circumvent it. Italso soothes questions about the legality and propriety of AVMA administeringits own exam while running the country's veterinary college accreditationprogram, AAVSB Executive Director Charlotte Ronan says.
"Our organization has been working for a number of years to tryand convince the AVMA that there are problems with the ECFVG program,"she says. "The ECFVG program is the same program it's always been."
Aside from the alleged conflict of interest, which AVMA officials refute,long waits in the program have forced veterinary licensing boards in statessuch as Ohio and New York to license foreign graduates without requiringthe ECFVG, says NBEC Executive Director Dr. John Boyce.
"If we allow the present system to go and let the states circumventit, it puts us all at risk in this profession," he says. "Fromthe AVMA standpoint, there isn't a conflict of interest, but that's justpart of the problem. The current system is viewed as unfairly restrictiveby some state boards and the ECFVG is being ignored."
ECFVG vs. PAVE: the differences
According to AVMA Executive Vice President Dr. Bruce Little, ECFVG certificationis a four-step process, which includes graduation from an approved veterinarycollege, an English proficiency test, a clinical proficiency exam or a yearof evaluated clinical experience, and the NAVLE.
The PAVE program includes graduation from an approved veterinary college,an English proficiency test, a year of evaluated clinical work before orafter graduation and a basic science examination, Boyce says.
"Once they get their certificate from PAVE, they take the NAVLElike everyone else," he says. "The PAVE program is designed tobe an educational equivalency program. This is not a reduced version ofthe ECFVG. In fact, it includes a basic science test that the ECFVG doesn'thave."
The PAVE's science test and variations in the yearlong clinical examinationsare the main differences between the two equivalency exams, Boyce says.
"Graduates of non-accredited schools fall into two general categories,"he says. "In one group, schools complete a senior year at an accreditedschool in the states. In the other group, you're talking about true foreigngraduates without a year of evaluated experience that the AVMA now offersas an alternative."
That's where the PAVE exam serves as an advantage, he says. "Withthe PAVE, they can take the clinical evaluation either before or after graduation,and when they're already doing clinical study their senior year, that worksout."
But for graduates in the second category, Boyce says, the PAVE will bean additional step to licensure.
"For the first time in either case, this exam will be an assessmentof basic science of pre-clinical knowledge, which is not a part of the ECFVGprogram now. That is an additional requirement."
Boyce says, "At this point it appears there will be two programsout there. Each state is autonomous and can choose one or the other or theydon't have to require either."