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AVMA mentoring program lacks members
Schaumburg, Ill. - The American Veterinary Medical Association's (AVMA) mentoring program is running, but widespread participation proves tougher to achieve.
SCHAUMBURG, ILL. — The American Veterinary Medical Association's (AVMA) mentoring program is running, but widespread participation proves tougher to achieve.
Despite comprehensive studies showing mentoring benefits, gaining veterinarian and student interest has been difficult, says Dr. Ron Cott, chairman of the program and associate dean for student and alumni affairs at the University of Missouri's veterinary college.
"Being part of the program is a commitment, so it's difficult to get people to sign up," he says. "But I also think information on the program needs to circulate."
Although the program, operational for months, has gained steam on the mentor side, those wanting to be mentored is just one-fifth the total. The association is trying to change that fact.
To market the program, AVMA has contracted with a sponsor to fund travel for Cott as he visits universities and conferences to recruit new members.
Initiated more than a year ago, the program is designed to help veterinarians and veterinary students network with other practitioners who share the same interests and can offer guidance and advice.
"There is no age limit as to who can be a mentor or receive advice from another veterinarian," Cott says. "People often refer to the program as a student getting advice from a veterinarian, but actually a 50-year-old veterinarian could get advice from a 28-year-old if the situation fits."
How to get involved
The AVMA model mentoring task force was developed to talk up the value of mentoring to members with the initial stipulation that the association obtain 500 interested names to start the matching process. At presstime, the association reported roughly 500 mentoring veterinarians enrolled in the program compared to 100 mentees.
The national program is electronically driven and private, Cott says. Those interested in the program must login to the association's home page and fill out a questionnaire to begin the matching process.
AVMA serves as a catalyst to connect people. The association does not guarantee or research the participants. A disclaimer is displayed for those interested.
"The program is only open to AVMA members and student members," Cott says. Feedback has been mostly positive, but some say the program isn't quite user-friendly, he adds.
"More recent interest in the program comes from students interested in learning more about various industries," he says. "People ask questions about the military, industry, USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) and other up-and-coming fields in the profession."
For more information, visit mentoring.avma.org.