ST. LOUIS — Veterinary schools need to graduate veterinarians with real-world skills necessary to immediately contribute to practices
or other areas of employment.
That is, perhaps, the over-arching theme that came from months of work on building a roadmap for the future of veterinary
Three themes are highlighted in the recommendations of the final North American Veterinary Medical Education Consortium (NAVMEC)
report, approved July 17 by the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges' (AAVMC) Board of Directors.
They are: ensuring that veterinarians are educated in certain core competencies and have knowledge in more than one area of
veterinary medicine; that veterinary colleges work together to develop and deliver a curriculum that is flexible enough to
meet the changing needs of society; and that there is a way to make sure the testing and accreditation process identifies
a veterinarian's understanding of the core competencies.
The report, titled "Roadmap for Veterinary Medical Education in the 21st Century: Responsive, Collaborative, Flexible," was
compiled over months of meetings that included input and review by all channels of the veterinary profession. It focuses on
what needs to be done to provide veterinary medical school graduates with the core knowledge, skills and competencies they
must have to satisfy "society's evolving needs."
The five main goals outlined in the report are to:
- graduate career-ready veterinarians who are proficient and have the confidence to use an agreed-upon set of core competencies;
- ensure that admissions, curricula, accreditation and testing/licensure are competency-driven;
- share resources to ensure veterinary medical education is of the highest quality and maximally cost effective;
- promote an economically viable education system for both colleges of veterinary medicine and veterinary students; and
- stimulate a profession-wide focus on innovation, flexibility and action.
Core competencies are described in the report as:
- multi-species knowledge plus clinical competence in one or more species or disciplines;
- "one health" competency related to the intersection of animal, human and environmental health;
- development of professional competencies like communication, collaboration, life-long learning, leadership, diversity, multicultural
awareness and the ability to adapt.