North Grafton, Mass. — For every 100 veterinary medical jobs in New England, an additional 59 jobs are created in related industries.
That statistic and others come from a study released this month that gauges veterinary medicine's economic significance in
New England's six-state region. According to the report, researched by the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute and
commissioned by Tuft University's Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, the profession pumps $3.3 billion into New England
economies, with 65 percent of that generated by clinical practice (see Table 1).
Outlining veterinary medicine's economic contributions might emphasize the profession's significance, especially in the minds
of lawmakers, explains Dr. Deborah Kochevar, dean of Tuft's veterinary medical program.
"We're finding that people don't understand the breadth of the profession and its economic impact," she says. "We want our
state veterinary medical associations to be able to better educate people by using these statistics. If it allows them to
develop better legislative relationships in their respective states, that's great."
The fruits of those relationships, Kochevar hopes, eventually will include funds to expand New England's only veterinary medical
program. While pundits from across the country predict a national, even global shortage of DVMs, "Veterinary Medicine in New
England: State-by-State Industry Characteristics and Economic Impacts" forecasts 1,036 regional vacancies for veterinarians
by 2014, provided by new job creation and an aging work force. With an average 60 percent of new graduates remaining in New
England (the school churns out approximately 82 new veterinarians each year), trend data estimate 658 new vacancies, creating
a deficit of DVMs.
That future shortage appears to extend beyond clinical practice, which accounts for 78 percent of veterinary medicine employment
in the region.
Commercial scientific research and development, including pharmaceutical research and development, requires animal-health
and husbandry services provided by DVMs, the study shows.
"The market for veterinary scientists and pathologists is huge and absolutely is growing," Kochevar says. "I'm impressed by
how much the veterinary medical profession gives to the biotech industry. It serves pharmaceutical and medical device companies
in key ways."
Expenditures in scientific research and development top $400,000 annually, accounting for 23.5 percent of total veterinary
medicine spending. Fourteen percent of New England's veterinary-medicine employment comes from that sector.