"Admission to veterinary schools are flat right now, and at the same time, academic veterinary medicine does not have the
space, facilities and funding to educate the number of DVMs needed to meet society's needs," Perryman says. "Despite the obstacles,
we need to buy into this concept of a focused educational experience and focused licensure. It will take some time and conversation,
but I think all of these challenges can be met."
On the move
Dr. Bennie Osburn appears equally optimistic and eager to implement change. The dean of the University of California-Davis
School of Veterinary Medicine plans to gently increase the program's tracking toward dairy practice. He notes the California
Veterinary Medical Association is in talks with the state's regulatory board to define the possibility of limiting licensure
and there's a push among The Regents of the University of California to fund a new veterinary school with a clinical focus
near San Diego.
"We think focused programs and tracking is a good way to go," he says. "It allows us to put out a new graduate product that's
better prepared to serve the industries we need outside of companion-animal practice. I think tracking veterinary programs
as well as licensure is a logical step forward as long as we are assured there's a reasonable means of preparing individuals
who want to make major steps in changing career directions."
While the report's reception among veterinary leaders in academia has incited largely positive reactions, the concept of tracking
licensure and limiting the current workforce's authority to certain areas isn't expected to bode well among DVMs.
While human medicine does not employ such licensure restrictions, regulatory boards and legal constraints have created an
environment that facilitates educational tracking and specialization.
The concept might be a tough sell in veterinary medicine, but it's necessary to prepare for a future that's changing, Willis
"Making it so a veterinarian wouldn't be licensed in all fields is a major, major step," he says. "But veterinary medicine
is at a transition point. Demands to lengthen the course of education create a problem concerning the student debt load and
remuneration. Tracking licensure allows people to focus on a specific area and intensify their expertise as opposed to trying
to cover everything. I truly believe that not making this change in this direction is going to hold the profession back."