NAVMEC board prepares to draw 'roadmap' for change

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Sep 01, 2010

LAS VEGAS — After months of accumulating ideas from the top minds in veterinary education and practice, the North American Veterinary Medical Education Consortium (NAVMEC) is ready to sum up its observations about the future of veterinary education from three national meetings.

The meetings, which took place in February, April and July in Las Vegas and Kansas City, highlighted some of the issues facing veterinary education, specifically how best to educate future DVMs as society's needs change and schools face growing financial difficulties.

Now NAVMEC, launched in 2009 by the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC), will work to create a summary report of all the ideas, concerns and suggestions brought up at the meetings to help the AAVMC Executive Board create a strategy the veterinary colleges can use.

"I think there is recognition that this is the time that we really have to be making some serious alterations in the way we deliver veterinary education," says Dr. Mary Beth Leininger, NAVMEC's project manager. "A lot of things have come together, and this is a time where we really have to be making a difference."

What has made NAVMEC's efforts different than past attempts to help veterinary education move forward is that the group was seeking not to only identify problems with the current system, but also to find solutions, taking into consideration not only education, but also licensure and accreditation needs.

"From my perspective, that's what set the consortium apart," Leininger says. "Education is not just a single thing — it's all this stuff."

The more than 100 participants at each of NAVMEC's national meetings were adamant that there be an action plan put together at the end of the process so the ideas that came out of the series of meetings were not forgotten.

"Now we're getting to where the rubber meets the road, and what do we do with all these great ideas?" Leininger says. "At this point, I think the board is looking at all the suggestions and choosing what they feel will have the most opportunity for success. What we're really hoping to provide is sort of a roadmap for change."

It will be up to each individual school to implement change, but the hope is that the education system will recognize the value of the "brain trust" available to NAVMEC and the foundation it offered for great ideas for the future.

"AAVMC does not have any regulatory powers over schools, but what I see is the opportunity to provide some really good ideas and each of the schools can take it from there," Leininger says.

Leininger hopes NAVMEC will deliver its report to AAVMC's board in October, but no completion date has been set for AAVMC's action plan.

For more information about NAVMEC or to read summary reports from each of the three national meetings, visit http://www.navmec.org.