A response to charges of elitism in veterinary accreditation controversy
This letter is in response to Mr. Mark Cushing’s blog posts of Oct 27 and Oct 21 accusing those of us who want to reform veterinary school accreditation of elitism. We level his own charge back at him: “Is it really necessary to attack hard-working DVM graduates in such a harsh manner?”
We are a group of veterinarians—some associates and some owners—with a long history of practice and no ties to academia. We certainly are not “elite Ivy League school progeny, a tiny sample of large land grant schools and a cohort of advocates for reducing the number of veterinarians in America.”
We are united in support our esteemed colleague, Dr. Robert Marshak, and the many other academic veterinarians who’ve joined him in submitting comments to the federal government’s National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI). We believe the current system of accreditation suffers from inconsistency, lack of transparency and interference from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).
Rather than advocating to keep a decades-old educational system, we are advocating to reform the decades-old system of accreditation. We advocate for an accrediting body as autonomous as the NBVME (National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners) and modeled on the independent accrediting body for human medicine, the LCME (Liaison Committee on Medical Education).
We have worked—without compensation and certainly without being part of the entrenched power structure—to educate and inform our colleagues by making primary resources available to them. We dug into our own pockets and cut into our own time for this. We created a tool to make it easy to submit comments to NACIQI, we collated those comments and continue to compile background material. We built a website to make all that freely available 24/7 to anyone who wants it. We want people to understand the issues surrounding accreditation and make up their own minds.
We are saddened by Mr. Cushing’s inflammatory comments. We see his planned series of blog posts as a ploy intended to create strife, divide the veterinary profession and prevent change—change we are bringing about, the transformational changes called for by Dr. Karl Wise himself at Tuesday’s AVMA Veterinary Economic Summit.
We understand Mr. Cushing’s opposition. The changes we are bringing about threaten his bottom line. After all, he gets paid by new schools to get them accredited—Ross, UNAM, LMU, Midwestern and maybe more. We worry some readers may be unaware that his financial interests may influence his writing.
We welcome all colleagues to join in open and transparent conversation as we find creative ways to help those who founded our profession use their wisdom and experience in support of new graduates, current veterinary students and those who will join us in the future. We believe we will be successful in changing the course of our profession because we are bringing practitioners, non-practitioners and academics together. Together we can change our common destiny.
Please feel free to contact any of us. We look forward to meaningful and spirited dialogue.