'Roadmap' unveiled for veterinary profession's future


'Roadmap' unveiled for veterinary profession's future

Nov 18, 2010

Washington -- A plan to develop a sustainable, economically viable model for veterinary education is the key element in a report recently issued by the North American Veterinary Medical Education Consortium (NAVMEC) after more than a year of national meetings with key stakeholders from throughout the profession.

Five strategic goals and 20 recommendations that NAVMEC hopes will help serve as a “roadmap” for the future of veterinary education were unveiled in the NAVMEC draft report October 20. The report was submitted to the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges’ (AAVMC) Board of Directors for review and comment from AAVMC and other stakeholders in the veterinary profession. The goal is to keep the vetting and consultative period open until February 2011 so that the NAVMEC Board can deliver a final revision of the report to AAVMC by March 2011.

The five strategic goals outlined in the draft report are to:
• Graduate career-ready veterinarians that are educated and skilled in a standardized set of core competencies;
• Ensure that admissions, curricula, accreditation and testing/licensure are competency driven;
• Find a way to educate and train veterinarians in a cost-effective manner; and
• Stimulate a profession-wide sense of urgency and focus on action.

Twenty recommendations for how best to achieve these goals follow in the report, and include using NAVMEC’s list of core competencies to help veterinary colleges create their curricula, include the core competencies into the American Veterinary Medical Association’s standards of accreditation, revise NAVLE to optimize evaluation of those core competencies, share educational resources among veterinary colleges, and provide financial counseling to veterinary medical students in each year of study. Limited licensure and shortening the veterinary program were some suggestions not adopted in the report.

“Veterinary medical education and the veterinary profession are at a crossroads, facing and uncertain future and rapidly changing societal needs,” says AAVMC President and NAVMEC Board member Dr. Willie Reed, dean of Purdue’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “The AAVMC Board of Directors recognizes and appreciates the generous level of thought, labor and energy which went into the drafting of the NAVMEC roadmap by all participants and now seeks the input of all those who participated and other stakeholders, partners, clients and the public in assessing the findings and recommendations contained in the draft report.

“The NAVMEC Board took seriously the crossroad the profession is currently facing to fulfill the consortium’s mission by gathering the full spectrum of stakeholders, including the major drivers of change in academia, accreditation, testing and licensure, to provide input about veterinary education and the profession’s evolving role in society,” adds Dr. Bennie Osburn, dean of the University of California-Davis veterinary school and chair of the NAVMEC Board of Directors.

“This comprehensive report, therefore, will help schools and colleges launch change in a coordinated fashion for the first time in history to advance veterinary education and, ultimately, the profession’s role in society.”

The existing NAVMEC Board of Directors will continue to have oversight of the project until April 2011, when AAVMC will take over the task of implementing the plan and collaborating with stakeholders.

The full report is available for review at comment at www.navmec.org.