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Calling All Vet Students 



Do you have an opinion on how veterinary medical education should be changing to meet the needs of today’s profession? About new competencies that new grads should possess? About the cost and quality of your education? About the make-up of veterinary curricula? (I have yet to meet a veterinary student who doesn’t have thoughts on those topics!)

Here’s your chance to send your opinion to the very top!

Students are not the only ones with these concerns.  The North American Veterinary Medical Education Consortium (NAVMEC), in conjunction with the many arms of veterinary medicine- the AVMA Council on Education, the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges, the National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, various CVM’s, American Association of Veterinary State Boards, and others- has taken a comprehensive look at veterinary education in light of such concerns. Out of the Consortium came a report with 5 specific goals: Day #1 Competencies, All-Career Curricula, More investment in CVM’s, Hi-Quality and Cost Effective Education, and Urgency & Action. Each of these goals and subsequent strategies is addressed in NAVMEC’s report, available on their website at

And now- where you come in! NAVMEC has opened a comment period on their report lasting until May 1, 2011. By visiting their website and clicking on “View Draft Report” near the bottom of the page, you can provide your feedback on NAVMEC’s work. Opinions from vital stakeholders-the students- will be reaching the eyes and ears of the regulatory agencies and bodies that most need to hear them. This is YOUR profession. This is YOUR education- take part! Speak up!



A French "Faux Paw" 

By Caroline Menghini

Texas A and M University

Class of 2012


Two summers ago I landed a dream job as a summer extern at a busy small animal practice in Paris, France. I managed to convince the vet there that my French was adequate enough for me to work an entire summer. I don’t consider myself fluent, but I can read pretty well and carry on a decent conversation.  

My first day went well and the veterinarians treated me to lunch at their favorite café down the street. I envisioned myself speaking French for the duration of the lunch break in order to impress the vets and gain rapport with the locals. I mostly just sat there listening as the veterinarians discussed their cases for the day and some drama happening at the clinic. Any questions directed at me were answered briefly and with energetic nodding.  I felt anxious about my rusty French skills and I was upset that I had accidentally ordered a salad with tuna in it because I couldn’t properly translate the menu.

At the end of the meal the waiter came around to clear the table. He glanced down at my plate and saw that I had eaten a small portion of the salad and shoveled the rest around on the plate like a six year old avoiding his broccoli.  I tried to redeem myself by continuing to speak French.  Seeing his concerned facial expression I assured him, “Je suis plein.”  He suddenly broke out into an enormous smile followed by obnoxious laughter.  I looked over at the vets who were vigorously shaking their heads and looking rather embarrassed.  I had just made a big rookie mistake. “Je suis plein” directly translated into English means “ I am full.” In French however, “Je suis plein” means “I am a pregnant animal.”  Being in the company of veterinarians made this even more ironic and hilarious for everyone I’m sure. Mortified, I tried to recover by saying what I should have said, which is “Je n'ai pas faim,” meaning “I am no longer hungry.” Too late.  My feeble response wasn’t audible over the laughter.  We left the café tout de suite and thankfully the vets never mentioned the incident again, at least not in my presence.  Needless to say, I never went back to that café with them. Instead, I chose to eat baguette sandwiches at a local park while brushing up on my French vocabulary.



Veterinary Students Get Involved in the Legislative Process 

By: Katie Zatroch,

The Ohio State University, Class of 2013


      53 students representing 21 different veterinary schools met at the Doubletree Hotel in Washington, D.C. February 7-8, 2011 for the 3rd annual Student Legislative Fly In. Sponsorship provided by Merial, the AVMA, and SAVMA allowed veterinary students from across the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean to attend. Organized by the AVMA’s Governmental Relations Division (GRD) and SAVMA’s Governmental Affairs Committee (GAC), the program focuses on presenting current legislative issues affecting the veterinary profession, demonstrating the impact that veterinarians can have in the realm of advocacy, and preparing veterinary students for participation in the legislative process.

      On the first day of the program, after an introduction to the program and the city of Washington, D.C. by Dr. Mark Lutschaunig, Director of the GRD, students participated in a panel discussion with current (Dr. Whitney Miller) and former (Drs. Stic Harris and Doug Meckes) participants in the AVMA Congressional Science Fellowship Program. This program allows veterinarians to serve as scientific advisors to Members of Congress for one year. Each participant communicated the personal and professional growth afforded by the challenging and fast-paced lifestyle that comes with the program.

      Participants listened to Dr. Ellen Carlin, a staffer for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security, and Dr. Melinda Cep, Legislative Assistant for the Office of Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-3), share their experiences in the legislative process in Washington, D.C. From them, students were able to gain a better sense of what life is like as a professional staffer. The program then delved into the impact that can be made by the efforts of grassroots politics, as presented by Kay Johnson Smith, Executive Vice President of the Animal Agriculture Alliance. Her presentation focused on emerging animal welfare issues and the veterinarian’s role in educating the public. Stephanie Fisher, Grassroots Coordinator for the AVMA, followed with a presentation about staying involved and continuing to make a difference in the political arena as a practicing veterinarian. She stressed utilization of the AVMA Congressional Advocacy Network (AVMA-CAN), a social media outreach project of the GRD. After a luncheon during which Dr. Suzanne Causey, Technical Service Veterinarian of Merial, spoke to the students, Adrian Hochstadt, Assistant Director of the AVMA State Legislative and Regulatory Affairs, gave a presentation on current issues in veterinary medicine and their influence on state politics. He focused upon how the AVMA assists state VMAs and the importance of veterinarians in public policy.

      After this series of presentations invigorated the students about the possibilities that lie ahead, it was time to direct that excitement toward the immediate opportunity to make an impact—the next day’s Capitol Hill visits. Attendees spent the afternoon getting prepped by the members of the GRD. Students were given an overview of how the GRD offices work, and information as to how to navigate Capitol Hill. Gina Luke, Assistant Director of the GRD, presented two advocacy issues that were the focus of the Fly In’s Capitol Hill visits. Students learned the details of the Veterinary Services Investment Act and the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Enhancement Act, and were given fact sheets to supplement their visits with legislative offices. Participants used these materials to practice delivering information in mock visits.

      After having time to process the information presented throughout Monday’s activities, students and GRD staff gathered on Tuesday morning and departed for Capitol Hill. Once there, Fly In attendees listened to a Q&A session with congressional staffers in the Committee on Agriculture Hearing Room. After a glimpse into the inner workings of Capitol Hill and the importance of informed and enthusiastic young people taking part in the legislative process, the group prepared themselves for an afternoon of advocacy.

      Students met with staffers in their state legislators’ offices and asking for original co-sponsorship of the Veterinary Services Investment Act. This act, which would establish a matching grant program for developing, implementing and sustaining veterinary services throughout the United States. Students also asked for co-sponsorship of the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Enhancement Act., This act, which would make the current VMRLP, a grant program designed to relieve veterinary shortages in underserved areas, exempt from gross income and employment taxes. Following the day of meetings, attendees gathered at the GRD office for lunch and a discussion of Capitol Hill visits with Dr. Lutschaunig and other members of the GRD staff.

      After a two-day whirlwind of learning and mounting excitement for the coming visits, the students were able to settle in to the concept of presenting ideas that promote the veterinary profession within the framework of their personal experiences as students saddled with debt, anxious about the job search, and eager to maintain the vitality of the veterinary profession. Time will tell how attendees’ effort will be rewarded in this Congressional session, but those who were able to participate already consider the Student Legislative Day a success. With a new sense of appreciation for the legislative process and the eagerness to be at the table where decisions are made, students are now equipped with the tools to have a lifelong influence in the political realm!      


Want to know what is going on in D.C. in real time?

Like the AVMA-CAN  Facebook page or checkout their website!

AVMA-CAN on Facebook

AVMA-CAN Website




By: Emily Waggoner

University of Georgia

Class of 2013   



Trivia Results

Here's the Trivia Q and A from this round of Vet Gazette Submission. There were lots of correct answers- thanks to all who submitted!

Congratulations to our winner Amanda Smith from the University of Illinois.

Q:  2 schools were recently granted accreditation by the AVMA Council on Education for the first time.  Which schools are they, where are they located, and for how long does veterinary accreditation last?


1. National Autonomous University of Mexico School of Veterinary Medicine (Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia Ciudad Universitaria), Mexico City
2. Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in St. Kitts, West Indies

Their Veterinary accreditation lasts 7 years.