Tracking in Vet School

By: Justin Graham

University of Georgia, Class of 2013

All creatures great and small – the classic James Herriot book has exemplified what has been the traditional view of a veterinarian, readily capable of treating all animals from the barnyard to the household.  Over the years as the general public has clung to this romantic idea, the veterinary profession itself has been gradually diverging and become increasingly specialized.  This divergence has raised the debate over whether vet schools should be focusing on the traditional broad-based, comparative medicine curriculum or on a more specialized, tracking curriculum.  Changing times call for changing paradigms and it is time for vet schools to begin embracing the idea of a specialized profession with a career tracking curriculum.

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The NAVMEC, is it an acronym worth remembering?

By: Matthew Inniss

Louisiana State University, Class of 2014



We all know the day to day trials of being a veterinary student. Sometimes we think to ourselves that it would be nice if someone could identify with the “old wooden roller coaster ride,” known as veterinary school, in an effort to make it a little less “bumpy.” Lucky, for all the students with this thought on their mind, instead of what’s on the next neurology test, their wish has been granted.

The North American Veterinary Medical Education Consortium was formed for just this purpose. Of course, the purpose is more properly outlined beyond the point of vision of an “old wooden roller coaster ride,” but the intent is the same. The NAVMEC was formed in 2009 under the umbrella organization known as the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC). The goal of the NAVMEC is to review current methods of veterinary education in order to identify points of improvement, for the future education of veterinarians.  The group was formed by invitation. Members of the not only the veterinary profession but the medical and dental profession were asked to participate in the consortium. There are two types of membership or participation that recognized by the NAVMEC. Co-Sponsors are designated by their financial contribution to the efforts of the consortium. There are also those members that are not financial contributors, but still have desires to aid in the efforts of the consortium.

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USDA accepting applications for veterinary loan repayment program

A federal notice has gone out requesting applications for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP), which will provide up to $25,000 of student loan debt relief per year for a minimum of three-years service in designated shortage areas across the United States.

The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), which is running the program, also released maps of state- and federally-designated shortage areas on its website, along with eligibility requirements, FAQs and application forms.

Applications will be accepted until June 30, with awards being offered by September 30.

Dr. Kevin Dajka, director of the Membership and Field Services Division at the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), says the VMLRP is a great opportunity for recent veterinary school graduates to pay off a substantial portion of their student debt, while providing a much-needed boost to critically underserved areas of veterinary medicine.

"Graduates coming out of veterinary school are carrying about $130,000 in educational debt," said Dr. Dajka. "The VMLRP will help ease this financial burden for a number of veterinarians, while encouraging them to practice in areas of the country and profession that are in desperate need of veterinary help, such as rural America and food supply veterinary medicine."

AVMA leaders, who have spent the better part of the last decade championing this program and its funding, are thrilled that federal debt relief will soon be made available for veterinarians working, or willing to work, in underserved areas.

"This is the culmination of years of effort by America's veterinarians and by the USDA to get this program launched," said Dr. W. Ron DeHaven, CEO of the AVMA. "The AVMA is committed to continue working with NIFA to ensure the program is successfully implemented, and we will continue to advocate for annual funding for this program and to make the program tax exempt."

For more information, contact Michael San Filippo, AVMA media relations assistant, at 847-285-6687 (office), 847-732-6194 (cell).


Clinics scramble and other fun

I just wanted to update those out there about the ongoings of your loyal editor of The Vet Gazette. I've been quite busy with the start of clinics--it's a lot of work to come up with differentials AND at the same time have to figure out where the paper towel dispenser is in the ER!

The first week of June took me to Post Falls, Idaho to participate in the AVMA Veterinary Leadership Experience. If you haven't heard of the VLE, I encourage you to read more about it at:

The week-long experience brings together students, faculty and industry veterinarians from around the world to learn leadership skills and communication tools, culminating in how to apply those skills to the real world of practicing veterinary medicine. What I really love about the experience is meeting so many different people but finding out how many things we have in common. I even got to learn a little Arabic. Marhaba! (That means hello)

This week I've traveled north to Schaumburg, Illinois to participate in the Task Force on AVMA Programs for Students and Recent Graduates. We just got started this morning, but there are a dozen veterinarians and students committed to evaluating the programs that are available to students and what the next move can be to improve. How has the AVMA benefited you as a student member? I would love to hear from my readers on what you like about AVMA and what you think can be improved. Help me make the student voice be heard!

Thanks for reading, and thanks for your submissions. Your regularly scheduled content should be returning in the next couple weeks.


Summer Sun

By: Melissa Herberer

Class of 2012, University of Nebraska/Iowa State University

I love how this palomino blends into the bright summer sky. Time to enjoy the beauty of summer!