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!


This State of My Head

By: Lindsey Thomas

Class of 2013, Louisiana State University

I think this poem is appropriate for the end of finals and graduation. Together we will make it through :) Thanks, Lindsey for your submission.


This state of my head,

Like a not-so-solid pearl,

Is not what I know.

I am not insane

(At least not right now)

Though I see dinosaurs in the skin

Of my fingers

And ocean waves in a blue thread

And I fear the fourth.

Wow, what is that looking at me

In the reflection of a lamp?

Life is no book

(Unless, of course, it’s a biography)

Quit thinking you are not good enough

Just stop right there (but don’t stop everything)

You are

They thought so

They think so

So it must be so

(But no one really knows me)

Keep it straight! Know why you’re there.

Wow, the lines are almost beautiful.

Little miniature empty cages

My love will be gone

Far, far away! (Yes, it is far.)

Okay, do it now.

Refuse to break down.

Refuse to be weak, vulnerable,


Take advantage of the minutes in a day

And hold on tight--

The edge of the rocker is better than nothing. =)


December 24, 2009


Veterinary Students Take on Washington, D.C.

By : Susan Dugat

Class of 2011, Texas A&M University

Over 60 veterinary students representing 24 veterinary schools gathered at the Dupont Hotel in Washington, D.C. February 1-2, 2010 for the 2nd annual Veterinary Student Legislative Day.  The program is organized by the Student AVMA Governmental Affairs Committee and the AVMA Governmental Relations Division (GRD) as an interactive discussion and educational program about advocacy and the legislative process.  Students flew from all across the United States, the Caribbean, and Canada, many taking time over the weekend to tour the nation’s capital as a snowstorm covered the city under inches of white.

Click to read more ...