July 01, 2006


 College News - July 1, 2006

posted June 15, 2006

Kansas veterinary students can work off debt in rural practice


The goal of the new Veterinary Training Program for Rural Kansas is to benefit veterinary students and rural communities.

The program will allow veterinary students at Kansas State University to receive $20,000 for educational expenses in exchange for each year they spend working in the rural Kansas community after graduation. The state's legislature and governor recently approved a new law and funding to establish the program.

Dr. Ralph Richardson, dean of Kansas State's College of Veterinary Medicine, said the program will provide an incentive and opportunity for graduates to practice in rural communities and serve the livestock industry.

Dr. Richardson said many reports reveal shortages of large animal veterinarians, even though many graduates would like to practice in a rural setting. One reason for not pursuing rural practice is an inability to earn enough income to repay educational debt, he said, but the new program might help remove that stumbling block.

The program will accept a maximum of five students each year, starting in their first year of veterinary college. Each student will receive $20,000 annually for up to four years to cover tuition and training expenses. For debt forgiveness, graduates must spend the same number of years practicing veterinary medicine full time in any Kansas county with a population of 35,000 or less.

Iowa State, Nebraska pursuing cooperative veterinary program


A new agreement would allow Nebraskans studying veterinary medicine to take their classes through the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources for the first two years and Iowa State University's College of Veterinary Medicine for the final two years.

The cooperative program has won most approvals at the college, university, and state levels. Iowa State also has been consulting with the AVMA Council on Education, which considers all of a college's programs during accreditation.

Iowa State is in the midst of seeking full accreditation status from the council, which downgraded the college to limited accreditation in 2004. Dean John U. Thomson said the cooperative program would fit into a five-year plan to expand veterinary facilities and faculty while improving finances.

Similar programs are rather rare in veterinary medicine. Oregon State University established a veterinary college in 1975, so it is phasing out a program that sent students to Washington State University after two years. Most states without veterinary colleges contract with colleges in other states to educate students for all four years.

Nebraska has been contracting with Iowa State while the universities work toward a cooperative program. Iowa State accepted 25 first-year students from Nebraska for the first time in fall 2005—and will accept 25 more this fall. The cooperative program would allow 25 first-year students to start their education at the University of Nebraska in 2007.

Dr. Thomson said the program would combine the strengths of two universities. Iowa State has programs in swine and dairy cattle, while the University of Nebraska's agriculture institute focuses more on beef cattle in the Department of Veterinary & Biomedical Sciences and the Department of Animal Science. Dr. Donald Draper, associate dean for academic and student affairs at Iowa State, said Nebraska also offers training opportunities through two zoos and an Omaha animal shelter.

Nevertheless, the agreement with Nebraska has highlighted concerns about whether Iowa State has enough space and staff to accommodate classes that now average 120 students. The cooperative program could raise the class size to as many as 145 students in each of the clinical third and fourth years.

Dr. Thomson said Iowa State is spending about $51 million to expand the teaching hospital, partially in response to Council on Education recommendations following a 2003 site visit. Along with the increase in students, the five-year plan includes renovating laboratories and lecture halls while adding 30 faculty positions to improve the student-faculty ratio.

At the college's invitation, the council visited again in 2005 specifically to offer advice about the cooperative program.

Dr. Draper said the cooperative program could be an advantage for Iowa State's accreditation status. He said the program will not only synergize resources, but also enhance revenues for both institutions.

Under the current contract, Nebraskans at Iowa State's veterinary college pay the same tuition as Iowa residents—with Nebraska paying the difference between resident and nonresident tuition. Under the cooperative program, Nebraska would receive the first two years of tuition from the Nebraska students. Iowa State would accommodate the additional Nebraska students only in the third and fourth years.

Members of the Council on Education visited Iowa State and Nebraska to consult on the program for a second time from May 30-31. Dr. Donald Simmons, director of the AVMA Education and Research Division, said a full site visit will be necessary to investigate resources and potential outcomes at both universities if they move forward with the cooperative program.


Shelter medicine grants available to veterinary schools, colleges


Maddie's Fund has revised its grant guidelines to give veterinary schools and colleges more opportunities to apply for shelter medicine funding.

The program is designed to address the need for veterinary staff at shelters to maintain wellness programs and comprehensive treatment programs for the very young, sick, injured, and poorly behaved animals.

A private foundation dedicated to the welfare of companion animals, Maddie's Fund will support veterinary schools and colleges seeking to establish shelter medicine programs operating under the no-kill philosophy. Shelter medicine grant options include a Comprehensive Shelter Medicine Program, Shelter Medicine Teaching and Research Program, Shelter Medicine Course, Shelter Medicine Seminar, and Shelter Medicine Externship.

Applicant must be faculty veterinarians. There is an open deadline for applications. Grant guidelines and eligibility requirements are available at the Maddie's Web site, www.maddiesfund.org.


Royal Veterinary College joins AAVMC


The Royal Veterinary College recently become an affiliate member of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges.

Dating back to 1791, the RVC is the oldest and largest veterinary college in the United Kingdom. It is a leading veterinary research center for Europe and also supports the profession through referring hospitals, diagnostic services, and continuing education.


Dean retires at Louisiana State


Louisiana State University's School of Veterinary Medicine recently announced the retirement of Dean Michael G. Groves, effective June 30, and the appointment of Dr. Peter F. Haynes as interim dean. A search committee has been appointed.

Dr. Groves became dean in 1999. He joined the faculty in 1990 as head of the Department of Epidemiology and Community Health and later also served as director of the Louisiana Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory. He is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine and the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists.

Dr. Haynes became executive associate dean in 2000. He joined the faculty in 1974 as an equine surgeon. Dr. Haynes also has represented the American Association of Equine Practitioners in the AVMA House of Delegates, and he has represented the HOD on the AVMA Task Force on Animal Welfare Governance and the AVMA Long-Range Planning Committee. He is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons.