The American Veterinary Medical Foundation announced May 5 the inaugural class of Pfizer Veterinary Student Scholars.
Pfizer Animal Health will provide up to $2 million in scholarships, administered in partnership with the Foundation, over the first three years of the program (see JAVMA, Nov. 1, 2009).
This year, 222 second- and third-year students representing all 28 U.S. schools and colleges of veterinary medicine will cumulatively receive $555,000, or $2,500 individually.
The student scholars were selected on the basis of several criteria, including academic excellence, leadership, and potential for contributing to food animal or food safety veterinary medicine.
The Department of Agriculture currently anticipates that demand for food animal veterinarians will increase 12 percent to 13 percent by 2016. According to a 2009 AVMA survey, mean debt for veterinary students who graduated with educational debt in 2009 was $129,976, whereas mean starting salary for graduates entering private veterinary practice was $65,185.
The initiative is meant to demonstrate the two entities' support for veterinary education and encourage more students to be large animal veterinarians.
"This scholarship program is a huge investment in the future of veterinary medicine," said Michael Cathey, AVMF executive director. "Pfizer has recognized the gaps and has set out to proactively and generously help address them."
Besides the student scholarship program, Pfizer Animal Health has supported the veterinary profession with more than $15 million invested this past year in universities, industry education and training, scholarships, and allied organizations, according to the press release.
For a list of this year's scholarship recipients, click here.