November 15, 2010


 Caribbean school scheduled for accreditation visit

By Malinda Larkin
Posted Nov. 1, 2010

Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine is one step closer to becoming accredited by the AVMA Council on Education. 

The school, located in St. Kitts, West Indies, was notified in late September that it had been approved for a comprehensive accreditation site visit Jan. 16-20, 2011. 

The COE grants accreditation status to foreign schools and colleges of veterinary medicine on the basis of compliance with the 11 standards of accreditation. 

Students at Ross University School of Veterinary
Medicine observe their professor during class.

Foreign colleges are required to undergo a preliminary or consultative site visit to determine their preparedness for a comprehensive site visit and are required to correct all deficiencies identified by the consultative site team before requesting a comprehensive site visit.

The Ross veterinary school submitted a self-study report to the COE in July 2006, and the council conducted a consultative site visit Sept. 17-21, 2006.

According to Ross' website, the COE noted that the school needed to build a large animal isolation facility and expand its research program. In addition, the council suggested that, as the research program expands, Ross should assess the need to increase faculty and support staff and consider implementing Americans with Disabilities Act standards in its facilities, the website said.

In February 2009, Ross submitted a progress report to the COE detailing upgrades to its facilities and programmatic improvements. However, at its March 2009 meeting, the council denied the school's request to conduct a comprehensive site visit. Another self-study was submitted to the council this past July, and this time the council, after reviewing the self-study, notified the school that it has been approved for a comprehensive accreditation site visit.

Jodi S. Peeler, assistant dean for external relations and communications at Ross, told JAVMA News, "(The school) is in the midst of the next phase in the process and would prefer not to remark on the accreditation as to not influence the decision of the AVMA (COE)."

Ross' veterinary school is already fully accredited by the St. Christopher (St. Kitts) & Nevis Accreditation Board, which is proctored by that nation's Ministry of Education.

Students complete their basic science curriculum at the St. Kitts campus and their clinical rotations at 22 U.S., COE-accredited veterinary schools and their teaching hospitals. To date, the school has graduated more than 2,400 veterinarians, a large share of whom are U.S. citizens.

Because the school is currently not COE-accredited, Ross graduates must still pass an equivalence examination before practicing in the United States. However, some states, such as Ohio, exempt them from completing the AVMA Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates program or the American Association of Veterinary State Boards' Program for the Assessment of Veterinary Education Equivalence prior to applying for licensure.

If Ross were to become COE-accredited, graduates would not be required to pass an equivalence examination prior to applying for licensure to practice in the United States, as is the case for graduates of the nine veterinary schools outside the United States and Canada currently recognized by the council.