June 22, 2010


 USDA seeking volunteers to help select student loan repayment recipients


The Department of Agriculture needs volunteers to help select the veterinarians who will receive money to repay student loans in exchange for work in underserved areas.

Veterinarians who volunteer and are chosen to serve as panelists will help determine the recipients of money through the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program. Each of the 30 panelists needs to be a veterinarian who understands food supply veterinary medicine and the challenges facing those who would serve in shortage situations.

The program is authorized by the National Veterinary Medical Service Act, which was signed into law in December 2003. The USDA invited applications through a notice published this spring and set a June 30 deadline for receipt of applications.

The panelists will spend about 20 hours each reviewing candidate applications during the first three weeks of August, and will attend an approximately 2 1/2-day meeting in late August at the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture headquarters in Washington, D.C. The department will pay for travel expenses and provide an honorarium for each panelist.

Veterinarians interested in volunteering as panelists need to provide their names, e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, and one- or two-page biographic sketches to program specialist Lisa Stephens at lstephens@nifa.usda.gov. The USDA is also asking for information such as gender, race, ethnicity, geographic location, and career stage to help the department create a diverse panel.

Nominations or self-nominations for panelists are due by July 14.