AVMA seeks passage of debt-reduction legislation

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On the basis of a recommendation from the AVMA Animal Agriculture Liaison Committee, the Association has made passage of the National Veterinary Medical Service Act one of its legislative priorities.

The Executive Board authorized devoting the necessary resources to gain passage of the bill (H.R. 1367), which provides debt assistance or scholarship programs to veterinary students who agree to work after graduation in underserved areas.

Members of the AVMA committee see the veterinary service act as a means of redressing the shortage of food animal veterinarians and veterinarians working in rural areas.

During board deliberations, AVMA Vice President Thomas R. Kendall noted that students he's spoken with support the bill. Many newly graduated veterinarians would be eager to participate in the debt-reduction program, Dr. Kendall added.

Mississippi Rep. Charles "Chip" Pickering introduced the National Veterinary Medical Service Act in March 2003. The House Committee on Agriculture is currently reviewing it.