New SCAVMA at WesternU garners 100 percent membership

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Members of the charter class at the Western University of Health Sciences College of Veterinary Medicine in Pomona, Calif., gathered this past Nov. 10 to witness a historic moment in the life of their new college.

Inside the college's atrium, Avery Woodworth (WES '07) accepted the charter for the WesternU Student Chapter of the AVMA from Dr. Rosemary LoGiudice, assistant director of the AVMA Membership and Field Services Division and Student AVMA adviser. Woodworth is president of this newest student chapter.

Woodworth later said, "We as the charter class of Western University College of Veterinary Medicine are honored to have received the first charter of the AVMA in many years. We recognize the true value of being a part of the AVMA.

"Our new membership means we are officially a part of the veterinary community. We are looking forward to learning from and working with the veterinary professionals who are to become our colleagues."

WesternU President Philip Pumerantz, PhD, and Dr. Shirley Johnston, dean of the college, were among the guests at the ceremony. Afterward, the SCAVMA held its first official meeting as a chartered chapter. Joining Woodworth on the slate of charter officers are Ciara Vollaro (WES '07), vice president; Lindsay Ellithorpe (WES '07), secretary; and Vinutha Gowda (WES '07), treasurer.

To establish the student chapter, WesternU met all the requirements set forth in the AVMA and Student AVMA constitutions and bylaws, and Dean Johnston requested the charter. AVMA President Jack O. Walther, Executive Board Chairman Joe M. Howell, and Executive Vice President Bruce W. Little signed the document.

One of the prerequisites for obtaining the charter was having at least 60 percent of the college's veterinary students as members. WesternU's SCAVMA is off to a strong start, with 100 percent of its 86 students as SCAVMA members.

Dr. LoGiudice, who enjoyed a tour of the college, later said, "The students at WesternU are extremely enthusiastic. They're basically pioneers in a brand-new curriculum, starting at the ground floor, and they're excited. Their enthusiasm is obvious from the 100 percent membership in their student chapter."

The WesternU College of Veterinary Medicine, which is provisionally accredited by the AVMA Council on Education, has a problem-based curriculum that focuses on student-centered learning, in contrast to the traditional, didactic curriculum.

Dr. John Jacobson will serve as the WesternU SCAVMA's first faculty adviser. Of the students, he said, "Their level of enthusiasm is incredible. It's extremely fun to be with a group that's intense on learning and focused on doing their best. Anybody who spends any amount of time in our problem-based learning session knows that there's something special about the experience. To see these new ideas unfold is both exciting and scary."

Karen Eiler (WES '07) will represent WesternU in the Student AVMA House of Delegates. The SAVMA HOD now comprises delegates from all 28 U.S. veterinary schools and colleges, and the Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island in Canada. Likewise, the 28 U.S. veterinary schools and colleges plus Prince Edward Island now have SCAVMA charters.

The veterinary schools at Ross and St. George's universities in the West Indies are associate organizations in the SAVMA HOD, since they are not AVMA accredited.