NAVMEC ready for implementation

Final report to be published online
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Save for some last-minute editing, work on the final report of the North American Veterinary Medical Education Consortium has wrapped up.


The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges board of directors gave its approval July 17 during its summer meeting. The NAVMEC board had voted in favor of the document earlier this year.

The five strategic goals of the report are as follows:

  • Graduate career-ready veterinarians who are educated and skilled in an agreed-upon set of core competencies.
  • Ensure that admissions, curricula, accreditation, and testing and licensure are competence-driven.
  • Strive for a veterinarian's education that is maximally cost-effective.
  • Ensure that an economically viable system for veterinary medical education is sustained.
  • Stimulate a profession-wide sense of urgency and focus on action.

After some tweaking, the core competencies are multispecies knowledge and clinical competency in one or more species or disciplines; one health, looking at health across animals, humans, and the environment; and professional competencies, such as communication, collaboration, management, leadership, lifelong learning, and diversity.

NAVMEC meeting
Participants at the first meeting of the North American Veterinary Medical Education Consortium in February 2010 in Las Vegas listen to presenters. (Photo by R. Scott Nolen)

The report will be available at in coming weeks.

NAVMEC comprises several hundred stakeholders in veterinary education, including private practitioners, government and industry representatives, and faculty members. Approximately 400 individuals from 150 groups participated in a series of three national meetings in 2010 to discuss core competencies needed by graduates, and to review and explore progress in developing new educational models for delivery of the veterinary curriculum.

The NAVMEC board of directors is composed of members representing education, accreditation, and the licensing and testing arms of veterinary medical education. "That's a big difference between this effort and the Foresight and Pew reports and previous efforts; colleges and schools came together, but we didn't have key groups in the educational system at the table," said Dr. Michael Chaddock, AAVMC deputy executive director.

The consortium board was charged with drafting a final report for the AAVMC leadership. After crafting an initial draft report and recommendations, they solicited comments.

More than 350 people submitted feedback on the draft report from Nov. 1, 2010-May 1, 2011. Slightly fewer than half represented private practices, and about a quarter were from academia. Eighty percent said they support or strongly support the NAVMEC recommendations.

The NAVMEC board listened carefully to the comments that came in, and the report was revised to incorporate that feedback, said Dr. Marguerite Pappaioanou, AAVMC executive director. Edits to the draft document by the NAVMEC and AAVMC boards of directors included a greater emphasis on the importance of research and scientific method in the report's recommendations.

The report also now gives greater acknowledgment to the progress veterinary schools and colleges have already made toward meeting the report's recommendations, Dr. Pappaioanou said.

Lastly, a recommendation was added to one of the strategic goals that a working group be established to optimize what's happening with veterinary teaching hospitals and specialty groups.

"We recognize that there are many ways to educate students to become veterinarians and that each college is unique and serves a unique constituency," said Dr. Willie M. Reed, immediate past president of the AAVMC board of directors and dean of the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine, "but this effort will go a long way toward ensuring that academic veterinary medicine continues to evolve and adapt in order to remain relevant. With NAVMEC, academic veterinary medicine continues to be one step ahead of change."

The report lays out a number of recommendations for the AAVMC, AVMA, AVMA Council on Education, and National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners and for others that will play coordinating roles in implementing the recommendations. The AAVMC will before, the end of the year, convene a meeting to bring these groups together to discuss all of the recommendations, some of which will require substantial contributions and investment from across the profession to put them into action, Dr. Pappaioanou said.

In addition, the AAVMC will conduct a survey, which will include obtaining input and assessments from employers of veterinarians, to collect baseline data regarding veterinary education, accreditation, and testing and licensure. Additional surveys will be done on an ongoing basis to measure how well the groups progress in meeting the NAVMEC recommendations.