Dr. Marguerite Pappaioanou announced Oct. 7 that she is resigning as the executive director of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, effective Oct. 31. She will go to work for DAI (Developmental Alternatives Inc.) starting in early 2012, where she will pursue initiatives in global development, public health, and one health. The company, which receives most of its funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development, takes multisectoral approaches to economic development and poverty reduction.
"The board of directors has accepted her resignation with mixed feelings, and we wish her well in her new endeavors," said AAVMC President Gerhardt Schurig, dean of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.
Dr. Marguerite Pappaioanou
Dr. Schurig also announced that Dr. Bennie I. Osburn, the outgoing dean of the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, would begin serving as interim director Nov. 1.
The AAVMC coordinates the affairs of all 28 U.S. and five Canadian veterinary medical colleges, nine U.S. departments of veterinary science, eight U.S. departments of comparative medicine, eight international veterinary schools, three veterinary medical education organizations, and four affiliate international veterinary schools. The association represents more than 4,000 faculty, 5,000 staff, 10,000 veterinary students, and 3,000 graduate students at these institutions.
Dr. Pappaioanou began her position at the association Nov. 1, 2007. She oversaw the unveiling of the AAVMC's strategic plan in March 2009 (see JAVMA, May 1, 2009). The plan—the first in the association's 45-year history—lists the AAVMC's vision, mission, and values, in addition to the six goals that will determine the association's priorities and allocation of resources until 2014. They are as follows:
- Reviewing, evaluating, and improving veterinary medical education.
- Increasing the amount of veterinary research conducted.
- Recruiting a student body aligned with the demands for veterinary expertise.
- Increasing the number of racially and/or ethnically underrepresented individuals in veterinary medicine.
- Developing the next generation of leaders for academic veterinary medicine.
- Strengthening the association's capacity to advance its mission.
Concurrently, the AAVMC initiated the North American Veterinary Medical Education Consortium. 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 AAVMC board of directors approved this past July a report and recommendations from NAVMEC, titled "Roadmap for Veterinary Medical Education in the 21st Century: Responsive, Collaborative, Flexible" (see JAVMA, Sept. 15, 2011). 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.
Also during her tenure, Dr. Pappaioanou lobbied consistently on behalf of the AAVMC for passage of the Veterinary Public Health Workforce and Education Act, which would establish a competitive, multimillion-dollar grant program for veterinary colleges and other institutions offering graduate training in veterinary public health.
She said her new job is very much in line with what she's done for most of her career.
Prior to joining the AAVMC, Dr. Pappaioanou held a joint appointment as professor of infectious disease epidemiology in the School of Public Health and College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Minnesota. She has also held numerous positions at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including acting deputy director in the Office of Global Health in 2004, and associate director for science and policy from 1999-2004.
Dr. Pappaioanou said she hopes she can demonstrate by example to current veterinary students and recent graduates that they can pursue other options besides going into private practice. She herself earned her DVM degree at Michigan State University in 1972 and is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine.
The AAVMC is currently searching for a new executive director.