New York metro area could get veterinary college

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Another veterinary college could open in New York, this one on Long Island, with the goal of admitting students as soon as next year.

Long Island University received $12 million from the state of New York this year to create a veterinary college. This is a rendering of the new building the university will build to house the program. (Photos courtesy of Long Island University)

This May, the state of New York announced plans to spend $12 million to help build the College of Veterinary Medicine at Long Island University's Post campus in Brookville. The university says the veterinary college could be established as soon as this year. It aims to enroll 100 students in the four-year program each year; LIU has committed to adding at least 100 faculty and staff positions.

Jon Schneider, director of public and media relations for Long Island University, told JAVMA News that LIU has "a lot of tracks that are working simultaneously," adding that the current focus is working through the accreditation process. The proposed veterinary college hopes to admit students as soon as fall 2019; recruitment would start once it receives a letter of reasonable assurance from the AVMA Council on Education. A comprehensive site visit by the COE is scheduled for Aug. 12-16, 2018.

The proposed college would have a distributive model of clinical education rather than an on-site teaching hospital. LIU has already lined up 20 memorandums of agreement with clinical partners in the region, including the Bronx Zoo, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the Animal Medical Center, and North Shore Animal League.

The university hired Dr. I. Carmen Fuentealba as dean of the veterinary college in August 2017. Previously, she spent six years at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, most recently as executive associate dean for teaching and learning and professor of veterinary pathology and histology. Before Ross, Dr. Fuentealba taught at veterinary colleges at the University of Calgary, Western University of Health Sciences, University of Prince Edward Island, and Texas A&M University. She received a doctorate in veterinary pathology from the University of Liverpool and her veterinary degree from Austral University of Chile.

The proposed veterinary college would share some infrastructure with LIU's School of Health Professions and Nursing, Schneider said. The state's $12 million would go toward building a new facility on campus for the veterinary program. The university estimates a total cost of $50 million for the next three years for the veterinary program, including capital and operations expenses.

Dr. I. Carmen Fuentealba
Dr. I. Carmen Fuentealba was hired as dean of the proposed Long Island University College of Veterinary Medicine in August 2017.

It all started in 2015 when the state received $5.4 billion from one-off national banking settlements. Of that, a $400 million Transformative Investment Program was designated for Long Island that would be doled out over time toward capital projects that would translate into economic development initiatives that create or help retain private-sector jobs. This effort was led by the Long Island Association, the area's primary business group, and the island's delegation to the state.

This year, $72 million from the TIP went to state investments for Long Island. Of that, $12 million went to support the proposed veterinary college.

Schneider explained, with regard to the veterinary program, "We approached the governor's office and talked about the need in our region. Obviously you only have 30 veterinary schools, with just three in the Northeast, the closest being Cornell. This project is speaking to the fact that this is a major need we could fill in our region."

The three closest veterinary colleges are Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in Ithaca, New York; the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in Philadelphia; and Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University in North Grafton, Massachusetts.

"That's what was transformative about this project. This is really filling a need on the island as well as the region. The fact that the New York metro area doesn't have a vet school is something that is a great need that we can fill here based on the enthusiasm we've encountered as we set up clinical affiliations," Schneider said.

Related JAVMA content:

Veterinary education continues expanding (Nov. 1, 2012)