Midwestern proposes new veterinary college on Illinois campus

Midwestern University, a private, nonprofit graduate and postgraduate university specializing in the health sciences, announced June 11 plans to develop the College of Veterinary Medicine–Illinois on its Downers Grove, Illinois, campus.

Midwestern University offers academic programs in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, optometry, nursing, podiatric medicine, biomedical science, and health sciences. The university has offered a veterinary degree program since 2012 on its Glendale, Arizona, campus. The Midwestern University College of Veterinary Medicine in Arizona has been accredited by the AVMA Council on Education (AVMA COE) since 2018, with a current accreditation status of accredited with minor deficiencies in Standard 8 (Faculty) and Standard 9 (Curriculum).

The Downers Grove campus is located on a 105-acre site and is home to nearly 3,000 students. University officials are seeking accreditation from the AVMA COE, which is done by first requesting a consultative site visit. The consultative site visit provides the proposed veterinary college with an unofficial report on the plan’s readiness to apply for a letter of reasonable assurance. Once any deficiencies in the plan have been addressed and documented to the council, the proposed veterinary college can then apply for a comprehensive site visit to determine if the plan meets the criteria for a letter of reasonable assurance.

Two female veterinarians examine a brown tabby cat
Midwestern University is seeking accreditation from the AVMA Council on Education for its proposed College of Veterinary Medicine on its the Downers Grove, Illinois, campus. The university already has a veterinary college on its Glendale, Arizona, campus. (Photos courtesy of Midwestern University)

A letter of reasonable assurance is not a pre-accreditation action but indicates that the proposed veterinary college may gain accreditation in the future if the program completes all the plans it presents to the AVMA COE. Receiving this letter allows the institution to begin enrolling students. Midwestern is among more than a dozen institutions seeking accreditation from the AVMA COE.

Dr. Coretta Patterson
Dr. Coretta Patterson

Dr. Coretta Cosby Patterson will serve as the dean of the Midwestern’s proposed veterinary college. She graduated in 1995 from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine

Prior to her appointment, Dr. Patterson served as the director of the office of professional success at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. She previously held a leadership position as the group medical director for research development at BluePearl Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospital.

Additionally, Dr. Patterson had served at Midwestern’s Arizona campus as associate dean for clinical education at the veterinary college and as an associate professor from 2016-18. She is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in small animal internal medicine.

Kathleen H. Goeppinger, president and CEO of Midwestern University, said in the announcement, “With a wealth of experience and a deep commitment to the field, Dr. Patterson brings invaluable expertise to the College's mission of educating the next generation of veterinarians.”

Goeppinger said the decision to add veterinary medicine to the health care degrees offered by the Downers Grove campus was in response to the growing need for veterinarians. In addition, she said the new veterinary college will help address the need for critical research to aid in public health and the demand for qualified professionals within the veterinary profession.

“At the center of all of Midwestern University’s academic offerings, is a commitment to One Health which recognizes the interconnectedness of human, animal, and environmental health. Through interdisciplinary collaboration and research initiatives, the University aims to address current and future health challenges by encouraging students and faculty from all disciplines to work together to find viable solutions,” she stated a university press release.