AVMA champions legislation to help veterinarians pursue additional training

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(WASHINGTON, D.C.) March 10, 2020—The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) welcomes the introduction of the VET MED Act (Veterinary Education and Training Minimizes Educational Debt, H.R. 6134) by veterinarians in Congress, Reps. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) and Ted Yoho (R-Fla.). This important legislation will help alleviate the cost of additional training for veterinarians. The AVMA has taken a leadership role in advocating for this legislation.

"Residencies and internships are critical to preparing veterinarians for high-need specialties like emergency medicine, oncology and large animal medicine, but during this time spent in additional training, veterinary borrowers face massive interest accumulation that can make loan repayment feel insurmountable," said Dr. John Howe, president of the AVMA. "The VET MED Act is an important step toward alleviating this debt burden, and we're thankful to Representatives Schrader and Yoho for introducing this bill."

Currently, many veterinarians who enter residencies, internships or Ph.D. programs are required to make educational loan payments and will also accumulate significant interest on their loans during their time spent in training. This can present significant fiscal challenges to recruit veterinarians for specialized training because the average residency salary in 2019 was about $34,000.

The VET MED Act would help address this challenge and ensure the nation has enough highly trained veterinarians by allowing veterinary borrowers to pause their interest accumulation and loan repayment while pursuing additional training in veterinary residencies, internships or DVM/Ph.D. programs.

The AVMA is looking forward to working with the veterinary community to pass this important legislation.

About the AVMA

The AVMA is the nation's leading representative of the veterinary profession, speaking for more than 105,000 member veterinarians across the United States who care passionately about protecting animal health, animal welfare and human health. Informed by its members' unique scientific training and knowledge, the AVMA advocates for policies that advance the practice of veterinary medicine and support the crucial work of veterinarians nationwide.