Summer 2011 Issue 4
News from the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges
We all know that veterinary medical education continues to face financial challenges. Admittedly, in a period of governmental cutbacks and belt tightening overall, cheerful news is limited. However, the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) is pleased to report progress toward preserving $4.4 million in funding for the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN), which protects the nation's food supply from animal diseases.
The story of how the AAVMC, working in partnership with other concerned organizations, alerted lawmakers to the danger posed by the NAHLN's potential funding loss and coordinated a response is a powerful example of proactive advocacy and collaboration.
At the same time, the AAVMC is closely monitoring a proposal to eliminate the "subsidized" part of subsidized Stafford loans for graduate students, which could put an extra burden on veterinary medical students who often already carry a heavy debt load.
Learn how you can help and get details on these other developments, including a North American Veterinary Medical Education Consortium (NAVMEC) update, and news about the Merial-National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Veterinary Scholars Symposium in this summer edition of news from the AAVMC.
|NAVMEC "Roadmap" Undergoes Refinement, Receives Broad Overall Support
The NAVMEC Board of Directors has heard stakeholders' feedback on the October 2010 draft NAVMEC report and recommendations. The AAVMC would like to thank our members for participating in the process and providing input. Currently, the NAVMEC board is working to incorporate many suggestions for improvement into the recommendations so that veterinary medical college curricula, accreditation standards, and testing/licensure roles align with professional and societal needs.
Feedback on the draft report was broadly positive (see graphic below), with 80 percent of respondents either supporting or strongly supporting the recommendations overall.
Some recommendations that received the strongest support were those supporting competency-driven curricula (90 percent) and a recommendation that schools provide financial counseling to students (87 percent). There was a high rate of support among both academics and non-academics. Overall, 75 percent of academics were supportive or strongly supportive of the recommendations, compared to 82 percent of non-academics (mostly employers).
The NAVMEC Board is in the process of making changes to the draft report based on critical review of input at its June 1-2, 2011, board meeting. Pending approval by the AAVMC Board of Directors later this summer, NAVMEC expects to produce a final report by late summer or early fall.
|Budget Proposal Would Make Veterinary Student Loans More Costly |
President Obama's 2012 budget request includes a proposal to eliminate the subsidy on graduate Stafford loans. Currently, students in the health professions can borrow up to $8,500 per year of subsidized Stafford loans. With subsidized loans, the federal government pays the interest while the student is in school or during grace and deferment periods. The President's budget proposal would eliminate the interest subsidy, meaning that annual interest would accrue at 6.8 percent every year from the loan's inception through pay-off, including while the student was in school or during grace or deferment periods.
Consequently, the typical borrower who borrowed the full $8,500 per year amount would pay about 17 percent more a month, assuming a standard 10-year loan repayment period, or almost $8,000 more over the course of the loan. The costs would be even greater for those who continue their education beyond veterinary medical school.
In response to this development, the AAVMC attended meetings with senators and -- along with other organizations -- submitted a letter stating the AAVMC's concern that eliminating the in-school interest subsidy would serve to make graduate education less accessible to needy students.
See how to contact your legislative representatives and express your concern here.
|AAVMC in the News
The AAVMC has been able to weigh in on prominent news issues recently, achieving widespread coverage of the AAVMC's perspective on newsworthy issues as they relate to academic veterinary medicine.
Recent stories included:
"These stories, widely distributed in the media, help to underscore the importance of a veterinary medical education and veterinary medicine's unique benefits to society," said Marguerite Pappaioanou, the AAVMC's executive director. "They especially serve to show the important role veterinary medical education plays in preparing professionals who can serve on the front lines of public health by keeping our food safe."
Connect With the AAVMC
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Save the date!
- 2012 Annual Conference, March 7 - 11
- 2012 AAVMC Veterinary Educator Collaborative (VEC) Symposium, Colorado State University, July 27-28
Reminder: Please note updated times for
2011 AAVMC Summer Meeting in St. Louis, Mo.:
Board of Directors Meeting
Sunday, July 17, 2011
8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Meeting of the Assembly
Monday, July 18, 2011
1:30 - 5:30 p.m.
Location: Renaissance St. Louis Grand Hotel
800 Washington Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63101
Symposium Promotes Student Research
The AAVMC is a co-sponsor of the Merial-National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Veterinary Scholars Symposium, hosted this year by the University of Florida's College of Veterinary Medicine.
The symposium, August 5-6, represents the culmination of the Merial Veterinary Scholars Program, whose mission is to expose veterinary students in their first or second year of veterinary medical school to biomedical research and career opportunities in research. At the symposium, veterinary medical students from all over the United States and Canada meet to present their research findings and share experiences from their various programs.
The symposium includes presentations by and networking opportunities with invited veterinary scientists, researchers and faculty members.
AAVMC Works Collaboratively to Restore
Food Lab Funding
This June, the U..S. House of Representatives, by a unanimous voice vote, passed an amendment intended to restore funding to the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN), which protects the nation's food supply from animal diseases. The amendment, offered by freshman Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO), was supported by the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC), the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD), and other organizations concerned with health and food safety.
Rep. Gardner introduced the amendment after the House Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee proposed eliminating $4.4 million - representing all of NAHLN's funding - from the Food and Agriculture Defense Initiative for fiscal year 2012. The elimination of NAHLN funding alarmed the AAVMC, AVMA, AAVLD and other agriculture and food industry experts, who warned that cutting funding to the 59-member NAHLN laboratory network could put the nation's health at risk.
Many of the network's laboratories reside at AAVMC institutions, where they conduct food animal surveillance, respond to food producers' calls, and analyze tens of thousands of samples each year for threats such as E.coli, which has the potential to spread to the human population.
After funding was eliminated, the AAVMC, AVMA, and others worked collaboratively to meet with congressional representatives, educate them about NAHLN's importance, and draft an amendment to restore funding. The AAVMC also urged member colleges of veterinary medicine to call and write their congressional representatives to explain the potentially disastrous consequences of de-funding. "In light of the total federal budget, $4.4 million isn't a lot of money, but that money is put to good use for an important cause," said Dr. Pappaioanou.
The AAVMC will now work collaboratively with its partners to ensure the Senate retains this funding as they consider fiscal year 2012 appropriations for the Department of Agriculture.
New E-Newsletter for Pre-Veterinary Students Debuts
The AAVMC recently launched the Pre-Vet Advisor, a new e-newsletter aimed at pre-veterinary medical students, advisors, pre-applicants, or anyone interested in attending veterinary medical school to embark on a veterinary career.
Topics will include:
- Application-related requirements, forms, and timelines
- Admission requirements, including pre-requisites, veterinary experience, and testing
- Survey results from veterinary schools regarding admissions policies and practices
- Career information, including salaries, specialties, and employment outlooks
- Changes and updates to the Veterinary Medical College Application Service
- Scholarships, internships, and other financial aid and career enhancing opportunities
Please pass along the following e-newsletter link to any interested students: www.aavmc.org/PreVetAdvisor1