Washington, D.C., June 24, 2013 – The American Veterinary Medical
Association’s (AVMA) decision to affirm the Council on Education’s (COE)
Foreign Veterinary School Accreditation Program will elevate global standards
of professionalism, help mitigate the dangers of pandemic disease, and increase
public understanding of the important role the veterinary profession plays in
the world, according to officials from the Association of American Veterinary
Medical Colleges (AAVMC).
“Our view is that accreditation of international veterinary
schools is important for the advancement of our profession and the promotion of
global health and well-being,” said AAVMC President Dr. Deborah Kochevar, dean
of the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. “The U.S.
system for academic veterinary medicine and professional accreditation is
recognized worldwide for setting high standards of professional
excellence. Absent an internationally
structured accreditation process, it makes sense for the AVMA-COE to recognize
those institutions that rise to meet these rigorous standards.”
The AVMA currently accredits 47 veterinary schools around
the world, including 29 American and five Canadian schools. Students graduating from an accredited
international school wishing to obtain U. S. licensure do not need to pass the
Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates (ECFVG) or Program for
the Assessment of Veterinary Education Equivalence (PAVE) certification
processes, which assess basic and clinical professional competence, as well as language
and other skills.
Sanctioned by the United States Department of Education, the
AVMA-COE’s professional accreditation program is operated solely on the basis
of assessing institutional performance in meeting established professional
standards and cannot consider profession-wide workforce issues such as employment
capacity and demand in its deliberations.
The AVMA-COE’s Foreign Veterinary School Accreditation Program
fosters the development of sophisticated veterinary infrastructure, promotes
collaboration and enhances training and research programs at institutions
located in countries around the world by providing incentives for excellence,
according to Kochevar.
Additionally, it qualifies accredited institutions for
membership in the AAVMC, which provides them with programmatic support that can
further enhance the quality of their educational and training programs.
The increased quality inspired by the program will also
position international veterinary colleges and their parent universities to
serve as more effective resources for governments attempting to diagnose and
control emerging zoonotic diseases that threaten global public health.
The program is very consistent with the emerging “One World,
One Health, One Medicine” program that has been embraced by the AVMA, the
AAVMC, and other organizations, according to Dr. Stuart Reid, Principal of the
Royal Veterinary College (RVC) at the University of London. RVC was established
in 1791 and accredited by the AVMA COE in 1999.
“We live in a completely interconnected world, in terms of
communication, commerce, travel, and importantly, the global production and
distribution of animal and plant based foods,” said Reid. “The economic and public health consequences
of human and animal disease obviously transcend geopolitical borders. What we
experienced in 2001 with the Foot and Mouth Disease epidemic speaks clearly
about the value of internationally embraced standards of excellence and global
collaboration in veterinary medicine.”
Reid said American students studying abroad often gain
experiences and develop global perspectives that enhance their performance when
they return to the United States to practice.
One of several challenges identified by the task force
regarding the foreign veterinary school program was the process of applying COE
standards to institutions with a variety of educational models. Confidentiality associated with the process
has led to some misunderstanding on the part of individuals who question the
veracity of the AVMA-COE foreign veterinary school accreditation program,
according to the task force report.
The AAVMC is a
nonprofit membership organization working to protect and improve the health and
welfare of animals, people and the environment by advancing academic veterinary
medicine. Its members include 34 veterinary medical colleges in the United
States and Canada, nine departments of veterinary science, eight departments of
comparative medicine, three veterinary medical education institutions, eleven
international colleges of veterinary medicine, and two affiliate international
colleges of veterinary medicine.
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Jeffrey S. Douglas:
202/371-9195, x144 (office)