May 2017

VMCAS Cycle for Class of 2022 Begins May 11

Thousands of excited students accepted into the Class of 2021 at AAVMC member institutions are preparing to begin their educational journeys when fall semester begins in just a few months. Carefully selected by admissions committees based upon performance and promise, these students participated in a sophisticated common application process that began more than 25 years ago.

And in just a matter of days, the annual cycle begins anew. The Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS) application period for the Class of 2022 opens on May 11 and closes on September 15th at midnight EST.

Several new features have been added this year to assist students and admissions personnel with the process, according to Director of Admissions and Recruitment Affairs Tony Wynne. VMCAS has been modified to accept international coursework into the system. Personal essay prompts have been redeveloped from one essay to three to provide institutions with more predictive insights.

Other improvements have been made as the VMCAS platform evolves into a more enterprise wide application management and marketing system.

The new Enrollment Management Platform (EMP) automates inquiries about veterinary medicine and nurtures “leads” from inquiry to application. The former Veterinary Student Engagement System (VSES) will be folded into the EMP to better manage the newsletter system and better target informational newsletters based upon various inquiry fields.

The EMP establishes a unique identifier for applicants that the AAVMC will use to track inquiries throughout the application process and beyond.

Also, the 2018 Veterinary Medical School Admissions Requirements book has been published. This 188-page book contains detailed information to help prospective students navigate the application process, as well as profiles of participating AAMVC member institutions.

$1.1 Trillion Omnibus Spending Bill Includes Good News for Academic Veterinary Medicine

The $1.1 trillion 2017 omnibus spending bill passed in Washington last week to fund the federal government through September 30 contains good news for academic veterinary medicine, according to Governmental Affairs Director Kevin Cain.

The appropriations legislation includes a total of $6.5 million for the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP), which represents an increase of $1.5 million.

VMLRP recruits critically needed livestock and public health veterinarians to practice in underserved areas where they promote food safety and assist communities with meeting agricultural needs. This is the first significant funding increase the program has had since it was created, Cain said.

The Veterinary Services Grant Program (VSGP) was funded at $2.5 million, which matches the initial funding appropriated in the 2016 budget.

The Veterinary Services Grant Program seeks to relieve the shortage of veterinarians in rural areas and funds programs ranging from practice establishment and expansion to recruitment and educational activities. The funding did not include provisions for increasing the program funding to the $3 million the AAVMC and the AVMA were advocating for.

The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), the nation’s largest competitive grants program for the agricultural sciences, received an increase of $25 million, up to $375 million. The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) stewards this program, which funds research, education and extension grants designed to boost food production, ensure food safety, improve rural economics, promote public health, and develop and train the agricultural workforce.

There was also good news for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The appropriation provides the NIH with $34.1 billion in funding, a $2 billion increase. That includes $352 million provided from the 21st Century Cures Act, which will fund high priority targeted initiatives.

The AAVMC is a member of the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research, a consortium of organizations in the health and biomedical sciences that advocated for increased NIH support. Association of American Medical Colleges Senior Director of Public Policy & Strategic Outreach Tannaz Rasouli shares this table which outlines omnibus funding levels by individual NIH institute.

Fix the Debt Website Created

The AAVMC and the AVMA have been working closely together on programs related to the Fix-the-Debt initiative. Now a jointly supported Fix-the-Debt website has been created to help interested parties learn more about the initiative.

The site contains links to pages that will help visitors locate a variety of content pertaining to the issue and sign up for advocacy alerts. It also provides a link enabling visitors to read and provide input related to the issue through a feedback function. More content and features will be added to the site as it continues to develop.. Please visit the site here

New Book Takes a Comprehensive Look at Veterinary Medical Education
A recently published book, Veterinary Medical Education: A Practical Guide, takes a comprehensive look at veterinary medical education and features the work of professors at many AAVMC member institutions.

Jennifer L. Hodgson and Jacquelyn M. Pelzer, both working with the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, edited the book. Dr. Hodgson is the veterinary school’s associate dean for professional programs and Dr. Pelzer is director of admissions and student services.

Veterinary Medical Education: A Practical Guide includes 12 sections, with 38 chapters written by 64 authors from eight countries.

“We believe this depth and breadth of authors has given the textbook a broad and global perspective of veterinary education,” wrote Dr. Hodgson. “Although there are a number of textbooks on medical education, and some textbooks that focus on specific areas within veterinary education, we believe this is first textbook published that covers the full range of topics within veterinary medical education.”

Publisher Wiley-Blackwell describes the book as a complete resource for fundamental information on key areas of veterinary education that:
  • Provides a practical guide to the key principles of veterinary medical education
  • Takes a real-world approach, with concrete guidance for teaching veterinary skills and knowledge
  • Covers all aspects of designing and implementing a veterinary curriculum
  • Emphasizes key points and helpful tips
  • Offers a veterinary-specific resource for any veterinary educator worldwide
Individual book chapters focus on general educational principles and emerging topics in health sciences education, as well as topics specifically related to veterinary medical education.

“We hope the textbook will serve as a comprehensive resource for veterinary medical educators worldwide and help promote a practical, real-world approach to teaching veterinary skills and knowledge,” wrote Hodgson.

CTSA One Health Alliance "Walking the Talk"

One of the most promising initiatives underway in the world of One Health is the network of 12 AAVMC member institutions participating in the CTSA One Health Alliance (COHA). This consortium of veterinary colleges and schools are all collaborating with human medical schools on campus through the National Institutes of Health’s Clinical and Translational Science (CTSA) Awards Program.

Operated as part of the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), the CTSA program supports a national network of medical research institutions that work together to improve the translational research process. Translational research seeks to speed up the process by which laboratory discoveries make their way into clinical practice.

It’s a natural fit for COHA’s mission, which seek to “advance our understanding of disease shared by humans and animals” by leveraging “the expertise of physicians, research scientists, veterinarians, and other professionals to find solutions for medical problems and to address the well-being of humans, animals and the environment.”

Examples of research underway through COHA programs include studies on cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, infectious diseases, arthritis and neurologic disorders. The researchers are also interested in exploring aspects of the human-animal bond that promote the health and well-being of people, and an additional goal is to encourage the training of veterinary medical/clinician scientists who are well prepared to contribute to interdisciplinary collaborations.

While the One Health philosophy is broadly understood and embraced throughout the academic veterinary medical community, according to Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine professor Dr. Lisa M. Freeman, who works with COHA’s Communication and Collaboration Sub-Committee, opportunities exist to build greater awareness among physicians and other scientists.

To accomplish that, COHA has produced four "One Health in-a-Minute" videos featuring One Health stories that illustrate the synergy between the veterinary medical and other scientific communities.

Those videos include:
  • What is One Health?
  • Chronic pain: Studying naturally-occurring pain in companion animals as a model for human pain
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: Collaborating for a cure in cats and humans
  • Knights Landing One Health Clinic: A collaborative preventative and clinical health clinic addressing human and animal health in an under-served community in California
To view these videos, learn about COHA events, and learn more about the programs underway at the 12 COHA institutions, please visit:

Freeman invites faculty members interested in working with the sub-committee to contact her at

AAVMC, APLU, FAO and World Bank Convene for AMR Roundtable

Fifteen stakeholders from the AAVMC, the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU), the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the World Bank met at the FAO Liaison Office for North America in Washington, D.C. in early April to discuss strategies for mitigating the antimicrobial resistance (AMR) problem.

Talks focused on educational, research and policy development initiatives with international impact, including methods for educating stakeholders, the potential establishment of a university-based Center of Excellence to coordinate research and educational programs, and Congressional outreach and potential One Health legislation.

The roundtable was part of an ongoing collaboration between the AAVMC the APLU which began with the Joint APLU | AAVMC Task Force on Antibiotic Resistance in Production Agriculture in 2014. That task force produced a report that mapped out a broad-based research, education and outreach strategy for addressing the problem from the perspective of veterinary medicine and agriculture.

An Antimicrobial Resistance Core Competencies Working Group, which includes scientists and professors from a group of major universities, was established from that program. The working group identified a broad range of learning outcomes specifically tailored for the discrete stakeholder groups of novice (youth, FFA, 4H), developing (undergraduate and graduate) and professional (veterinary medical). This publication describes this important work.

The Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) provided support for the project, and remains actively engaged with the effort

Senate Confirms Veterinarian Dr. Sonny Perdue as Secretary of Agriculture

Former Georgia Governor Dr. Sonny Perdue has been confirmed as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. Perdue is the first veterinarian to ever serve as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, and is the highest placed veterinarian to serve in the United States government since Dr. Lester Crawford served as Commissioner of the Food & Drug Administration in 2005.

Perdue earned a DVM degree from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine in 1971 prior to serving as a captain in the U.S. Air Force. Following that service, he operated several small agribusiness and transportation companies before being elected Governor of Georgia, where he served two terms, from 2003 to 2011.

AAVMC CEO Dr. Andrew T. Maccabe sent a letter of congratulations to Purdue on behalf of the organized academic veterinary medical community.

“Our nation’s colleges of veterinary medicine are innovative, responsive institutions dedicated to helping the veterinary medical profession make its greatest possible contribution to animal agriculture and promoting public health and wellbeing,” wrote Maccabe.

“On behalf of the 49 member institutions of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC), I offer the assistance of our nation’s academic veterinary medical community in helping you and your administration promote the prosperity and wellbeing of American agriculture,” he continued.

Maccabe is working with Governmental Affairs Director Kevin Cain to develop a strategy for arranging a personal briefing on the AAVMC for the Secretary at some point in the future.

Maccabe Discusses Sustainable Production in CUGH’s Keynote Plenary

AAVMC CEO Andrew T. Maccabe spoke on livestock production, sustainability and poverty reduction during the opening plenary session of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health’s 8th Annual Global Health Conference in Washington April 7-9.

Attracting more than 1,800 registrants, the meeting was themed “Healthy People, Healthy Ecosystems: Implementation, Leadership and Sustainability in Global Health.”

The opening plenary session, titled “Saving the Planet, Saving Ourselves: Creating Healthy Ecosystems and Healthy People,” explored the impact and implications of human activity and ecosystem destruction on the planet and considered ideas about what can be done to create a more sustainable future.

The session was moderated by CUGH Executive Director Dr. Keith Martin, and included Maccabe; Richard Horton, Editor-in-chief of The Lancet; Juli Trtanj, Research Lead, Climate Program Office, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and Montira Pongsiri, Science Policy Advisor of the Planetary Health Alliance.

Maccabe’s One Health oriented presentation emphasized the interconnections between domestic animals, wild animals, human, and environmental health and described the important role healthy animals play in global food production systems and poverty reduction.

He outlined how improvements in livestock health could lead to improved animal husbandry, increased productivity and ultimately, global food security. Those same improvements in livestock health, he said, could lead to agricultural production and trade opportunities that would help build sustainable economic activity and reduce poverty in developing nations.

Maccabe described the role agricultural animal food production plays in climate change and suggested that technology and innovation can play a bigger role in improving productivity and sustainability. Improving both will be critical as the world gears up to feed an estimated 9 billion people by 2050, he said.

Noted UC Davis Professor Earns CUGH Award

The Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) recently honored University of California Davis Professor Dr. Jonna Mazet for her groundbreaking work in emerging infectious diseases and wildlife epidemiology.

Dr. Mazet received the CUGH-Hall-Sewankambo Mid-Career Global Health Award at CUGH’s 8th Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., April 7-9.

The award is presented in recognition of a career that demonstrates a proven commitment and consistent record of outstanding achievement in one or more of the areas of global health education, research, advocacy and/service. That includes working to reduce health disparities, particularly within low-income communities, establishing collaborations with colleagues in resource poor settings and demonstrating strong leadership abilities.

Dr. Mazet is a professor of epidemiology & disease ecology at the School of Veterinary Medicine and executive director of the UC Davis One Health Institute (OHI). She is widely recognized for the One Health approach she has taken to her extensive work in preventing emerging zoonotic diseases and solving global health problems, often in some of the most disadvantaged parts of the world.

“Predicting where new diseases may emerge from wild animals, and detecting viruses and other pathogens before they spread among people gives us the best chance to prevent new pandemics,” said Dr. Mazet – and she has spent her career dedicated to that endeavor.

In her OHI role, she actively works on international health programs that include researching tuberculosis in Africa, novel pathogen detection in less developed countries, and pathogen pollution of California coastal waters.

Dr. Mazet is also the principal investigator and global director of PREDICT, a novel viral emergence early warning project that has been developed with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). PREDICT is a $175 million multi-institutional, transdisciplinary project in 31 developing countries that is contributing to global surveillance for emerging viral pathogens using geospatial modeling, genomics, molecular virology, epidemiology, and targeted field studies.

She also founded California’s Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN), the premier model wildlife emergency management system worldwide, and remains a consulting expert on wildlife emergency preparedness and response.

Save the Date: World Veterinary Conference on Quality Assurance

A conference focused on quality assurance in veterinary medical education will be held on August 30 as part of the World Veterinary Congress meeting in Incheon, Korea in August.

The conference is cast as a global working session designed to advance World Veterinary Association efforts to assess existing standards for professional education in different regions of the world and eventually achieve more uniform standards of quality.

AAVMC CEO Dr. Andrew T. Maccabe will deliver remarks focusing on the task at hand following introductory greetings from World Veterinary Association President Dr. Rene Carlson and Dr. Pan Dong Ryu, representing the Asian Association of Veterinary Schools.

World Veterinary Conference will be convened August 27-31 in Incheon, Korea. For more information contact World Veterinary Association Veterinary Policy Officer Dr. Zeev Noga at or visit

AAVMC's Mashima Inducted into National Academies of Practice

Dr. Ted Mashima in his AAVMC office decorated with art that
 was created by veterinary students at North Carolina State

AAVMC Senior Director for Academic and Research Affairs Dr. Ted Mashima has been inducted into the National Academies of Practice as a Distinguished Fellow.

Established in 1981, the National Academies of Practice seeks to foster advancements in interprofessional healthcare by fostering collaboration among 14 health professions, including medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, nursing, pharmacy and many others.

Each year, a Class of Distinguished Fellows comprised of distinguished practitioners in the 14 component health professions are nominated, considered and inducted based upon professional achievements, contributions and accomplishments and activities in interprofessional education.

The NAP presents Interprofessional Healthcare Policy Forums, Congressional briefings, membership symposiums on specific topics, and annual conferences.

They publish the Journal for Interprofessional Education and Practice (JIEP) a quarterly peer-reviewed online only journal, focused on interprofessional topics in practice, education, research and policy.

The NAP also publishes public policy papers on major healthcare issues and advocates for programs that seek to promote interprofessional collaboration, enhance access to health care and “advance excellence in the promotion of health, and prevention and treatment of disease, injury, disability, and poor health."

Spending on Pets, Veterinary Clinical Care in United States Continues to Rise

Americans spent a record $66.75 billion on their pets in 2016, a figure that continues to rise. according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA). Pet food remains the largest business segment, with $28.23 billion spent in the category. The second largest spending category is veterinary care, which was pegged at $15.95 billion in 2016 and is estimated to climb to $16.62 billion during 2017.

The 3.4% year-over-year growth in veterinary care does not necessarily reflect an increase in routine veterinary visits, according to APPA data; instead it is believed to result from healthcare advancements and the availability of more sophisticated services. Growing awareness of the human/animal bond and the health benefits of pet ownership is also believed to be playing a role in the increase.

"Now that millennials have officially taken the reins as the primary demographic of pet owners, they stand to further develop the humanization of pets trend,” said APPA President and CEO Bob Vetere. “We’ve been anxious to see how this new group of pet owners will affect the industry, and now that they’re here and the industry spending is higher than ever, it’s a promising sign that our country’s pets are in good hands.”

APPA’s annual comprehensive industry figures report covers pet spending in the market categories of: food, supplies/over-the-counter (OTC) medications, veterinary care, live animal purchases and other services.

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