Ohio Programme to Bridge Veterinary Void

US - A national shortage of veterinarians specializing in livestock, poultry and other food animals could be eased as the result of a new program at Ohio State University.
calendar icon 14 May 2008
clock icon 2 minute read
Ohio State University

Ohio State's Department of Animal Sciences and its College of Veterinary Medicine are jointly sponsoring the new program, "Veterinary Early Commitment Program for Students Interested in Food Supply Medicine," as a way to encourage animal sciences students to apply for admission into the College of Veterinary Medicine during the spring quarter of their second year of study. In return, the veterinary college will reserve a maximum of 10 seats for the most qualified students among the applicants. These students will enter the College of Veterinary Medicine following completion of their bachelor's degree.

The program is a response to a national shortage of food supply veterinarians, said James Kinder, chair of the Department of Animal Sciences. Although admission to veterinary colleges remains competitive, most graduates decide to focus their careers on pets and other companion animals rather than food-producing animals. At the same time, the role of food-supply veterinarians in maintaining food safety and protecting public health is expanding.

A 2006 study by the Food Supply Veterinary Medical Coalition concluded that between now and 2016, the demand for food-supply veterinarians will increase 12 to 13 percent, while the actual number of such veterinarians will decrease 4 percent each year. This means that for every 100 food-supply veterinary jobs available, only 96 veterinarians will be available to fill them.

"Our goal is to obtain students with a strong foundation in food supply medicine and put them on a career track earlier in their academic career," Kinder said. "The students who are admitted into this program are now able to use their time in their undergraduate career to strengthen their breadth and depth of knowledge of food supply medicine by taking courses they would not have access to otherwise."

This program, which begins in September, will allow more opportunities for mentoring and will graduate more veterinarians into food-supply medicine with the skills and knowledge to serve modern food-producing animal agribusinesses. Interested students must apply by June 5.

"This program is a core part of the College of Veterinary Medicine's Center of Excellence in Food Animal Health, Production, and Well-being," said Richard Meiring, associate professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine. "It shows we have a great collaborative program between the college and the Department of Animal Sciences."

It is the only early commitment program in veterinary medicine in Ohio. At least five other universities in other states offer similar programs to address the national shortage of food supply veterinarians.

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