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Eyre addresses AVMA symposium

Spectrum Volume 18 Issue 31 - May 9, 1996

VMRCVM Dean Peter Eyre recently made an invited presentation at a major symposium convened by the American Veterinary Medical Association in Chicago to study economic issues affecting the veterinary profession and veterinary education.

Responding to growing concern in the professional community about the inability of many veterinarians to realize their professional expectations and achieve financial security, the AVMA invited experts from around the nation to present papers on different aspects of the issue.

Eyre's presentation concerned the impact of changing veterinary curricula on employment opportunities. He discussed the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine's core-elective "tracking"-oriented curriculum as an example of one that enables a veterinary student to develop a broad orientation to the profession while still focusing training on a specific area of interest.

He showcased the college's Center for Government and Corporate Veterinary Medicine as a national center which prepares veterinary students for careers in non-traditional areas of the profession. About 22 percent of all veterinary jobs are in this area and experts expect significant growth in the years ahead.

He advocated increased collaboration between institutions similar in concept, if not in scope, to the partnership that exists between Virginia Tech and the University of Maryland in the operation of the VMRCVM as one way to deal with the diminishing amount of public resources state governments are providing for public higher education.

Eyre also suggested that the nation's 27 veterinary colleges continue to promote critical thinking rather than memorization and to embrace advanced information technology as a key to creating greater "efficiencies and effectiveness in reaching their educational goals." Also, enhanced communication training for veterinary students will not only make them better interpersonal communicators with their clients, it will help them better represent the profession in the marketplace, he said.

He called for a greater sense of professional cohesion in the profession as a means of dealing with the economic concerns that some believe threaten the profession, and suggested that state veterinary medical associations and other groups around the nation begin dialogues with their respective veterinary colleges about ways to work together in enhancing the future of the profession of veterinary medicine.

The text of Eyre's presentation, "Impact of Curriculum Dynamics on Employment Opportunities," will be published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.