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Veterinary Leaders Examine
Shifting Societal Needs

One of the most diverse representations of veterinary organizations ever assembled began a year-long effort to chart the future of veterinary medical education. The North American Veterinary Medical Education Consortium, or NAVMEC, was launched by the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) in 2009 to ensure that veterinary medical education meets society’s changing needs. Dr. Ron Cott, MU College of Veterinary Medicine associate dean of Student and Alumni Affairs and director of Development, is serving as the College’s representative to the consortium.

The group recently held the first of three national meetings planned for 2010 in Las Vegas, Nev., to begin assessing societal needs and professional competencies:

  • NAVMEC will bring together more than100 stakeholders and beneficiaries of veterinary medical education, experts from within the profession, and other interested entities to discuss what is meant by meeting society’s needs and the skills and competencies that will be required by graduating veterinarians to meet those needs. This represents a great challenge because the profession is so diverse with many fields of expertise, and a wide range of responsibilities to society;
  • NAVMEC will bring together the best minds and experts in academic veterinary medical education to identify and share a range of new educational models that could achieve the educational goals identified;
  • NAVMEC will explore the relationship between education, accreditation and licensure to ensure that the veterinary colleges/schools can be creative in planning their future educational programs while continuing to meet accreditation standards; and that new graduates will be prepared to meet licensing requirements.

Who is Part of NAVMEC?
In order to produce as comprehensive an outcome as possible, AAVMC invited the participation of close to 400 groups and organizations with an interest in veterinary medical education. A total of approximately 170 groups and individuals have joined the consortium, including co-sponsors who have made some financial contribution to help underwrite NAVMEC infrastructure and other groups and individuals wishing to participate in discussions. Both co-sponsors and partner organizations are invited to send a representative to the three national meetings that are planned throughout 2010.

Those groups and individuals making a financial contribution are designated co-sponsors. All co-sponsors have been invited to name a representative who would not only participate at the national meetings, but are also invited to be part of an advisory panel that will help plan the national meetings, make recommendations concerning the organization of consortium meetings, regularly review the progress of the consortium, and make recommendations to the consortium board of directors as the final national report is being drafted for submission to the AAVMC Board of Directors.

The participants include AAVMC national and international member institutions; licensure and testing groups; national, international and state veterinary medical associations; veterinary industry; veterinary species and specialty organizations; animal welfare/activist groups; ancillary veterinary entities; and 13 individuals (including past AAVMC presidents, past AVMA presidents, and past deans of U.S. colleges of veterinary medicine).

How is NAVMEC Governed?
AAVMC launched NAVMEC in 2009 and is providing the leadership for this initiative. The NAVMEC Board of Directors, representing the three pillars of NAVMEC — education, accreditation, and testing/licensure — will make final decisions concerning NAVMEC policies, procedures, and outcome.

The nine person NAVMEC board supports significant and meaningful advances in veterinary medical education. It’s the first board ever composed equally of representatives of licensure/testing, education, and accreditation — the entities most responsible for addressing societal needs that veterinarians should deliver.

The next meeting is scheduled for April 29-May 1, 2010, at the Kansas City Airport Hilton, and will focus on new educational models. The final meeting is scheduled for July 14-16, 2010, in Las Vegas and will offer a synthesis of the meetings and include implications for accreditation/licensure.

The Association of American Veterinary Medical provides leadership and promotes excellence in academic veterinary medicine to prepare the veterinary workforce with the scientific knowledge and skills required to meet societal needs through the protection of animal health, the relief of animal suffering, the conservation of animal resources, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge. For more information on AAVCM, log onto For information about NAVMEC, go to

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Last Update: February 29, 2012