September 17, 2018

Purdue College of Veterinary Medicine establishes National Academy for Veterinary Medicine with federal grant to increase diversity in profession and address veterinarian shortages

Vet program The new federally funded National HCOP Academy for Veterinary Medicine will build on the Purdue College of Veterinary Medicine’s success in developing programs to foster a more diverse pool of applicants for veterinary college admission. Past program participants Micah Rollie (left) and Jessica Linder now are in the College’s DVM Class of 2020. (Purdue University photo) Download image

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. —  With help from a new federal grant, the Purdue College of Veterinary Medicine is stepping up to expand access to the veterinary profession for talented  individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds  and address the need for more veterinarians serving rural areas and protecting food safety.

The Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has awarded Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine a $3.18 million grant to launch Vet Up! The National Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP) Academy for Veterinary Medicine.

The program will address a national shortage of veterinarians in public health and rural/food animal practice in the state and beyond, and a significant lack of underrepresented individuals entering the veterinary profession.

The program’s work aligns with Purdue's Giant Leaps celebration, acknowledging the university’s global advancements made in health as part of Purdue’s 150th anniversary. The theme of health and longevity is one of four themes of the yearlong celebration’s Ideas Festival, designed to showcase Purdue as an intellectual center solving real-world issues.  The other themes are sustainable economy and planet, artificial intelligence, and space exploration.

Purdue was the only college of veterinary medicine to receive support. The program’s goal is to fill veterinary shortage areas with equity-minded individuals from underrepresented populations and rural areas.

Purdue has the only veterinary college in the state and is home to the Center of Excellence for Diversity and Inclusion in Veterinary Medicine, the nation’s only such center.

Vet Up! will leverage PVM’s proven history of effective diversity programming and partnerships with high schools, historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and state entities to design and deliver curricula that provide otherwise-inaccessible opportunities to students.  A longstanding partnership with Purdue University’s Evaluation and Learning Research Center will assess the impact of the programming on participants and the veterinary profession.

“It is very exciting for our college to be selected for this major federally funded initiative that seeks to address an issue we have been working on for several years within our college and the veterinary profession,” said Dr. Willie Reed, dean of the college.  “We believe we are a natural choice to help achieve the objective of increasing the number of underrepresented individuals in veterinary medicine while also addressing the serious shortage of veterinarians in public health and rural/food animal practice.”

The Vet Up! National Academy consists of three programs with a competitive selection process for admissions:

• Vet Up! Champions is a yearlong program to prepare high school students, working adults, and undergraduate students to attain their next level of education on the path toward a veterinary medical degree.

• Vet Up! College is a summer immersion program to prepare undergraduate students to competitively apply to a veterinary medical degree (DVM) program.

• Vet Up! DVM supports Purdue veterinary medical students throughout their professional degree program and prepares them for careers in veterinary shortage areas.

“This new opportunity enables us to expand the influence of our creative approaches to improving the diversity of the veterinary profession,” said Dr. Sandy San Miguel, the college’s associate dean for engagement and program director. “We have assembled an amazing team of collaborators and look forward to working with them to launch this new National HCOP Academy for Veterinary Medicine.” 

Source: Dr. Sandy San Miguel, associate dean for engagement, 765-494-8052, amasss@purdue.edu 

Writer: Kevin Doerr, 765-494-8216, doerrkr@purdue.edu 

Media contact: Abbey Nickel, 765-496-1325, nickela@purdue.edu 

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