ANSWERING a call for veterinarians to fill a critical need in public service and corporate practice, the American Veterinary Medical Assn. (AVMA) recently signed a formal memorandum of understanding that aims to better promote careers in these sectors.
Working with the National Association of Federal Veterinarians (NAFV) and the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine's Center for Public & Corporate Veterinary Medicine, the partnership seeks to educate Congress and human resource managers within the federal government of a wide variety of job opportunities that veterinarians are qualified to fill and to boost career-building programs that seek to recruit, train and retain the next-generation workforce.
AVMA said the partnership comes in response to several studies that have outlined potential workforce gaps where veterinarians will be needed to provide key expertise on issues such as public health, food systems, biomedical research, diagnostic laboratory investigation, pathology, epidemiology, ecosystem health and food animal practice.
"We have long recognized veterinarians as the medical doctors who treat our pets when they are sick, but what many do not realize is that veterinarians emerge from graduate school with the training and skills that are needed to tackle a wide range of complex issues related to public health, biological science, the environment and agriculture," Dr. Ron DeHaven, AVMA executive vice president, said. "As the world better understands and appreciates the interconnectedness between animal, public and environmental health, it is important that we continue recruiting veterinarians with the technical expertise and scientific know-how to fill a critical need in public and corporate practice."
Dr. Michael Gilsdorf, NAFV executive vice president, added, "Federal veterinarians in more than 29 practice areas use their skills and expertise to serve many governmental agencies, focusing on the prevention of animal diseases, protection of food safety and preparation for and response to zoonotic disease outbreaks and other catastrophic events."
Given that many graduating veterinarians are unaware of the job opportunities available to them outside of the traditional veterinary clinic setting, the memorandum first aims to boost visibility of the careers that can be found in public and corporate practice through a broad educational campaign. The second, longer-range goal is for the three partners to increase the demand for federally employed veterinarians and to create better training programs that will assist veterinary professionals who seek careers in public or corporate practice, AVMA said.
The agreement will remain in force for an indefinite term.