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South Dakota, Minnesota form veterinary training program

New doctorate program in veterinary medicine aims to improve health of rural animals.

South Dakota State University (SDSU) and the University of Minnesota announced the formation of a new collaborative Professional Program in Veterinary Medicine leading to a doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM) degree.

Once students have completed their pre-veterinary requirements, the new program will allow admitted students to complete the first two years of their veterinary medicine education at SDSU in Brookings, S.D., and the final two years at the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine in St. Paul, Minn. The first 20-student cohort is expected to begin classes on the SDSU campus within the veterinary and biomedical sciences department in August 2021.

“This professional degree addresses the need for more veterinarians in South Dakota and adjoining states, particularly those who work with food animals,” said John Killefer, South Dakota Corn endowed dean of the SDSU College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences. “I look forward to working with faculty at both universities to implement a veterinary medicine curriculum that will complement several existing academic programs and a robust research enterprise that already exist within the SDSU College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences.”

“The new program is approved by the American Veterinary Medical Assn. (AVMA) Council on Education, which will monitor our progress. This permission to proceed is a testament to the outstanding work of faculty and staff on both campuses plus the investments both states are making,” noted Laura Molgaard, interim dean of the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine.

The AVMA council also approved an expansion of the University of Minnesota’s graduating class from 105 to 125 students, the university said.

The new collaborative program will focus on rural practices and help to address a shortage of veterinarians, create additional opportunities for South Dakota students to pursue careers in veterinary medicine and support the agriculture industry in the region. South Dakota students participating in the new program will pay tuition based on in-state rates, realizing an estimated savings of thousands of dollars per student for their veterinary education through a subsidy from the South Dakota legislature, according to Killefer.

"I’m very excited to be back at SDSU to continue all the great work that has been done thus far to create this new collaborative veterinary program,” said Gary Gackstetter, director of the Professional Program in Veterinary Medicine at SDSU. “I’m convinced we can make a positive difference in South Dakota agriculture and animal health by training those students interested in rural clinical practice.”

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