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April 20, 2020
The Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) completed a pivotal step in the development of its "2+2" veterinary program on April 13, when the college received official program approval from the American Veterinary Medical Assn. (AVMA) Council on Education (COE).
With this approval, CVM has permission to implement the 2+2 program through its Veterinary Education, Research & Outreach (VERO) program on West Texas A&M University’s campus, the university said. This means that additional veterinary students will be able to complete the first two years of their four-year veterinary curriculum in Canyon, Texas.
“The 2+2 program helps fulfill a 10-year goal to increase large animal veterinary medicine in the Texas Panhandle,” said Texas A&M University System (TAMUS) chancellor John Sharp. “It makes West Texas A&M the gateway to one of the best veterinary schools in the nation.”
“We are extremely excited that our 2+2 program has been approved by the AVMA COE,” said Dr. Eleanor M. Green, the Carl B. King dean of veterinary medicine at Texas A&M. “This is a benchmark step that puts Texas A&M and (West Texas A&M) one step closer to fulfilling a plan we have been working on for over a decade now.
“Through our VERO program, Texas A&M, the CVM and (West Texas A&M) are fulfilling a promise we made to the citizens of Texas to further address the need for rural and food animal veterinarians, needs that affect our food supply, the state of Texas economy and citizens of the Texas Panhandle, as well as rural communities across the state,” she said.
Noting that the VERO program launch had already "tripled the number of applicants from West Texas A&M being admitted to CVM, Green also said the approval allows CVM closer to being able to admit even more students from WT and the Texas Panhandle region who can then, close to home, receive a veterinary education.
Through the 2+2 program, the first cohort of up to 18 Texas A&M first-year veterinary students will begin their doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM) education at the VERO facility in fall 2021.
Those students will spend their first two years in Canyon, where they will receive essentially the same basic DVM education provided in College Station, Texas, but with convenient exposure to livestock and rural veterinary medicine, according to Green.
Every year after, there will be two cohorts at one time cycling through the Canyon location before their third year at the CVM in College Station, with the option of returning to Canyon for a portion of their fourth-year clinical rotations, the university said.
The cohort will increase the total number of students enrolled in the CVM’s DVM program to 180, the largest in the nation.
“Bringing excellent veterinary faculty and resources to the Texas Panhandle area addresses critical needs and opens new opportunities for students in the Texas Panhandle to become Aggie veterinarians,” said West Texas A&M president Walter Wendler.
The Texas A&M University System has invested more than $95 million in its programs in the Texas Panhandle, including, most recently, a $5 million commitment to support additional faculty hires for the 2+2 program.
As part of the approval process, AVMA COE will monitor the implementation of the 2+2 program through the CVM’s subsequent interim reports, which will update the council on the implementation of the program, including additional clinical resources identified and additional faculty and staff hires. The next interim report will be due Dec. 15.
The approval will also require a focused site visit that will occur in the second semester of the second year of the initial 2+2 class, during which a site team will visit the VERO facilities at West Texas A&M and will interview students and VERO faculty.
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