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NYSVMS Public Comment to NACIQI
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Written Comments:  re:  American Veterinary Medical Association – Council on Education

 

Christopher Brockett, DVM, NYSVMS President

Dean Snyder, DVM, NYSVMS President-Elect

Jennifer J. Mauer, CAE, NYSVMS Executive Director

 

New York State Veterinary Medical Society

100 Great Oaks Blvd.

Suite 127

Albany, NY 12203

 

Email: jmauer@nysvms.org

Web: www.nysvms.org

Phone: (518) 869-7867

Fax: (518) 869-7868

 

Comments:

 

The New York State Veterinary Medical Society (NYSVMS) is an organization of veterinarians that advocates for, represents, and fulfills the needs of veterinarians throughout New York State. We are the voice for the profession, representing the nearly 5,000 veterinarians licensed and practicing within state borders.

 

For nearly two years, the NYSVMS has been concerned with the current state of the veterinary medical college accreditation process and the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) Council on Education (COE). In January 2014, the NYSVMS presented a resolution calling for the discontinuation of the accreditation of foreign veterinary schools by the AVMA’s Council on Education. At that meeting, during the session of the AVMA House of Delegates which is the voting body representing all membership, a full 20 percent saw reason to vote in support of the NYSVMS resolution.

 

Our concerns with the Council on Education are many and serious. The NYSVMS firmly believes that the role of the Council on Education is to adhere to, and enforce, their own 11 Standards of Accreditation in a manner that is free and independent from the AVMA and any other political entities.  It is crucial that the COE accredits veterinary medical colleges in a manner that ensures these schools produce scientists who will lead the veterinary field in the research and development of new diagnostic procedures and therapeutics and, at the same time, produce highly qualified veterinary practitioners.

 

Our concerns are as follows:

 

1.        The Council on Education is not adhering to the 11 Standards of Accreditation. It appears there has been a concerted, retrospective effort to weaken several of these standards in order to justify the accreditation of schools that did not meet the standards as originally written.

2.       We are seeing an expanding number of veterinary schools employing a distributive model of education. These new veterinary schools are often not affiliated with institutions of higher learning, do not have post doctoral and advanced training programs, have limited to no training facilities, and instruct their students at distant locations, often with little oversight. There is scant concern for the student’s ability or aptitude for the educational process.

3.       The continued expansion of the foreign veterinary school accreditation process consumes valuable resources, diverts student loans to foreign institutions, and creates a system of inconsistent accreditation of foreign and domestic veterinary schools.

4.      The North American Veterinary Licensing Examination, the only objective measurement currently available, is not a requirement of accreditation for foreign veterinary schools. The colleges within North America are held to a standard of an 80 percent pass rate for their graduating classes.  Falling below this pass rate for a two year period endangers the accreditation status of that school.  A fair application of this standard would seem to require some significant post-educational assessment of any accredited school’s graduating student body.

5.       Finally, and most concerning, is the lack of a true firewall between the AVMA and the Council on Education. The Council on Education does not have its own unbiased legal representation. AVMA staff members attend every COE meeting and report to the AVMA executive board, as well as play major roles in preparing and submitting reports to the USDE. Historically, AVMA staff members have participated in site visits and deliberations. It was the AVMA Executive Board that decided the COE must evaluate foreign veterinary schools for accreditation.

 

We propose the following remedies be considered:

 

1.        The Council on Education is given complete autonomy and independence from its sponsoring organizations (the unabridged Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) model).  What is needed is a firewall that allows the COE to function and make decisions without the presence or participation in any form whatsoever by its sponsoring organizations – the AVMA or the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC). 

 

2.       The committees selecting members of the Council on Education should be qualified, by background and experience, to choose outstanding individuals who are free of real or perceived conflicts of interest. This would include Executive Board Directors, AVMA and AAVMC officers, and other AVMA and AAVMC personnel.

 

3.       The composition of the COE must be adjusted to include a greater proportion of members with outstanding backgrounds and experience in veterinary medical education.

 

 

The NYSVMS would like to thank you for taking the time to consider our concerns.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

New York State Veterinary Medical Society

 

Christopher Brockett, DVM, NYSVMS President

Dean Snyder, DVM, NYSVMS President-Elect

Jennifer J. Mauer, CAE, NYSVMS Executive Director

 

 

 

 

 

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