Archived News

Shifting Societal Needs and Changes to Professional Competencies Assessed by Veterinary Leaders

March 19, 2010

Editor's note: Dean Bennie Osburn is featured in the JAVMA News report on the conference, posted March 19 online at

The report below was distributed by the Association of American Veterinary Colleges February 16.

16 February 2010 – LAS VEGAS, NV

One of the most diverse representations of veterinary organizations ever assembled completed three days of meetings on Saturday to begin a year-long effort to chart the course for the future of veterinary medical education. The North American Veterinary Medical Education Consortium (NAVMEC) was launched by the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) in 2009 to ensure that veterinary medical education meets the needs of our changing society.

The topic addressed during the first meeting was societal needs and professional competencies.

“What was most impressive to me was the passion and commitment of meeting attendees,” said Mary Beth Leininger, DVM. “There is a determination that the Consortium needs to be a change agent for better education. Our future depends on it.”

Through three National Meetings in 2010, NAVMEC will:

  • bring together over 100 stakeholders and beneficiaries of veterinary medical education, experts from within the profession, and other interested entities to discuss what is meant by meeting society’s needs and the skills and competencies that will be required by graduating veterinarians to meet those needs. This represents a great challenge because the profession is so diverse with many fields of expertise, and a wide range of responsibilities to society
  • bring together the best minds and experts in academic veterinary medical education to identify and share a range of new educational models that could achieve the educational goals identified
  • explore the relationship between education, accreditation, and licensure to ensure that the veterinary colleges/schools can be creative in planning their future educational programs while continuing to meet accreditation standards; and that new graduates will be prepared to meet licensing requirements

“The next step for the second national meeting on educational models is for NAVMEC co-sponsors and the NAVMEC board of directors to approve a path forward based on the outcomes of this meeting,” said Dean Bennie Osburn, DVM, Ph.D., University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and Chairman of the Board, NAVMEC. “We are fully committed to developing a sustained effort toward change in education to help students, faculty and schools. But it takes patience and a comprehensive approach, and that’s what we’re seeing here in Las Vegas at our first meeting.”

Who Is Part of NAVMEC?

To produce as comprehensive an outcome as possible, AAVMC invited the participation of close to 400 groups and organizations with an interest in veterinary medical education. Approximately 170 groups and individuals have joined the Consortium, including co-sponsors who have made some financial contribution to help underwrite NAVMEC infrastructure and other groups and individuals wishing to participate in discussions. Both co-sponsors and partner organizations are invited to send a representative to the three national meetings planned for 2010. Those groups and individuals making a financial contribution are designated “co-sponsors.” All co-sponsors have been invited to name a representative who would not only participate at the national meetings, but may be part of an advisory panel that will help plan the national meetings, make recommendations concerning the organization of Consortium meetings, regularly review the progress of the Consortium, and make recommendations to the Consortium board as the final “national report” is drafted for submission to the AAVMC Board of Directors.

Participants include AAVMC national and international member institutions; licensure and testing groups; national, international and state veterinary medical associations; veterinary industry; veterinary
species and specialty organizations; animal welfare/activist groups; ancillary veterinary entities; and 13 individuals (these include past AAVMC presidents, past AVMA presidents, past deans of US colleges
of veterinary medicine and others).

How is NAVMEC Governed?

AAVMC launched NAVMEC in 2009 and provides the leadership for this initiative. The NAVMEC board of directors, representing the three pillars of NAVMEC—education, accreditation, and testing/licensure—will make final decisions concerning NAVMEC policies, procedures, and outcomes. The nine-person NAVMEC board is designed to support significant and meaningful advances in veterinary medical education. It is the first board ever comprised equally of representatives of licensure/testing, education, and accreditation--the entities most responsible for addressing societal needs that veterinarians should meet.

The next meeting is scheduled for April 29- May 1, 2010 at the Kansas City Airport Hilton, and will focus on new educational models. The final meeting is scheduled for July 14-16, 2010 and will return to the Oquendo Center in Las Vegas. It seeks to offer a synthesis of the meetings and include implications for accreditation/licensure.


NAVMEC is the most comprehensive effort ever undertaken to create a workforce of next generation veterinarians who are ready to address some of society’s greatest needs, taking into account educational
models, accreditation, and licensing.

On the Web:


The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) is a non-profit membership organization working to protect and improve the health and welfare of animals, people and the environment by generating new knowledge and preparing the high quality veterinary workforce needed to meet continually changing societal demands for veterinary expertise. AAVMC provides leadership for and promotes excellence in academic veterinary medicine to prepare the veterinary workforce with the scientific knowledge and skills required to meet societal needs through the protection of animal health, the relief of animal suffering, the conservation of animal resources, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge.

On the Web:

CONTACT: Emily Deckelman,, (202) 341-6632