Legislative Actions; The Veterinary Community; Funding Announced

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Resolution calls for 2011 to be World Veterinary Year

Congress has been asked to mark the upcoming 250th anniversary of veterinary medicine by proclaiming 2011 as World Veterinary Year.

The two veterinarians serving in Congress—Rep. Kurt Schrader and Sen. John Ensign—each introduced a resolution July 15 honoring the contributions of veterinarians in the promotion of animal and public health.

Because the world's first veterinary school was established in Lyon, France, in 1761, the international veterinary community is celebrating 2011 as the 250th anniversary of the veterinary medical profession.

The resolutions will have to be voted out of committee before being considered by the House and Senate.

The AVMA is working with foreign colleagues on plans to commemorate the anniversary. Veterinary organizations within 78 countries are expected to observe the 2011 milestone with special events throughout the year.

AVMA CEO W. Ron DeHaven welcomed his veterinary colleagues’ efforts to honor the veterinary profession. “The United States is joining with citizens from around the globe to honor the contributions veterinary medicine has made to animal health, public health, animal welfare, and food safety,” Dr. DeHaven said.

To learn more about Vet 2011 and upcoming events associated with the campaign, visit www.vet2011.org/index.php.

NAVMEC paves way for changes to veterinary education

The third and final North American Veterinary Medical Education Consortium meeting July 14-16 at the Oquendo Center for Clinical Education in Las Vegas had the most ambitious agenda of the meetings to date. Nearly 200 participants were asked to synthesize information from the first two meetings; discuss the current state of accreditation, testing, and licensure and create recommendations for change; and, ultimately, come up with ways to implement recommendations that come from NAVMEC.

A heavily emphasized part of NAVMEC has been identifying core competencies for veterinary students, which include multispecies clinical expertise, interpersonal communications and education, collaboration, management, public health and one-health promotion, lifelong learning, ethical professional leadership, and adaptability to changing environments. At the most recent meeting, participants refined these concepts and debated how and whether they can even be taught.

Also up for discussion was what role accreditation as well as licensure and testing will have on potential changes in veterinary education outlined in forthcoming NAVMEC recommendations.

Some participants thought changes made in the Council on Education accreditation standards as well as on state and national tests would help faculty and administrators achieve buy-in for NAVMEC recommendations.

However, during a panel discussion composed of representatives from those groups, most stated that while they won't hinder a transformation in veterinary education, they may not be the primary agents of change.

In the same brainstorming session, 86 percent of participants said “champions of NAVMEC recommendations,” who would personally visit colleges, accrediting bodies, and state licensing and testing boards, would be the most effective in communicating the results of NAVMEC to those groups.

Also, 38 percent said a “leading change team” identified at each veterinary school or college (e.g., a team consisting of a dean, faculty member, state licensing board member, student, and practitioner) would be the most effective group to direct the implementation of NAVMEC recommendations regarding veterinary education, accreditation, and licensing.

NAVMEC project manager Dr. Mary Beth Leininger said at press time that an executive summary from the third NAVMEC meeting would be available in August at www.navmec.org. The NAVMEC board of directors will compile its recommendations and submit a final report to the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges board of directors by the end of the year, and it will contain an implementation plan.

Further detail of what was discussed at the third NAVMEC meeting will be available at www.avma.org by clicking on “JAVMA News” and searching for the Sept. 1 issue.

Ross veterinary teaching hospital achieves AAHA accreditation

Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine's teaching hospital was awarded AAHA accreditation status after a site visit from a representative of the American Animal Hospital Association on June 21. This is the first time AAHA has accredited a hospital outside mainland North America.

Dr. David J. DeYoung, dean of the veterinary school, which is located on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts, said in a press release that obtaining AAHA accreditation was an important milestone for the institution.

AAHA is the sole accrediting organization for animal hospitals in the United States and Canada. Only 15 percent of veterinary hospitals hold the “AAHA-accredited” designation, indicating the highest quality of practice standards. Ross’ teaching hospital was evaluated on the same 900 standards used to accredit veterinary hospitals in the United States and Canada.

AAHA accreditation examines everything from human resources and housekeeping to surgery and emergency management.

Dubey elected NAS member

Dr. J.P. Dubey, a research scientist and veterinary microbiologist with the Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service in Beltsville, Md., was among 72 new members and 18 foreign associates elected by the National Academy of Sciences April 27 for their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.


Dr. J.P. Dubey

Citation: American Journal of Veterinary Research 71, 9; 10.2460/ajvr.71.9.994

Dr. Dubey's pioneering research into the biology and control of three major diseases of humans and livestock—toxoplasmosis, neosporosis, and equine protozoal myeloencephalitis—has saved billions of dollars worldwide in health care and livestock production costs. His efforts have been essential to the ARS Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory solving problems facing food and fiber producers and users, and easing public concerns about food safety.

His reviews and books on neosporosis, sarcocystosis, and toxoplasmosis are used as references worldwide. Dr. Dubey has mentored young scientists and helped graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and pathology residents publish their results. He has been a consultant to the World Health Organization and United Nations as well as an AJVR and JAVMA author and reviewer.

The NAS is a private organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to furthering science and its use for the general welfare.

Researchers developing anthrax treatments

A current study could lead to improved treatments for people exposed to antimicrobial-resistant anthrax.

The five-year study, “Broad-spectrum antifolates for treatment of drug resistant Bacillus anthracis,” is intended to develop antimicrobials that can be used to treat inhalation anthrax by inhibiting production of dihydrofolate reductase, a metabolic enzyme. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is part of the National Institutes of Health, is providing $4 million to a research group led by William W. Barrow, PhD, a professor at the Oklahoma State University Center for Veterinary Health Sciences. His team includes members of the center's Department of Veterinary Pathology, members of the OSU Department of Chemistry, employees of Sapient Discovery in San Diego, and employees of Lovelace Biomedical and Environmental Research Institute in Albuquerque.

Information provided by the applicants to the NIH indicates approved antimicrobials are available for use against anthrax. However, there is an unmet need for anthrax therapeutics that protect against strains engineered to be resistant to those antimicrobials.

The research is intended to improve therapy following an attack involving use of anthrax on civilians or military members, university information states.

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