Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona, CA, has withdrawn an

antitrust lawsuit against the American Veterinary Medical Association

(AVMA). The lawsuit, filed in April 2000, alleged restraint of trade in

allowing Western University to provide veterinary education.

The AVMA’s Council on Education (AVMA-COE) declined to confer a letter of

reasonable assurance to Western University in February 1999, February

2000, and October 2000. The AVMA-COE is the accrediting body for U.S.

veterinary colleges and is recognized as such by the United States

Department of Education.

Prior to being served with the lawsuit in October 2000, the AVMA-COE

established an ad hoc liaison committee to work with Western University to

facilitate its reapplication. Western University added an increased

emphasis on molecular and cellular biology to its curriculum, and

increased standardization of physical facilities at its clinical sites to

meet concerns of the AVMA. On Monday, March 5, 2001, the AVMA-COE issued

a “”letter of reasonable assurance”” to Western University for the proposed

college. When the school opens its doors to its first class of students in

fall 2003, it will be the first college of veterinary medicine in Southern


“”The AVMA’s Council on Education is committed to ensuring the quality of

professional veterinary education and, through the accreditation process,

protecting the interests of the general public as related to veterinary

medicine. We wish every success to Western University of Health Sciences

as they develop their proposed college,”” said AVMA President, Dr. James


Granting the “”letter of reasonable assurance”” signifies that a proposed

college is likely to gain accreditation if it implements its plans as

proposed, thus demonstrating that it meets or exceeds the “”Standard

Requirements of an Accredited or Approved College of Veterinary

Medicine.”” The AVMA-COE’s “”Standard Requirements”” are established to

ensure that graduates of accredited colleges of veterinary medicine are

firmly based in the fundamental principles, scientific knowledge, and

physical and mental skills of veterinary medicine, and are able to apply

these fundamentals to solving veterinary medical problems. The

requirements include standards related to organization, finances, physical

facilities and equipment, clinical resources, library and learning

resources, students, admissions, faculty, curriculum, continuing education

and research programs.

Each of the 31 accredited veterinary colleges in the United States and

Canada is evaluated on a regular basis and must demonstrate that it meets

these standards in order to maintain accreditation.

“”We are thrilled that the AVMA has recognized the quality of our proposed

program, which we see as one of the most innovative in veterinary

academia,”” said Western University College of Veterinary Medicine Dean

Shirley D. Johnston, DVM, PhD. “”We look forward to working cooperatively

with AVMA-COE in the years ahead.””

The College of Veterinary Medicine at Western University, when accredited,

will be the 28th veterinary school in the United States, and the first new

school in about 20 years.