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WesternU Hosts State Veterinary Symposium

by Rodney Tanaka

February 14, 2000

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An anticipated 100 veterinarians will travel to Pomona for the first in a

series of CAlifornia Regional Education Symposiums (CARES) from Thursday

through Saturday, February 17-19, at Western University of Health Sciences

(WesternU). The event serves as continuing education for in-state

veterinarians and satisfies the requirements for California licensure for

out-of-state veterinarians who have obtained a temporary reciprocity

license. CARES is hosted by WesternU’s College of Veterinary Medicine,

organized and funded by VetSmart and sponsored by Veterinary Centers of


As a result of the event, about 50 out-of-state veterinarians will receive

permanent licensure in California, each of whom will be able to provide

care to an estimated 3,600 pets each year.

In 1998 then-Governor Pete Wilson signed SB 2003, the California

Reciprocity Bill, and in 1999 the California Office of Administrative Law

passed emergency regulations to implement it. Veterinarians currently

licensed in another state can now start applying for and receiving

licensure in California by obtaining a temporary license and attending

CARES to receive permanent licensure.

Previously, out-of-state veterinarians wishing to become licensed in

California had to take the state board and national licensing exams just

like new graduate veterinarians, which is a difficult and lengthy process.

As a result, a growing need for licensed vets was going unfilled in the

state. Now, the only examination in the process is a take home test on

California veterinary law.

“”California has a desperate demand for more veterinarians, and with the

help of this new legislation and CARES we can start addressing that need,””

said Shirley Johnston, DVM, PhD, founding dean of WesternU’s College of

Veterinary Medicine.

California has 1.64 veterinarians per 10,000 people-substantially less

than the national average of 2.16 veterinarians per 10,000 people.

At the symposium, veterinarians from other areas will learn about

California-specific regional and environmental diseases, California

practice standards and state agencies and regulations. Speakers include

Todd Tams, DVM, with Veterinary Centers of America; Janet Foley, DVM, PhD,

with UC Davis; Cal Kobluk, DVM, DVSc, with Cal Poly Pomona; and John Maas,

DVM, with the UC Extension Program. Other speakers represent the

California Veterinary Medical Association, the Animal Dermatology Clinic

and the California Department of Food Animals.

When WesternU’s College of Veterinary Medicine secures the first step in

the AVMA accreditation process it will be the first veterinary school ever

to open in Southern California, and the first in the United States since

1983. It is scheduled to welcome its first class of 70 students in the

fall of 2001, and will offer a four-year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine

(DVM) degree program. According to a veterinary medicine task force report

produced by WesternU, Southern California is the only major metropolitan

area in the nation without the direct presence of a program to educate


“”All of us at WesternU’s College of Veterinary Medicine are committed to

educating quality veterinarians for the advancement of the profession,””

said Dr. Johnston. “”CARES fits in well with our mission, and provides us

another opportunity to have a positive impact in California.””


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