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
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.””