About 60 members of the veterinary community in Southern California

gathered at Western University of Health Sciences (WesternU) on October 27

to discuss the exciting opportunities arising with the development of the

University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. The College 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.

Attending veterinarians represented small animal, equine, avian, dairy,

zoo and laboratory animal practices; as well as the public health sector

and local humane societies. Representing the California Veterinary Medical

Association were Dr. Mike Andrews, past-president, and Dr. Al Schwartz,

president; representing the Southern California Veterinary Medical

Association were Richard Holden, executive director, and Dr. Adel Salib,

president; and representing the American Veterinary Medical Association

(AVMA) was Executive Board Member Dr. Joan Samuels (District X).

The attendees were present because of their commitment to or interest in

serving as clinical preceptors for the College’s future third- and fourth-

year students. Much like traditional human medical training, WesternU

veterinary students will spend most of the latter half of their education

gaining hands-on experience at animal hospitals, clinics, public health

agencies and humane societies, among other settings. In these clinical

rotation sites, WesternU veterinary students will hone diagnostic and

therapeutic skills learned in the classroom during the first two years of

the curriculum.

“”Clinical preceptors play crucial roles in the educational process,”” said

Shirley Johnston, DVM, PhD, founding dean of the College of Veterinary

Medicine. “”We will provide the best possible classroom experiences for our

students and then rely strongly on adjunct faculty practitioners to give

them a well-rounded, realistic view of life in the profession. The hands-

on, practical experience is critical for our students to master.””

At the event, topics covered included curriculum, evaluation procedures,

liability issues, and resources for practitioners and learning objectives.

Veterinarians who commit to serving as preceptors for WesternU students

will enjoy adjunct faculty appointments, career development opportunities

and the chance to learn with the students, who will be well versed in

evidence-based medicine and literature retrieval in today’s fast-paced,

information technology world.

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. According to a veterinary medicine task force report produced by

WesternU, Southern California is the last major metropolitan area in the

nation without the direct presence of a program to educate veterinarians.

WesternU’s College of Veterinary Medicine is committed to educating

veterinarians for the advancement of the profession.