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
“”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.