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National Need and Priorities for Veterinarians in Biomedical Research
membership in 2002 had board certification in laboratory animal medicine, and less than 2% had board certification in pathology), and demographic information specific to this subpopulation of veterinarians is not collected. Some professional societies, such as ACLAM and the American College of Veterinary Pathologists (ACVP), do obtain demographics of their membership to varying degrees; however, veterinarians who participate in biomedical research, with the exception of laboratory animal veterinarians, are generally following non-traditional career paths and there is little impetus among professional societies to investigate the demographics, supply, or demand for these individuals. For example, veterinarians participating in biomedical research as principal investigators or technical consultants are more likely to be affiliated with a professional research society (e.g., Society for Neuroscience) than a professional veterinary society.
The committee was able to identify some data on various subpopulations of comparative medicine veterinarians, such as individuals who have obtained board certification in laboratory animal medicine or pathology. However, the authoring committee was unable to find any usable data on some subpopulations, such as veterinarians who are co-investigators, research scientists, or technical consultants. This lack of usable information prevented the committee from performing a detailed, quantitative analysis of the current workforce. Because the authoring committee was not commissioned to survey the workforce, they were forced to rely heavily on data collected by professional societies and NIH on three subpopulations of the workforce: laboratory animal medicine veterinarians, veterinary pathologists, and veterinary principal investigators. Data available on these three subpopulations of workforce are presented in the following sections.
LABORATORY ANIMAL MEDICINE VETERINARY WORKFORCE
As described by ACLAM, the professional society that administers specialty certification, laboratory animal veterinarians are veterinary medical specialists who are experts in the humane, proper, and safe care and use of laboratory animals. The majority of laboratory animal medicine veterinarians (as identified by membership in the American Society for Laboratory Animal Practitioners [ASLAP] or ACLAM) identified themselves as administrative, management, or clinical staff involved in the management of laboratory animal facilities (Weigler and Huneke, 2003). These individuals, acting as attending veterinarians, staff veterinarians, and facility directors, oversee the care and use of laboratory animals in biomedical research institutions, such as universities, hospitals, and biotechnical and pharmaceutical companies. Most of these institutions are subject to the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), which is enforced by the USDA and applies to any research institution utilizing warm blooded animals other than birds, rats of the genus