five years. These recommendations include retraining private clinical practice veterinarians for careers in biomedical research.
The comparative medicine community must actively work to raise awareness of the role of veterinarians in biomedical research. Outreach programs should target the lay public, veterinary practitioners, and veterinary and pre-veterinary students. Educational campaigns can be very effective; however, it must be recognized that they are long-term solutions to an apparent shortage of comparative medicine veterinarians.
It is vital to raise awareness within the veterinary community of the importance of comparative medicine to both biomedical and veterinary medical research. Comparative medicine veterinarians need to influence decisions regarding curriculum within their veterinary schools. They should educate their fellow clinical faculty about the importance of research in general and encourage the use of examples of experimental research during didactic training. Professional societies could address this issue at a national level by encouraging the editorial staff of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association to devote an issue to biomedical research.
Comparative medicine veterinarians must be active in raising the awareness of middle- and high-school, college, and veterinary students about careers in comparative medicine. Veterinarians can be proactive by volunteering for outreach programs at middle and high schools, participating in undergraduate career forums, and supporting the establishment or expansion of veterinary student clubs. Faculty mentoring is perhaps the most effective tool for identifying students with an aptitude for and interest in comparative medicine. All comparative medicine faculty should make efforts to interact with first- and second-year veterinary students and to mentor those who show interest in comparative medicine. They should also ensure that their schools increase efforts to inform veterinary students of research training opportunities and should seek to establish research-training programs (summer externships and 1-year research fellowships for veterinary students) if they do not already exist at their institutions.
Professional societies, such as ACLAM and ASLAP, can also be proactive in their efforts to attract veterinary students to careers in biomedical science. This can be done by establishing and/or supporting a biomedical