ages private practitioners to explore the profession by providing educational sessions at AVMA meetings and by funding scholarships to clinicians to attend these sessions.
Together with the Charles River Laboratory, ACLAM developed Camp ACLAM, a week-long summer session for veterinary residents and veterinarians intending to take the ACLAM certification examination within the next 3 years. In addition to intense course work there is a practice session for the examination. During the same period ASLAP actively encouraged veterinary students to enter the profession by creating a student liaison in every North American veterinary college who answered student questions and provided access to additional reading material on laboratory animal medicine. ASLAP also provides summer fellowships to veterinary students to work in the field.
Together, these changes appear to be making an impact. Between 2002-2008, the number of ACLAM-approved training programs increased from 35 to 41, and the number of residents enrolled in these programs has increased from 85 to 115. In 2008, a record 92 candidates took the exam and the pass rate was 51% (compared to 31% in the past).
Like ACLAM, ACVP has recognized the need to increase membership and has established pathology clubs in each of the U.S. veterinary colleges. It also has just completed a RDD which it plans to use as a template for their certification examination, and it regularly employs an educational consultant to provide quality control and to validate the examination. In addition, it has created a joint program with the Society of Toxicologic Pathology (STP) called the ACVP/STP Coalition for Veterinary Pathology Fellows which seeks funds from industry to support additional pathology fellows at academic institutions throughout North America. With the support of biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, as of 2009, the Coalition had competitively established 22 new training positions, including 15 anatomic pathology residencies, 3 clinical pathology residencies, and 4 post-residency PhD pathology research positions (Cockerell et al., 2009). Trainees have no payback obligation following completion of their fellowships other than to complete the ACVP certification examination and/or the PhD, and to become employed as a veterinary pathologist. Results to date indicate that fellows are distributing themselves among positions in academia and the private sector. Furthermore, the percentage of fellows who have successfully completed the ACVP certification exam is approximately 2-times the average pass rate of all first time candidates over the past 3 years, reflecting the quality of Coalition trainees and the excellence of their training programs. The majority of sponsors have renewed their funding for additional Coalition training positions, demonstrating their satisfaction with, and commitment to, this unique educational initiative.
The NRC report National Needs and Priorities for Veterinarians in Biomedical Research (NRC, 2004) highlighted the need to expand the number of veterinarians qualified for research and other positions in biomedical science in public and private sectors. Many of the report’s conclusions and recommendations related to the costs of a veterinary education and student debt, the lack of