tals to becoming secondary and tertiary referral centers, increasing income for the hospitals, and providing veterinary students with challenging cases as part of their clinical training. The residency programs would appear to be training adequate numbers of specialists to meet the academic needs, however many of these individuals will be attracted to private companion-animal practice because salaries of specialists in private practice are considerably higher than those in universities, so there is little incentive to stay. In short, the veterinary schools are on an unsustainable trajectory.
In the current climate of decreasing state budgets and a decline in discretionary spending for specialty services, it is increasingly difficult for veterinary schools to continue to be the principal source of specialty training. Until there is a clear indication of state, federal, industrial or philanthropic support, the role of academic veterinary medicine in future training of specialists is at risk.
Veterinary colleges need to be in a dialogue with AVMA and AAVMC to determine the number of specialists needed to supply all employment sectors so planning and acquisition of infrastructure support can be obtained for the training of current and future specialists. Where critical shortages are occurring nationally for trained public practice veterinarians such as laboratory animal medicine, pathology, epidemiology, microbiology, and toxicology, public support to produce those veterinarians is warranted.
Academic (Research) Training
Veterinary medical colleges, veterinary science departments, and comparative medicine departments are the principal academic environments at which DVM/MS/PhDs are trained. A number of veterinarians may also pursue advanced degrees in schools of medicine, public health, law, agriculture, and business. All of these diverse training opportunities are important for the veterinary profession to grow in order to meet societal expectations.
Traditionally, graduate academic programs leading to MS and PhD degrees have been 2- and 4-year programs, respectively, and are discipline-based, for example, microbiology or pharmacology. Because many current scientific and biomedical challenges are complex, programs have begun to emphasize multidisciplinary training, involving two or more disciplines. Regardless, the goal of the programs is to provide graduates with a sound base in one or more disciplines along with the critical analytical skills needed to carry out independent research. Post-graduate training is of great importance for preparing the public practice veterinarians in the federal and state workforce, including the disciplines and practices of critical importance for the health and well-being of animals, the environment, and humans, such as pathology, ecology, epidemiology, virology, infectious diseases, comparative medicine, and public health. Similar specialty or graduate training, especially in pathology, toxicology and laboratory animal medicine, are needed in the pharmaceuticals and biologics industries to perform the critical testing of pharmaceuticals and biologics for safety and effi-