cacy before these products are used in human trials. Veterinary pharmacologists, pathologists, microbiologists, virologists, toxicologists, and laboratory animal veterinarians are needed by these same industries and public agencies like the Food and Drug Administration. In addition, members of the veterinary school faculty must have advanced education before they are in a position to train future veterinarians and post-graduate veterinarians for these critical roles.
However, in stark contrast to the number of DVM graduates entering specialty training, far fewer are seeking advanced academic degrees. Based on the information from the committee’s survey of veterinary schools, departments of veterinary science, and departments of comparative medicine, Figure 9-5 shows the total number of students enrolled in educational training programs in those institutions in 2007, as well as the numbers of students expected to be enrolled in 2010 and 2016. Although the numbers of students seeking advanced academic degrees (MS, PhD) would initially appear to be equal or greater than those obtaining advanced training in clinical residencies, that is not the case, because they include not only DVMs but also students with a Bachelor degree.
The proportion of DVM students pursuing a PhD degree can be estimated from the AAVMC Comparative Database (AAVMC, 2009b) which indicates that the number of DVM graduates enrolled in PhD programs from 2007 through 2011 years will be, on average, 83 per year. That would suggest that about one quarter of the total PhD enrollment in the veterinary colleges and associated departments that responded to the survey (Figure 9-5) are DVMs, assuming a 4-year PhD program. That number is reasonably consistent with the responses to the committee’s survey indicating that, across all colleges of veterinary medicine, 61 PhD degrees would be awarded to DVM graduates in 2007, a number expected to increase to 101 by 2016. As Figure 9-6 illustrates, that is a much smaller number than the graduates receiving board certification in the same time periods.
Implications of the Lack of Interest in Graduate Academic Training
It is clear that most veterinary students are not seeking academic training to pursue academic careers. Instead they are more inclined to enter clinical residency programs, and veterinary schools are attempting to accommodate that interest. Veterinary educators have not cultivated a sufficient interest among veterinary students, nor provided sufficient training opportunities to prepare the next generation of research scientists for academic, industrial, and public service positions. In addition, there are multiple factors that may dissuade students from entering PhD programs, beginning with the length of time needed to obtain graduate degrees following the previous eight years to attain the DVM degree, the amount of student debt carried by students after graduating from veterinary schools, and the lack of public or private support of graduate student stipends. For students inclined to pursue a career in the academe, there is the difficult