An expert committee will be charged to study the broad scope of issues related to the veterinary workforce in the United States. The study will explore historical changes in the size and characteristics of the veterinary workforce; assess the demographics and adequacy of the current supply of veterinarians in different occupational categories and sectors of the economy; and identify incentives, disincentives, and other factors that are likely to affect the numbers of veterinarians seeking jobs in different sectors in the future. The study will also examine trends affecting the kinds of jobs available to veterinarians and assess future demand for veterinary expertise in existing and new employment sectors. The study will examine the current and future capacity of universities and colleges to provide sufficient numbers of adequately trained veterinarians and identify training needs relative to the demand for specific expertise. A report will present the findings of the study, and identify options for meeting requirements for a veterinary workforce.
Over the course of 2007 to 2009, the committee held six meetings and interviewed more than a dozen experts on veterinary workforce issues in academe, as well as in public, private, and industrial practice. The committee developed and distributed exploratory questionnaires to veterinarians and employers in different sectors to obtain preliminary insights that could be integrated with other information, such as membership surveys and data from veterinary associations to discern trends. Appendixes B, D, and G contain the questionnaires used by the committee. The report has been long in the making, in part because of the inconsistent ways in which organized veterinary medicine compiles data, rendering it difficult to analyze long-term trends in the profession. Accurate predictions for the future are rooted in understanding these trends.
Chapters 2, 3, and 4 of the report examine data, information, and trends in the private practice of companion-animal, equine, and food-animal medicine, respectively. Appendix C contains supplementary material related to food-animal practice. Chapter 5 explores information from companies in the biomedical and pharmaceutical industries and the specialty colleges that seek to produce specialists who are in demand in those industries. Chapter 6 examines public practice—the employment of veterinarians by states and the federal government, who oversee areas of significant national interests. Appendix E provides a list of recruitment tools available to agencies of the federal government for attracting veterinary talent. Chapter 7 examines the role of veterinarians in wildlife and ecosystem health, where many important scientific and veterinary challenges are now emerging, and Appendix F contains a list of short courses available to prepare students for careers in these fields. Chapter 8 makes a case for extending the concept of One Health to the issue of global food security. Chapter 9 explores the challenges facing the veterinary medical schools, which sit at the cen-