Lightening the Load

If you’re into current events, there’s one topic that has been getting quite a bit of media play of late, and I’m not talking about Tiger Woods’ off-the-course exploits. No, I’m referring to an issue that hits a lot closer to home for the veterinary profession.

Take a look at all the recent news stories about the country’s shortage of food supply and rural veterinarians.

Ever since USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that his department was taking a significant step in addressing the nation’s veterinary shortage, media coverage has really spiked, and rightfully so. The AVMA has been on top of the issue for several years, pushing for federal assistance through testimony and face-to-face meetings on Capitol Hill and pitching the story to any news reporter who would listen. It appears that our advocacy efforts have paid off, with the federal government finally nearing implementation of the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program.

Now we’re also putting some financial muscle into our efforts. We recently announced a pilot debt-relief program, known as the Food Animal Veterinarian Recruitment and Retention Program, for veterinary students who commit to serving in food animal and rural veterinary practice. Administered by the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, the initiative helps reverse the downward trend in food supply and rural veterinarians. The program launched April 1, and we’re already seeing a lot of interest from veterinary students and recent graduates.

The application deadline for the first round of grants is June 1. If you know of someone who might be interested, urge them to check out the information on the AVMF Web page or contact AVMF Finance Manager Donna Johnson at 847-285-6686 or

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