Helping Solve the Rural Veterinarian Shortage

The AVMA played an instrumental role in the passage and funding of the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is designed to alleviate the nation’s shortage of food-supply and rural veterinarians. The profession reaped the first benefits of these efforts last November when the USDA issued awards to 62 veterinarians that will help repay their veterinary school loans in return for providing veterinary services in areas experiencing a veterinary shortage. The awards totaled nearly $6 million. 

While we are extremely pleased that the program has gotten off to a great start, there is still more for us to do. That’s why we are asking you to help us answer a call from the USDA for volunteers to participate on two panels that will play a key role in the next round of awards. 

The USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture is seeking volunteer veterinarians with food-supply veterinary medicine experience to serve on two selection panels. The Nomination Panel will help determine which areas of the U.S. have the greatest need for more veterinarians.  Membership in this panel is limited to government and university veterinarians, and nominations are due March 25, 2011. The Awards Panel will review applications and recommend veterinarians to receive up to $25,000 annually toward repayment of educational loans in exchange for a service commitment to practice in shortage areas. Nominations for the Awards Panel are due on June 1, 2011. The agency will provide $225 daily honorariums for eligible panelists. Those interested in applying must complete a questionnaire

This is important work, and the application deadlines are approaching quickly. So if you have an interest in helping advance this valuable program, we encourage you to apply today for a position on one of the panels. Your involvement will go a long way toward helping us build a stronger workforce in areas that are truly in need.

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