|College of Veterinary Medicine Dean Trevor Ames, left, and Dr. Laura Molgaard, associate dean for academic affairs, right, present a copy of the memorandum of agreement to Dr. Ray Mobley, director of extension programs and associate professor and coordinator of animal science and research programs at Florida A & M University.|
College of Veterinary Medicine launches diversity program; signs agreement with Florida A & M
The College of Veterinary Medicine has signed a memorandum of agreement with Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU), the College’s first partner in the new Veterinary Leadership through Early Admissions Decisions (VetLEAD) program.
Modeled after the College’s veterinary food animal scholars program (VetFAST), an early decision enrollment program for high-ability students interested in food animal medicine, VetLEAD will increase diversity within the College’s veterinary student enrollment while helping to fill the void in under-served parts of the veterinary profession such as food animal medicine, food safety, and public health.
“Our goals for the VetLEAD program mirror those set out by the American Veterinary Medical Association,” says Dr. Trevor Ames, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. “The thrust of this early enrollment decision program is to provide opportunities to under-represented students by race and culture by educating them about the broad range of opportunities available in veterinary medicine.
To improve diversity both within the College and the profession, VetLEAD will strive to enroll and graduate more students from under-represented communities of color. The program will create a pathway for high-achieving students at minority-serving institutions who are considering a career in veterinary medicine, if they meet the program’s rigorous academic requirements.
“This is definitely an honors track,” says Dr. Laura Molgaard, associate dean for academic and student affairs at the College of Veterinary Medicine. “It allows us to identify high-ability students at our partner institutions and guarantee them a seat in vet school if they maintain academic excellence and participate in research and clinical experiences in the summers of their undergraduate program.”
“We will provide scholarship support, faculty mentoring, and peer advising to these students to ensure their success and provide them with a positive educational experience,” says Ames. “The College is committed to fostering an atmosphere where these students can succeed and flourish. Our partnership with FAMU is the first step toward addressing that goal.”
Dr. Ray Mobley, director of extension programs and associate professor and coordinator of animal science and research programs at FAMU, recently visited the College of Veterinary Medicine to discuss the details of the partnership.
“It’s an opportunity to create bridges for our students,” he says. “I think it will improve opportunities for our students by giving them access to a premier school of veterinary medicine and other opportunities for higher learning.”
Florida A&M University has 13 schools and colleges and one institute, and offers 62 bachelor’s degrees and 39 master’s degrees. FAMU has 11 doctoral programs, which include 10 Ph.D. programs. Mobley notes that FAMU also offers degrees in animal food sciences and a broad range of agricultural degrees, including engineering and economics.
“VetLEAD is a win-win program that will not only benefit our students but address the diversity needs in veterinary medicine,” says Mobley.
According to the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, students of color represented only 5.9 percent of the total enrollment at U.S. veterinary schools and colleges in 1981. By 2006, these under-represented students comprised 9.7 percent of total enrollment, an increase of less than 4 percent in 25 years.
Veterinary medicine remains one of the least diverse professions in the United States, while U.S. demographics are rapidly changing. By 2050, it is estimated that whites who speak English as a first language will represent no more than 50 percent of the U.S. population. If diversity is not achieved, veterinarians will increasingly find themselves removed from the populations they serve.
The United States also faces shortages of veterinarians in a number of areas within the veterinary profession. The College hopes that VetLEAD students will help fill the void in these under-served fields as well.
“While the VetFAST program addresses this need directly, VetLEAD will also encourage students to pursue careers in the under-served areas of the veterinary profession, such as food animal medicine, food safety, and public health,” says Ames.
For more information about the VetLEAD program, call 612-624-4747.