Dr. Jackie Davidson, clinical professor at Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM), recently became one of the first diplomates of the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation (ACVSMR) through successful completion of a subject matter examination.
The ACVSMR is the newest veterinary specialty college approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), having been recognized by the AVMA two years ago. According to the ACVSMR website, the mission of the college is to advance the art and science of veterinary medicine “by promoting expertise in the structural, physiological, medical, and surgical needs of athletic animals and the restoration of normal form and function after injury or illness.” Diplomates can become specialists in either canine or equine sports medicine or rehabilitation. Davidson received her certification in canine.
For a candidate to become a diplomate of the ACVSMR, they must complete a three-year residency, be published in the field, submit five case reports, and pass a two-day exam. Since the specialty is only two years old, there are only a few veterinarians in residencies now. Davidson, however, was one of the few individuals who qualified to take the exam without doing a residency. To be exempt from the residency portion of the process, applicants were required to submit their credentials for approval. Criteria that the board considered included having at least 10 years of work experience, having publications in the field, and being a faculty member actively involved in clinical and research aspects of veterinary sports medicine and rehabilitation. Once the credentials were approved, the selected applicants were allowed to go straight to the exam portion of the process. This residency exemption option will only be available for the next two years. This was the first year the certifying exam was offered.
Davidson said the exam was one of the hardest she has ever taken.
“I’m boarded in the American College of Veterinary Surgeons and the difficulty level was comparable to that. You leave the exam and think, ‘There is no way I passed that.’ But I did pass,” Davidson said.
Davidson prepared for the exam by reading and taking continuing education courses in the field. While reading a book or article related to the topic Davidson would take notes, which she later used to study for the exam.
“Then, the last six weeks before the exam, I had time off clinicals and all I did was sit and study for 12 hours a day,” she added.
Davidson said she took the exams because she felt prepared by her experiences from working in post-operative rehabilitation for 10 years and her dedication to continuing education.
“I was working in this area so I wanted to have the certification that represented this other special skill set and knowledge area that sets me apart,” she said.
Davidson explained that her dream is to have a residency program at the CVM where residents of the program can receive training and become specialists in the field.
Davidson is currently a surgeon for the small animal hospital, but also oversees the physical rehabilitation service.
“My job here is primarily as a surgeon, but I would like to build up the rehab portion of [the hospital]. That’s kind of what I do now, most of my time is spent actually in the surgery service, but I help oversee the rehab service at the same time,” she said.
Davidson is the second member of the CVM family to become a diplomate. Dr. William Moyer, professor and special assistant to the dean, is a founding diplomate of the college.