The Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) completed a pivotal step in the development of its 2+2 veterinary program on April 13, when the college received official program approval from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Council on Education (COE).
With this approval, the CVM has permission to implement the 2+2 program through its Veterinary Education, Research & Outreach (VERO) program on West Texas A&M University’s (WT) campus. This means that additional veterinary students will be able to complete the first two years of their four-year veterinary curriculum in Canyon, Texas.
“The 2+2 program helps fulfill a 10-year goal to increase large animal veterinary medicine in the Texas Panhandle,” said Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp. “It makes West Texas A&M the gateway to one of the best veterinary schools in the nation.”
“We are extremely excited that our 2+2 program has been approved by the AVMA COE,” said Dr. Eleanor M. Green, the Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M. “This is a benchmark step that puts Texas A&M and WT one step closer to fulfilling a plan we have been working on for over a decade now.
“Through our VERO program, Texas A&M, the CVM, and WT are fulfilling a promise we made to the citizens of Texas to further address the need for rural and food animal veterinarians, needs that affect our food supply, the State of Texas economy, and citizens of the Texas Panhandle, as well as rural communities across the state,” she said.
“It also supports our Texas youth who have aspirations for careers in veterinary medicine. While the launch of the VERO program has already tripled the number applicants from WT being admitted to the CVM’s veterinary curriculum, this approval brings us one step closer to being able to admit even more students from WT and the Texas Panhandle region who can then, close to home, receive an education from one of the best veterinary schools in the nation,” Green said. “We anticipate that many of these veterinary graduates will choose to return home to serve their hometown communities.”
Through the 2+2 program, the first cohort of up to 18 Texas A&M first-year veterinary students will begin their Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) education at the VERO facility in fall 2021.
Those students will spend their first two years in Canyon on WT’s campus, where they will receive essentially the same basic DVM education provided in College Station but with convenient exposure to livestock and rural veterinary medicine, according to Green.
Every year after, there will be two cohorts at one time cycling through the Canyon location before their third year at the CVM in College Station, with the option of returning to Canyon for a portion of their fourth-year clinical rotations.
The cohort will increase the total number of students enrolled in the CVM’s DVM program to 180, the largest in the nation.
“We are pleased that the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education sees the same potential in our 2+2 program that we do,” said Dr. Walter Wendler, WT president. “Bringing excellent veterinary faculty and resources to the Texas Panhandle area addresses critical needs and opens new opportunities for students in the Texas Panhandle to become Aggie veterinarians.”
The 2+2 program is one of many programs the CVM has implemented in the Texas Panhandle since 2009. Through the CVM’s VERO initiative, CVM faculty members live and work in the Texas Panhandle. They are housed at WTAMU, where they are actively recruiting and mentoring pre-veterinary students.
They also offer unique educational opportunities for current CVM veterinary students, including immersive externships, summer internships, and food animal production-focused tours that introduce them to the region and the livestock industries. An essential focus is working with veterinarians and livestock industry leaders in the region. The College Station campus and VERO are seamlessly connected, bringing the resources of College Station to the Texas Panhandle and vice versa.
All of these activities have been supported by more than $95 million in investments by the Texas A&M University System, including, most recently, a $5 million commitment to support additional faculty hires for the 2+2 program.
As part of the approval process, the AVMA COE will monitor the implementation of the 2+2 program through the CVM’s subsequent interim reports, which will update the AVMA COE on the implementation of the program, including additional clinical resources identified and additional faculty and staff hires. The next interim report will be due Dec. 15, 2020.
The approval will also require a focused site visit that will occur in the second semester of the second year of the initial 2+2 class, during which a site team will visit the VERO facilities at WT and will interview students and VERO faculty.
For more information on the 2+2 program and the CVM’s VERO initiative, visit https://vetmed.tamu.edu/vero/.
Contact Information: Jennifer Gauntt, Director of CVM Communications, Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Science, firstname.lastname@example.org, 979-862-4216; Chip Chandler, West Texas A&M University, 806-651-2124, email@example.com