With Glendale City Council and Arizona State Board of Private Postsecondary Education approvals in hand, Midwestern University will soon begin construction on Arizona's first school offering the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.) degree. Groundbreaking for the Midwestern University College of Veterinary Medicine in planned for early 2013.
Plans call for Arizona's largest medical school to invest over $100 million toward the construction of the new college, including a 76,000-square-foot academic building, a 50,000-square-foot large animal teaching facility, and a 100,000-square-foot small animal clinical building. The College will welcome its inaugural class of 100 students beginning in the Fall of 2014. The school will help meet the rural and metropolitan demand for qualified large- and small-animal vets.
"In our continuing mission to meet the healthcare needs of the community, we are proud to approach groundbreaking on this facility," said Midwestern University President & CEO Dr. Kathleen Goeppinger. "The rural and agricultural areas of our state have shown a significant demand for more well-qualified veterinarians and our school is poised to help meet that demand."
Nationwide, statistics show one veterinarian per 3,500 animals. In Arizona, however, this ratio drops to one veterinarian per 4,100 animals. This shortage is especially critical in the large ranching and farming regions of the state. In three counties (Greenlee, La Paz, and Yuma), no veterinarians are currently in practice.
Midwestern University has received encouragement for this endeavor from many constituents throughout the state of Arizona. House Speaker Andrew Tobin said, "I applaud the leadership of Midwestern University for identifying and responding to Arizona's critical shortage of veterinarians. The investment they have made in this new facility will yield long-lasting economic benefits and job growth that will be vital to our state's recovering economy."
The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges projects a shortage of 15,000 veterinarians over the next 20 years. The Government Accounting Office confirms that the veterinary workforce is not large enough to guarantee a safe food supply while adequately addressing zoonotic disease. The Midwestern University College of Veterinary Medicine will focus on recruiting throughout the state and region, with particular emphasis on students from rural communities who can best meet these areas of critical shortages. The University has received approval from the Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education for licensure to grant the D.V.M. degree.
"Midwestern University is making a $100 million dollar investment in its Glendale Campus for the College of Veterinary Medicine. This investment will further enhance one of the West Valley's greatest educational assets and provide another professional career opportunity for Arizona students," commented Michelle Rider, President & CEO of WESTMARC.
Veterinary care is critical to maintaining the integrity of the food chain, and therefore has a significant impact on human health. Likewise, quality veterinary medicine helps to reduce the impact of zoonotic diseases on both people and animals. Companion animals are integral to human well-being and have a positive psychological and therapeutic impact on many populations, including the elderly and autistic children.