Midwestern University President & CEO Kathleen H. Goeppinger, Ph.D., is pleased to announce the establishment of a College of Veterinary Medicine on its Glendale Campus. The new program plans to welcome its inaugural class of 100 students in the Fall of 2014. The Midwestern University College of Veterinary Medicine will be the first and only school offering the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.) in the state of Arizona.
"In our continuing mission to meet the healthcare needs of the community, we are proud to bring this new professional degree program to Arizona," stated Dr. Goeppinger. "The rural and agricultural areas of our state have shown a significant demand for more well-qualified veterinarians and have voiced strong support for this new college."
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.
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.
"This is fantastic news for both Midwestern University and the State of Arizona," said Governor Janice K. Brewer. "Quality veterinary care is an absolute necessity in our State-particularly in our farming and agricultural communities where demand is the highest and shortage of care is the most critical. The establishment of this College will produce good jobs and help ensure that Arizona develops home-grown veterinarians to meet our most pressing animal health care needs."
The American Association of 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 will be applying to the Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education for licensure to grant the D.V.M. degree.
Midwestern University has received encouragement for this endeavor from many constituents throughout the state of Arizona, including letters of support from Arizona Senate President Steve Pierce and House Speaker Andrew Tobin.