The American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Veterinary Medical Foundation have awarded $500,000 in veterinary school loan repayments as part of the Food Animal Veterinarian Recruitment and Retention Pilot Program.
The program, first announced earlier in the year, was designed to provide financial incentives in the form of current student loan debt grants for veterinarians who commit to four years of employment in food animal veterinary medicine.
Five recipients recently each received $100,000, spread over four years of service in areas of need. They are: Dr. Shaw Perrin (Ohio State University) practicing in Goshen, Ind.; Dr. Austin Ayars (Ohio State University) practicing in Phoenix; Dr. Conrad Spangler (University of Minnesota) practicing in Dalhaert, Texas; Dr. Kay Russo (Cornell University) practicing in Stephenville, Texas; and Dr. Scott Morey (Kansas State University) practicing in Concordia, Kan.
“We received well over 100 applications from interested veterinarians, who underscore the need for this program,” said Michael Cathey, head of the AVMF. “It was encouraging to see so many veterinarians interested in food animal medicine, but more has to be done. Many of our applicants told us they were forced to turn down job offers in rural areas because of their student debt. “We were able to make a small but significant impact on the food animal veterinarian shortage because of the pilot program funders. The need for this program is clear, and we need for more organizations and individuals to join us in this important effort.”
The average debt for new graduates from veterinary school was more than $130,000 this year, according to Dr. Larry Kornegay, president of the AVMA.
The pilot program is sponsored by Boehringer-Ingelheim Vetmedica, Elanco Animal Health, Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health, Pfizer Animal Health and Philbro Animal Health.
An expansion of the pilot program is expected to launch in 2011.