Tuskegee University’s School of Veterinary Medicine
Historically and present day, the Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine has provided African American individuals the opportunity to pursue a career in veterinary medicine.
A flagship educational program, according to the college’s website, the Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine was established in 1945 to give African Americans a chance to learn veterinary sciences. Throughout the university’s tenure, it has welcomed students of all backgrounds, though it is still proud that 70 percent of all African American veterinarians have chosen Tuskegee’s School of Veterinary Medicine.
“The third President of Tuskegee University, Dr. Fredrick Patterson, is noted as one who made substantial contributions to the American veterinary profession,"said Ruby L. Perry, DVM, MS, DACVR, interim dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health. "[He] was instrumental in helping veterinary medicine overall be more accessible for underrepresented students. Dr. Patterson served as President of Tuskegee University, from 1935 to 1953."
As President and a veterinarian, Patterson lobbied successfully for a formal program in veterinary medicine at Tuskegee, according to Perry. "Although the School was established in 1945, his far reaching initiative began in 1944," she said.
Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine is always striving to keep improving its veterinary facilities for present and future students. Its continued facility improvement ensures accreditation is one of many benefits for students. Receiving approval from the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), according to its website, Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine is part of the 15 percent of all U. S. veterinary facilities with this certification. Along with this accreditation, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has accredited Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine.
“Looking to the future when construction of a modern veterinary medical facility is completed, TUSVM will have a teaching hospital that meets the needs of veterinary medical education in the 21st century,” Perry detailed. “The goal is to establish a preeminent place of interdisciplinary teaching/learning as well as high level clinical services with a focus on translational research and discovery attuned to exploit the latest in molecular biology, computational modeling, food safety, zoonoses and public health.”
One program that helps the local community, while also training the next generation of veterinarians, is The West Alabama Herd Health Project.
Providing “herd health maintenance” according to the college’s website, “the clinical services provided by the School of Veterinary Medicine extend to major portions of the Black Belt Counties of Alabama where disadvantaged and underserved farmers reside,” Perry said. “For example, in West Alabama, the clinical services provided by Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine is the only source of health care services which otherwise is unavailable.”
Serving Sumter, Choctaw, Greene and Marengo counties, primarily, Hale and Perry counties receive service, as well. Examples of animal services provided to these farmers, through supervised veterinary students include prophylactic vaccines, birthing and pregnancy help, determining animal age and more.
Perry sums up the last six decades: “Tuskegee University is a place of opportunity for many including individuals from the global community. Over a period of over 60 years since its inception, the TUSVM continues to serve a vital role in expanding diversity of the veterinary profession in the USA.”
At a Glance
Location: Tuskegee, Ala.
Programs: DVM; DVM/MS; MS in (veterinary science or tropical animal health); Ph.D. in integrative biosciences
First Class: 1949
Graduates: More than 2,000 since 1945
Fact: Seven in 10 of all U. S. African American have graduated from the Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine (TUSVM)