CDC creates residency program for veterinarians

Effort addresses 'national shortage' of DVMs working in biomedical research

September 3, 2008 (published)

Atlanta — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created a residency program to train veterinarians in laboratory animal medicine.

The two-year program, which is a partnership between CDC and Emory University's Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center, is designed to address a shortage of veterinarians working in biomedical research. It combines 200 hours of academic coursework at Emory University with 2,000 hours of hands-on experience in CDC's high-containment laboratory facilities as well as infectious-disease research with a CDC mentor. Graduates of the program will be proficient in the daily treatment of laboratory animals, working in high-containment laboratories, designing scientific experiences and the use of animal models and administration of lab-animal medicine programs.

"For many years, it's been a struggle to find experienced veterinarians who are qualified and interested in laboratory animal medicine. With more high-containment labs being constructed across the country, the problem is only getting worse," says Dr. Carolyn Black, director of CDC's Division of Scientific Resources, which designed and operates the program. "We hope this will be a step in the right direction to filling the need for well-trained veterinarians who can perform vital research to help protect the public's health."

What sets this program apart from roughly 40 others like it in the United States is that if offers residents the opportunity to work closely with CDC scientists, says Dr. Nathaniel Powell, chief of CDC's Animal Resources Branch.

Trainees must have a DVM degree or equivalent qualifications from an American Veterinary Medical Association-accredited veterinary medical program, U.S. citizenship and hold permanent residency status. Candidates also must agree to work CDC for at least two years following the program's completion. Applications for the 2009 class will be accepted in November. 

The American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (ACLAM) accredited the program in June. Those who successfully complete the work are eligible to take ACLAM's certifying examination.



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