The Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech has signed a memorandum of agreement with the American University of Antigua (AUA) that will allow qualified students from the Antiguan university to transfer to the veterinary college for their last two years of study and clinical rotations.

The agreement coincides with the announcement of the formation of the new School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences on AUA’s University Park campus on the Island of Antigua, West Indies, which will begin accepting students in January 2010.

The university, which was founded in 2004, has already established medical and nursing programs.

“In five short years, AUA has proven its ability to educate both medical doctors and nurses qualified to join American medical colleges. Its desire to expand into preparing future veterinarians for their clinical phase at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine creates another avenue for us to graduate a larger number of students and we welcome it,” said Dr. Gerhardt G. Schurig, dean of the veterinary college.

The new agreement will also help in addressing a growing national shortage of veterinarians.

“There are only 28 accredited veterinary colleges in the United States. We decided to establish the AUA School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences after talking with Virginia Tech,” said Neal Simon, president and co-founder of the Antiguan university, during a press briefing in New York City. “By teaming with Virginia Tech, one of the best veterinary colleges in the country, AUA has established a new model for earning a degree in veterinary medicine.”

In the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, the curriculum is generally comprised of two phases. The first involves lectures and laboratory work during which students study the foundation of science and veterinary medicine through focus on such subjects as anatomy, pathology, and microbiology. The phase is usually the first three years (or six semesters) of the four-year curriculum.

The second phase is a 12-month clinical phase. During this time, and under the supervision of faculty members and other licensed veterinarians, students participate in hands-on experience both in the college’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital and through externships at other locations throughout Virginia and Maryland.

Five students from the Antiguan university will complete their first two years of education in Antigua and will then be given the opportunity to transfer into the veterinary college at Virginia Tech for the fourth semester of the preclinical phase of their training, pending the successful completion of the required National Board of Medical Examiners Qualifying Examination.

Once the students successfully complete their clinical rotations, they will be awarded a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the college.

“This partnership is a good opportunity for us since it has the potential to increase our class diversity and reduce overall tuition increases for our students,” said Schurig. “We are confident the students will come to us well prepared for the next phase of their education and we look forward to welcoming our first transfer students.”

The first class of transfer students is expected in 2012.

The Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine is a two-state, three-campus professional school operated by the land-grant universities of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg and the University of Maryland at College Park. Its flagship facilities, based at Virginia Tech, include the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, which treats more than 40,000 animals annually. Other campuses include the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center in Leesburg, Va., and the Avrum Gudelsky Veterinary Center at College Park, home of the college’s Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine. The college annually enrolls approximately 500 Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and graduate students, is a leading biomedical and clinical research center, and provides professional continuing education services for veterinarians practicing throughout the two states. Virginia Tech, the most comprehensive university in Virginia, is dedicated to quality, innovation, and results to the commonwealth, the nation, and the world.

The American University of Antigua offers medical and nursing programs designed to make sure students meet the requirements of medical and nursing licensure in the United States and achieve passing scores on the U.S. Medical Licensing Examinations. A group of renowned American physicians and medical education professionals chartered the university to address the shortage of healthcare professionals faced by the United States. Learn more about the AUA School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences online.


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