The American Veterinary Medical Association announced July 14 that it is in the preliminary stages of designing a study of workforce availability and needs across the veterinary profession.
Anecdotal information received by the association and its leadership reveal conflicting perceptions on whether or not certain disciplines within the profession are experiencing shortages or excesses. A formal, in-depth study of both supply and demand would provide hard data to support future decisions in areas such as education, economic viability and workforce sustainability.
For example, while some reports and task forces have concluded that there are not enough food supply veterinarians, especially in rural areas, the American Association of Bovine Practitioners recently issued a report suggesting that there is not a shortage of rural food-supply veterinarians but there are underserved areas.
"Statistical study results will help us make the best decisions to address the challenges we face as a profession. It's important to have solid evidence to back up the decisions we make, particularly in these tough economic times," AVMA president Dr. Larry Kornegay said. "We need factual information to make fact-based decisions."
The AVMA executive board will be discussing the breadth, importance and urgency of economic issues during a special session to be held Aug. 21-23. The board will be presented with options for the study at that time.
AVMA is holding its annual convention in St. Louis, Mo., this week.