A severe workforce shortage in our state is restricting the delivery of veterinary medical services. Not enough veterinarians are being trained to care for either our farm or companion animals. Rural and urban parts of Washington alike are experiencing the shortage. This is a critical issue concerning the safety of our food supply and public health, and for families who cannot get timely care for their companion animals.
The WSVMA is asking the state Legislature to fund 20 additional veterinary students annually at WSU-CVM. The cost? $1.25 million per class, per year. Over four years, the cost would be approximately $5 million.
You can read more on the background below or download this Fact Sheet we’ve created regarding this issue.
What you can do: find your local lawmaker and help educate them, too, at Find Your District.
We encourage you to use the below letter (or one you’ve written yourself on the matter) to send to your representatives, encouraging their support.
Dear Senator or Representative:
Hello. I am a veterinarian based in [insert area] and I have lived and worked here for [insert number] years.
A severe veterinary shortage in our state is restricting the delivery of veterinary medical services. Not enough veterinarians are being trained to care for our companion and farm animals in both urban and rural areas.
This is a critical issue impacting the delivery of veterinary services in a timely manner to our companion animals who are part of our families, as well as, keeping our food supply safe.
Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine (WSU/CVM) is internationally recognized for its training of future Doctors of Veterinary Medicine (DVM’s). With funding from the Washington state Legislature, WSU/CVM will be able to add an additional 20 In-State students annually. The cost would be $1.25 million annually to educate the additional 20 In-State students. The DVM program is a 4-year program. It has been over 20 years since WSU/CVM has increased the number of Washington students, which currently stands at 55 students/yr. As Washington’s population has increase over the last 20 years, the number of In-State students has effectively decreased by 25 %. In-addition, Utah has withdrawn from the Washington, Idaho, Montana and Utah Regional Program in Veterinary Medicine to start their own program. This leaves a $3.5 million budget deficit and the loss of 30 students annually. This provides an opportunity to fill this with In-State students who are likely to return to practice in Washington state.
Please take the critical step and approve the funding to increase the In-State class size by 20 students annually at WSU/CVM. Have you tried to get an appointment with your veterinarian or go to an ER lately? The demand far surpasses the supply. Our pets, livestock, and families depend on this.
Thank you for your consideration and support for this budget Item.