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Pfizer Announces Winners of First Vet Student Award

by 5m Editor
8 October 2010, at 9:05a.m.

US - Pfizer Animal Health has announced the first recipients of its Student Loan Debt Forgiveness pilot programme for students of food animal veterinary medicine.

Pfizer Animal Health has announced the first recipients of the Food Animal Veterinarian Recruitment and Retention Pilot Program. Administered in partnership with the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF), the programme is designed to combat an ongoing shortage of food-animal veterinarians in the United States by encouraging more students to pursue a food-animal career, particularly in rural areas.

The programme will provide financial incentives for veterinarians who commit to four years of employment in food-animal practice, and is part of the Pfizer Animal Health Commitment to Veterinarians – supporting veterinarians through training and education, research and development, and investing in the future of the veterinary profession.

"As a market leader, we have a responsibility and an obligation to help sustain food-animal veterinarians in the United States," said said J. Michael McFarland, DVM, Diplomate ABVP and Group Director of Veterinary Medical Services & Corporate Citizenship for Pfizer Animal Health. "The future of veterinarians in the food-animal practice is especially important because they are the front-line for the ongoing safety of the food supply across the nation."

Five veterinarians will receive up to $100,000 each in the form of student loan debt forgiveness grants.

Pfizer Animal Health and the AVMF congratulate the 2010 Food Animal Veterinarian Recruitment and Retention Pilot Program recipients:

  • Dr Shaw Perrin, The Ohio State University, practicing in Goshen, Indiana
  • Dr Austin Ayars, The Ohio State University, practicing in Phoenix, Arizona
  • Dr Conrad Spangler, University of Minnesota, practicing in Dalhart, Texas
  • Dr Kay Russo, Cornell University, practicing in Stephenville, Texas
  • Dr Scott Morey, Kansas State University, practicing in Concordia, Kansas

The Food Animal Veterinarian Recruitment and Retention Pilot Program recipients were selected based on several criteria, including academic excellence, leadership, diversity and potential for contributing to food-animal veterinary medicine.

"The high cost of professional training is one of the main causes for the shortage of practicing or skilled food-animal veterinarians," says AVMF Executive Director Michael Cathey. "Pfizer has recognized the burden student debt can cause and has made the commitment to proactively and generously help recently graduated veterinarians."

More veterinarians than ever before are facing debt loads that may stay with them for a lifetime. The American Veterinary Medical Association recently estimated that the average veterinary student debt upon graduation totals $130,000.

The debt forgiveness programme complements other Pfizer Animal Health Commitment to Veterinarian programmes, including more than $15 million invested last year in universities, industry education and training, scholarships and allied organizations.

For more information on the scholarship programme, click here.