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Veterinary College gains reaccreditation
By Laura Whelan
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- At a time when animal health, safety and research are more crucial than ever to the welfare and security of the nation, Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine has once again received national accreditation from the American Veterinary Medical Association's Council on Education.
As one of only 27 accredited veterinary colleges in the country, MSU's veterinary college met or exceeded all requirements of the AVMA. The accreditation allows MSU to award the veterinary medicine degree to students and indicates the college is providing high quality education and medical treatment.
"Accreditation is something the college should expect, but it is also something to be proud of," said Dr. Phillip Nelson, associate dean and director of academic affairs at the college.
The AVMA evaluates each veterinary college on its compliance with essential standards in 11 areas, including organization, finances, curriculum and research programs. As a part of the accreditation evaluation, an assessment team visits the facility and meets with administrators, faculty, staff, students and regional veterinarians.
The accrediting body can re-evaluate a college in a shorter time period if the college demonstrates problems in some areas. Another evaluation of MSU's veterinary college will not be necessary until 2007.
"The fact that the accrediting body scheduled the next assessment in 2007 indicates that we are on track with their standards," Nelson said.
"Receiving accreditation demonstrates that this college reached or even surpassed
the standards in all the crucial areas," said Dr. John Thomson, dean of the college. "The re accreditation reflects the high caliber of the faculty, staff and students, and support from Mississippi leadership."
With increasing awareness of biomedical issues, re-emerging diseases and food safety problems, veterinary practitioners remain integral to the health profession's first line of defense against these threats.
"There is currently a greater demand for veterinary medicine than I have ever seen in my lifetime," Thomson said. "Veterinarians are becoming critical figures as they deal with subjects we hear about every night on the news, like SARS, bioterrorism, West Nile virus and foot-and-mouth disease. The College of Veterinary Medicine needs continued support to meet society's demand for veterinary services, and accreditation is the first step."
To further the goals of training, service and research, the veterinary college recently completed a $500,000 poultry research and diagnostic laboratory; broke ground for an $18 million veterinary research and diagnostic center near Jackson; received a $9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health for research in environmental health sciences; established the endowed Hugh G. Ward Chair in Small Animal Medicine; and constructed a new, endowed critical care unit that will uphold the college's reputation as the preferred referral center in the state and region.
"The entire veterinary college is thankful for the support of the university, legislators and professionals that allows us to educate students to meet the changing demands of the state and nation through veterinary service," Thomson said.
Contact: Dr. John Thomson, (662) 325-1131