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J Vet Med Educ. 2009 Spring;36(1):76-82. doi: 10.3138/jvme.36.1.76.

Factors that attract veterinarians to or discourage them from research careers: a program director's perspective.

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  • 1Universit of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary, Philadelphia, PA19104, USA.


There is a nationwide shortage of veterinarian-scientists in the United States. Barriers to recruiting veterinary students into research careers need to be identified, and mechanisms devised to reduce these barriers. Barriers to attracting veterinary students into research careers include ignorance of available research careers and of the training opportunities. Once admitted, students in research training programs often feel isolated, fitting into neither the veterinary environment nor the research environment. To address the above issues, it is necessary to advertise and educate the public about opportunities for veterinarian-scientists. Schools need to develop high-quality training programs that are well structured but retain appropriate flexibility. Sufficient resources are needed to operate these programs so that students do not graduate with significant debt. A community of veterinarian-scientists needs to be developed so that students do not feel isolated but, rather, are part of a large community of like-minded individuals. Because of the complexities of programs that train veterinarian-scientists, it is necessary to provide extensive advising and for faculty to develop a proactive, servant-leadership attitude. Finally, students must be made aware of career options after graduation.

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