Funded Foreign Veterinarians

A Matching Program to Facilitate Funded Foreign Veterinarians Applying for North American Pathology Training 

GL Cockerell
Director, ACVP/STP Coalition for Veterinary Pathology Fellows
February 2012

Background

North American (United States and Canada) veterinary pathology training institutions frequently receive applications from veterinarians (as defined by the AVMA) trained in foreign countries, many with funds provided by institutions, organizations, governmental agencies or other sources from their home country.  These students are interested in obtaining training with the express intent of returning to their home country for employment as veterinary pathologists and to support existing or emerging markets.  Currently, such students must independently apply to individual training institutions and may not be fully aware of all of the institutions that offer the type of training in which they are interested.

Objective and Rationale

The objective of this program is to establish a unified system for foreign-trained veterinarians who have their own funding to efficiently apply for post-DVM pathology training positions at North American institutions.  This program does not guarantee that foreign students will be accepted into a North American training institution, but rather simply makes it easier for such students to be considered by training institutions and for those institutions to have broad, competitive access to these talented students.  Sponsors will benefit from this program by having a system to uniformly notify training institutions when foreign-funded trainees are available and, following receipt of applications from interested institutions, by receiving a peer-reviewed report recommending host institutions that should provide the most suitable training environment.  In addition because the program will be administered by the ACVP/STP Coalition, sponsors will receive increased recognition for their investment in training, and assistance in global expansion and emerging markets.  Similarly, foreign-funded trainees will benefit from interaction with other Coalition Fellows and participation in a range of Coalition activities which will improve their probability of success in becoming board-certified veterinary pathologists.  Overall, this proposal is in keeping with the Coalition's goal of increasing training opportunities in veterinary pathology.

How the Program Works 

1. The Director will notify potential sponsors (contacts in foreign governments, private companies and foreign veterinary schools) that the Coalition has established a system to assist foreign-trained veterinarians to access North American pathology training institutions.  Training opportunities include 3 years of residency in veterinary anatomic or clinical pathology, with or without up to an additional 3 years post-residency graduate research training.  The latter may include training towards a MS or PhD degree.  The inclusion of post-residency graduate research training is desirable and is likely to obviate potential VISA problems sometimes associated with residency-only positions.  The responsibility to secure the correct VISA will remain with the funding sponsor and the foreign student.

2. The Director will provide sponsors with estimated costs to fund the trainee.  These estimates will be the same as for other Coalition positions and will include stipend (per NIH National Research Service Award stipends, revised periodically), tuition/benefits, educational travel/supplies and Coalition administrative fees.  Sponsors will be responsible for all costs regardless of the number of years of the trainee's relevant experience.  As usual, final costs cannot be known until the host training institution is selected because costs for tuition/benefits vary between institutions. 

3. Funding sponsors will inform the Director when monies for training are available and will provide the proposed trainee's credentials including university transcripts, at least three letters of recommendation, TOEFL scores and a statement of the candidate's career objectives.

4. The Coalition will announce availability of funded foreign students to North American training institutions through the established Request for Applications (RFA) process and according to the same schedule for other newly funded positions:

  • Early June, newly funded positions are announced and a RFA is issued;
  • Mid-July, applications from training institutions are due;
  • Mid-September, award decisions are announced;
  • No later than the following summer, new trainees begin their training. 

 5. The RFA will require applicant training institutions to describe procedures to mentor, evaluate and ensure success of foreign students, including initial assessment of the adequacy of the candidate's training in veterinary medicine and/or pathology, and English language skills.  Applicant training institutions will also be required to describe if a probationary period for evaluation of the candidate's performance is planned and exit strategies that can be used if necessary.

 6.  The Coalition Board of Governors will evaluate all applications submitted by training institutions interested in hosting the foreign student.  The Board will make recommendations  for competitive award of positions based on a process similar to that which is used for other funded positions, including the institution's training record, faculty, diagnostic case load, research funding, publication record and procedures to mentor foreign students.  The Board may choose to appoint ad hoc reviewer(s) with experience in the country of origin of the foreign-trained veterinarian. 

 7. The Director will forward the Board's award recommendation to the funding sponsor and foreign student for their review and approval.  The awarded training institution will retain the right to interview the candidate (in person, Skype or similar videoconference) before final agreement to accept the candidate.

8. Once awarded, the Coalition will execute a written agreement, including specification of all costs, with the selected host training institution.  Sponsors will remit annual payments ($US adjusted for fluctuations in exchange rates) to the Coalition and the Coalition will forward annual payments to the training institution per normal procedures.  Foreign-funded Fellows will submit annual progress reports for evaluation by the Board of Governors, including a recommendation to the sponsor for continued funding as per existing procedures.

9. Whenever possible, funding sponsors will be encouraged to provide an industrial pathology mentor and annual externships typical of other Coalition positions.  This is particularly appropriate in cases where funding is provided by a foreign company with a North American site(s).

10.  Foreign-funded Fellows will participate in Coalition activities similar to other funded positions.  They will be encouraged to attend ACVP and/or STP annual meetings, and will be expected to present results of their training at Coalition Scientific Conferences.  Foreign-funded positions, sponsors and Fellows will be listed on the Coalition web site similar to other positions.

11. Following completion of their training, foreign-funded Fellows will be expected to seek ACVP (or equivalent) certification and to become employed as veterinary pathologists.

Contacts For Additional Information

Dr. Gary Cockerell, Director
Tel: 269-720-7310
Email: gcockerell@vetpathcoalition.org or alliances@cockerell.org

Ms. Susan Rees, Coalition Administrative Office
Tel: 608-443-3645 ext 138
Email: info@vetpathcoalition.org

Coalition web site:  http://www.vetpathcoalition.org