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Rural veterinary crisis central to new DVM program

Samantha Ashenhurst is a writer, editor, and dog-enthusiast based in Canada. She has written for various veterinary and lifestyle publications in the Greater Toronto Area, including Veterinary Practice News and Veterinary Practice News Canada. Samantha has attended Toronto Westie Walk in support of Westies in Need Dog Rescue Canada for the past 10 years.

The shortage of rural veterinarians across the U.S. continues to be a growing concern, and a new collaboration between two Midwestern universities aims to tackle this challenge.

South Dakota State University (SDSU) and the University of Minnesota (U of M) have formed a joint professional program in veterinary medicine with a focus on rural practices. Set to launch in August 2021, the collaboration also aims to support the region’s agricultural industry.

The program, which is open to any student who has finished their pre-veterinary requirements, will have registrants complete the first two years of their DVM degree at SDSU, then finish with two years of study at U of M.

“This professional degree addresses the need for more veterinarians in South Dakota and adjoining states, particularly those who work with food animals,” says John Killefer, dean of the SDSU College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences. “I look forward to working with faculty at both universities to implement a veterinary medicine curriculum that will complement several existing academic programs and a robust research enterprise that already exist within the SDSU College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences.”

“The new program is approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Council on Education, which will monitor our progress,” adds U of M College of Veterinary Medicine interim dean, Laura Molgaard. “This permission to proceed is a testament to the outstanding work of faculty and staff on both campuses plus the investments both states are making.”

Additionally, the AVMA council approved an expansion of the graduating class from 105 to 125 students, U of M says.

For more information contact Gary Gackstetter, the program’s director, at



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