WEST LAFAYETTE - The Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine is using a more than $3 million grant to establish an academy designed to address a national shortage of veterinarians in rural areas. Vet Up! The National Health Careers Opportunity Program Academy for Veterinary Medicine will also focus on food animal practice and a lack of underrepresented people entering the veterinary profession.

The Health Resources and Services Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, awarded the $3.18 million grant to the Purdue College of Veterinary Medicine. The college was the only one of its kind to receive funding.

"It is very exciting for our college to be selected for this major federally funded initiative that seeks to address an issue we have been working on for several years within our college and the veterinary profession," said Willie Reed, dean of the Purdue College of Veterinary Medicine. "We believe we are a natural choice to help achieve the objective of increasing the number of underrepresented individuals in veterinary medicine while also addressing the serious shortage of veterinarians in public health and rural/food animal practice."

Purdue says Vet Up! will consist of three programs with a competitive selection process for admissions:

  • Vet Up! Champions: A yearlong program to prepare high school students, working adults, and undergraduate students to attain their next level of education on the path toward a veterinary medical degree.
  • Vet Up! College: A summer immersion program to prepare undergraduate students to competitively apply to a veterinary medical degree (DVM) program.
  • Vet Up! DVM: Supports Purdue veterinary medical students throughout their professional degree program and prepares them for careers in veterinary shortage areas.

The university says the academy will leverage the college's history of diversity programming and partnerships with high schools, historically black colleges and universities, and state entities to design curricula students.