By STEVEN NALLEY
The leader of the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine will also lead a total of 65 veterinary education organizations beginning this summer.
The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges has selected MSU CVM Dean Kent Hoblet as its president-elect, and he hopes to popularize the veterinary profession and increase its diversity when he becomes president in July.
Once he becomes AAVMC president, Hoblet said he plans to continue AAVMC’s advocacy for public health issues and increase veterinary student recruitment. He also wants to guide more minority students toward the veterinary profession, he said, and he hopes to reduce the debt burden for veterinary students.
“We don’t want to see students not be able to become veterinarians because the debt burden is too great. Also, (for) those students who have debt, (we want to) try to help them figure out how to manage debt so it doesn’t interfere with what they do as a career,” Hoblet said. “Veterinary professions have historically not been very diverse. It’s been a goal of the association, just like it is with our college, to increase the number of people that consider veterinary medicine ... to increase awareness of how good a career it is and make the student body more diverse.”
Hoblet said American organizations the AAVMC coordinates include nine departments of veterinary science, eight departments of comparative medicine and all 28 veterinary medical colleges in the U.S. He said it also includes organizations in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.
“I’ve been chair of various committees (in AAVMC), but I’ve never been an officer before,” Hoblet said. “It’s a big task. You’re in a position where you’re involved in a number of national issues ... that affect academic veterinary medicine. I (also) think it’s recognition for the (MSU) veterinary school.”
MSU has maintained heavy involvement in AAVMC, Hoblet said; for instance, Margaret Kern, the CVM’s associate dean for academic affairs, was one of the guest speakers at the AAVMC 2012 Annual Conference. Greg Bohach, MSU Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine vice president, said in a press release that Hoblet’s newfound international leadership complements MSU’s international strategy.
“Having Dr. Hoblet in this role represents a significant commitment on his part to growing opportunities for veterinary students here and around the country,” Bohach said in the release. “This is another example of how the college and division are working within and beyond our region to focus on issues facing our students now and as they enter their careers.”
Hoblet said he is one of several CVM faculty and staff selected for various national roles and awards. For instance, he said, CVM professor Phil Bushby received the American Veterinary Medical Association’s 2012 Animal Welfare Award, and Ron McLaughlin, head of the CVM Department of Clinical Sciences, is president of the American Association of Veterinary Clinicians.
“Jim Britt, one of our faculty members, is on the board of directors for the American Association of Bovine Practitioners,” Hoblet said. “He represents probably four or five of the Southeastern states on that board, so he’s got a national role there.”