Veterinary Summit at LMU Tackled Challenges of Training Veterinarians for Rural Practice

Rural Veterinary Education Summit

Lincoln Memorial University-College of Veterinary Medicine (LMU-CVM) hosted its inaugural Rural Veterinary Education Summit November 13-14, 2019 on the LMU main campus in Harrogate, Tennessee. Hosted by LMU-CVM and the Center for Animal and Human Health in Appalachia (CAHA), the conference brought together 40 leaders of universities, veterinary schools, industry and rural veterinary practice to begin the discussion and tackle the challenges of training veterinarians for practice in rural, underserved areas.


“This conference gave us a greater understanding of the scope and scale of the national veterinary shortage and provided a framework for competency-based teaching metrics,” said Patterson. “From this conference, a collaborative working group was developed that will contribute to the development of educational tools and resources to support the needs of rural veterinarians.”


The conference was was supported by the Higher Education Challenge (HEC) Grants Program through the USDA and National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The goal of the conference was to establish best practices, skills, and techniques crucial to the long-term success and prosperity of rural veterinarians and determine how to best incorporate this material into modern veterinary college curriculums. Participants engaged in conversations and breakout groups dedicated to the topics of what the challenges are, how schools are currently tackling the problems, and next steps for shaping the future of education and recruitment of rural veterinarians.


“Veterinarians provide our communities with key contributions to improve human and animal health, public safety, animal welfare, disease surveillance and economic development, however, the shortage of veterinarians, especially in rural areas, is real.” said Dr. Gil Patterson, program manager for CAHA and principal researcher and assistant professor of veterinary medicine at LMU-CVM. “By sharing our ideas, perspectives and recommendations on this crucial issue, we hope to ensure the contributions of veterinarians in rural communities for generations to come.”


Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) is a values-based learning community dedicated to providing educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies. The LMU-College of Veterinary Medicine is located on LMU’s main campus in Harrogate, Tennessee, with additional academic facilities in nearby Lee County, Virginia. LMU-CVM is an integral part of the University’s medical programs and provides real-world, community-based education in a collaborative learning environment. For more information about LMU-CVM, call 1.800.325.0900, ext. 7150 or visit us online at

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