This University Is Set To Become Just The Second HBCU In The Country To Train Veterinarians

University of Maryland Eastern Shore

The University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) is set to become the second HBCU in the country to have a veterinarian school.

The state of Maryland approved the UMES program for veterinary medicine in January, and the school will join Tuskegee University as the only other HBCU that offers such a program in the country. UMES will also be one of only about three dozen schools that grant this degree, providing aspiring Black veterinarians with more opportunities, USA Today reports.

“We are hoping that our new school will open the door and create plenty of opportunities in an underserved field,” said Moses Kairo, the dean of agricultural and natural sciences at the university. “There are very few vet schools being established, so there’s room for growth. We feel our timing is just right.”

Black veterinarians only make up 1.2% of all professionals in the United States, according to a 2021 Bureau of Labor Statistics report.

There will be a need for about 55,000 more veterinarians by 2030 to meet pet healthcare needs in the U.S., according to a study conducted by Mars Veterinary Health in August 2023.

“The bottom line is we need more veterinarians of all races, from all backgrounds,” said Stacy Pursell, CEO of the VET Recruiter. “It’s a much bigger picture than just race. There are very limited spots at veterinary schools, and they turn away more students than they can accept.”

University officials plan to raise $60 million through a fundraising campaign to establish the school and its designated building. The grand scale project is also the school’s largest financial plan to date. A portion of the funds raised are expected to go toward the construction of the veterinarian studies building as well as updates to the farm so that students can have access to hands-on practice.

Upon opening, the school will offer a three-year accelerated program with a curriculum comparable to the rigorous standards of other prestigious veterinary schools. Deputy Dean Kimberly Braxton, UMES’ interim dean, says UMES is taking steps to prepare future generations of Black veterinarians for a crucial shortage.

“It’s a huge task,” said Braxton, “but a good task to have,” says Braxton.

According to Dean Kairo, the plan is for the UMES veterinary school to be accredited by 2025 and have as many as 100 graduate students taking classes in 2026.

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