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A New and Improved Practice Experience Pathway

Ft. Collins, Colorado, November 23, 2015 — As many of our members are already aware, the Board of Directors has suspended any further applications in the Practice Experience pathway until July 2016 in an effort to re-evaluate the program and improve the guidelines that are imperative to the success and long standing commitment that the college has to continuing this pathway towards diplomate status. In both the canine and equine programs we currently have 14 candidates enrolled in this pathway and these candidates will continue in this pathway as written according to the guidelines that are posted on the website. These programs will not change and will have the ability to comply by the old or the new guidelines depending on the mentor/mentee relationship and decisions surrounding their particular program.

New programmatic changes will likely revolve around paperwork for applications as well as mentor/mentee relationships. The credentialing committees in both canine and equine have found it difficult to navigate through the original application and letter from referees, including mentor letters, regarding the applicant's experience. It is currently being proposed that all letters of support from outside veterinarians become more detailed answering questions in a specific format or other documents that could be utilized to help the committee recognize the applicant's prior experience. These are needed details to the current application process that will ensure that the applicants have the full 5 years of rehabilitation and sports medicine practice expected to be eligible for enrollment into this particular pathway.

In line with this there have been some instances of long distance mentor/mentee relationships or inadequately developed mentorship plans.  It has become evident that this is a relationship that requires serious thought and a well laid out plan. To better facilitate mentors feeling comfortable and having adequate time with the mentee this area of the pathway will be enhanced with more mentor/mentee interactions. It is expected that there will be direct mentor/mentee interactions through clinical weeks that the mentee will be expected to spend with their mentors. This is an area that the curriculum committee needs input from the membership as to what is feasible. Any commentary can be sent to Dr. Rob Gillette (Canine Chair) or Dr. Elizabeth Davidson (Equine Chair). 

Lastly, since the inception of the PE pathway and the initial applicant pathway (recently discontinued) there has been some inadequate quality in publications when examining some that have been submitted for credentialing. Part of the problem that is encountered is poor writing and editing on behalf of the journal, which may be due to the lack of peer review in some instances, and low quality of journals being submitted to in some cases, most of which are online journals. The committee is hoping to supply a list of acceptable journals next summer, and if this list cannot be adhered to then the committee will review the quality of publication for credentialing.

We thank all of the membership, particularly prospective mentors and mentees that are looking to initiate programs for their patience. These changes are necessary to ensure the quality of the programs and experiences that will fulfill criteria needed to assure that this program will be an alternative for candidates for years to come.


Joseph J. Wakshlag
ACVSMR Secretary/Treasurer




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The American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation is an AVMA recognized specialty organization.