BOZEMAN – The 11 students in Montana State University’s first class of the Washington, Idaho, Montana and Utah Regional Program in Veterinary Medicine received their white coats during a formal induction ceremony held Thursday at Washington State University in Pullman, Wash. The students will begin their first year of the regional program, dubbed WIMU, in Bozeman with the start of classes next week, before eventually finishing the final three years of their doctor of veterinary medicine degrees at WSU.
MSU’s participation in the program was approved by the Montana Legislature and Gov. Steve Bullock during the 2013 session to bolster the state’s veterinarian workforce, especially in the area of large-animal vets in under-served rural areas. The program will also provide affordable access to Montana students wishing to pursue veterinary medical education.
Glenn Duff, interim dean of MSU’s College of Agriculture and interim director of the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station, said the ceremony marks an important moment, both for the students and for MSU, which, as the state’s land-grant university, is charged with disseminating knowledge and technology for the direct practical benefit of citizens.
“We’re proud and excited to welcome these students into the inaugural class at our campus in Bozeman,” Duff said. “The WIMU program has developed into one of the highest-quality regional veterinary medicine programs in the country, and we’re pleased to be a part of that heritage as we produce veterinarians who are Montana natives.”
The new program will tie in with the pre-vet advising program that the MSU College of Agriculture already offers undergrads. The veterinary medicine students in the WIMU program will have opportunities to intern at Montana veterinary practices as they pursue their degrees, and any senior veterinary student from WSU will also have the opportunity to rotate through established practices across the state.
The program will also be supported by state-of-the-art animal facilities, including MSU’s Molecular Biosciences Building, the Johnson Family Livestock Facility, and laboratories that offer valuable training in biosafety related issues associated with infection in livestock, wildlife and other animals, including humans. WIMU is modeled after the highly successful WWAMI Medical Education Program, which has provided medical training for Montana students for more than 40 years. The WWAMI program enrolls students from Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho at the University of Washington Medical School, who then complete the program in their home state on the corresponding land-grant university campus.
Mark Quinn, interim director of WIMU at MSU, said the regional program provides not only a competitive veterinary education, but also involves a supportive network of practicing veterinarians.
“The program is unique in that it includes a surrounding network in a four-state region in terms of clinical study and internship opportunity for students,” Quinn said. “We’re certainly enthusiastic for Montana and MSU to be a part of this program and the benefits it can bring to Montana.”
For more information on the WIMU program, visit http://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/ProspectiveStudents/Brochures/Why-WIMU-Regional.pdf.
Contact: Jennifer Lavey, (406) 994-7866, firstname.lastname@example.org.