New Jersey‘s first veterinary school offers hope for statewide staffing shortages
Rendering of what the completed Shreiber School of Veterinary Medicine will look like when it opens in 2025
On April 28, 2023, New Jersey’s first veterinary school broke ground in Glassboro, New Jersey, on the campus of Rowan University. The Shreiber School of Veterinary Medicine, named after founding donor Gerald B. Shreiber, is expected to welcome its inaugural class of students in the fall of 2025. Shreiber, a businessman and philanthropist, has bestowed a $30 million gift to the University in support of the veterinary school and student scholarships.
Shreiber’s gift reflects his love of animals, his respect for the human-animal bond, and his commitment to increasing access to veterinary care in New Jersey.
“Animals are my passion,” he said, “so I couldn’t think of a better way to give something back to make a positive impact on their lives.”
In 2019, he pledged $3 million to establish the Shreiber Family Pet Therapy Program at the university, which currently provides therapy dog handlers and therapy dogs to interact with students and employees on campus and which has served as a model for similar programs nationwide. When Shreiber heard about the plans for a veterinary school, he was happy to be a part of it.
Keeping New Jerseyans at home
By giving New Jersey students an in-state option, he hopes more of them stay in the state after graduation. “We want them to stay here to build their practices, treat our animals, and contribute to our state in meaningful ways.”
Among the new veterinary school’s offerings are a hybrid clinical training model, an accelerated DVM/MBA program, MS and PhD programs, and an accelerated BS/DVM pathway program. Other undergraduate programs will include BS degrees in veterinary practice management and veterinary technology.
Collaborations with other institutions will allow for training and certification of veterinary assistants and technicians, an associate’s degree in veterinary technology, and various internship and residency programs for graduate veterinarians. Rowan University already offers both MD, DO, and nursing training programs.
The New Jersey veterinary community response
New Jersey veterinarians have weighed in on the potential effects of a new veterinary school in their state.
Amanda Modes, DVM, a behavior resident with ER and relief experience, has seen the effects of a shortage of veterinarians in the area firsthand. She hopes that having another veterinary school option will help to mitigate this shortage.
“The technician shortage is already severe in New Jersey, especially for highly trained/skilled CVTs and assistants,” she said, stressing that there is some concern that a university teaching hospital position might lure away some current support staff.
Modes hopes, however, that access to training and continuing education for support staff will increase the number of well-trained support professionals in the area.
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA, a practicing veterinarian and New Jersey VMA board member, also expects this new veterinary school to relieve some of the shortage of veterinarians in the state. New Jersey students may benefit from lower in-state tuition rates when compared to their current out-of-state options, he said.
He is also very supportive of the DVM/MBA option. “Having the business skillset early on in a veterinary career will provide the necessary tools to practice smart veterinary medicine,” he said.
With an eye toward limiting veterinary student debt and increasing the educational opportunities available for veterinary support staff, the Shreiber School of Veterinary Medicine stands to benefit future veterinary professionals and the animals they care for.
“I’m fortunate to be in a position where I can help a broader group of talented people pursue their passion to treat and serve animals,” Shreiber said. And, hopefully, provide some relief to those who are already out in the trenches.
Shreiber School of Veterinary Medicine:
The new Shreiber School of Veterinary Medicine breaks ground:
Emily Singler, VMD, is a 2001 graduate of Penn State University and a 2005 graduate of University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. She has worked in shelter medicine, private practice, and as a relief veterinarian. She currently works as a veterinary writer and consultant and has her own blog, www.vetmedbaby.com.
Building rendering courtesy of Shreiber School of Veterinary Medicine
Disclaimer: The views expressed, and topics discussed, in any NEWStat column or article are intended to inform, educate, or entertain, and do not represent an official position by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) or its Board of Directors.