Pfizer Animal Health has launched an initiative reaffirming its support for the veterinary profession. Under the banner ‘Commitment to Veterinarians’, Pfizer pledges to comprehensively address the significant short- and long-term unmet needs facing practicing veterinarians and students in the United States.

‘Commitment to Veterinarians’ focuses on training and continuing education, research and development, and investing in the future of the profession.

As part of a three-year, $3 million scholarship program with the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, Pfizer recently announced the 2011 call for scholarship applications1 from students at U.S. colleges of veterinary medicine. The scholarships will focus on meeting ongoing needs of the veterinary profession, including strengthening diversity and increasing the number of large animal veterinarians to serve in mixed or rural practices. To assist veterinary students, Pfizer also launched a new portal for students to apply for Pfizer scholarships and learn about other assistance programs.

"We see the critical importance of veterinarians in enhancing the health and wellness of companion animals and horses and in ensuring a safe, global food supply from beef, pork, poultry and fish," said Clint Lewis, president of U.S. operations for Pfizer Animal Health. "As a leader in animal health, we want to be very clear that we're standing side-by-side with veterinarians."

The current U.S. business model for veterinarians is rapidly changing. Few veterinary medicine students are willing to venture into rural practices, particularly in food-animal medicine. More veterinarians than ever before are facing debt loads that may stay with them for a lifetime. The American Veterinary Medical Association recently estimated that the average veterinary student debt upon graduation totals $120,000. There are dwindling dollars being allocated to important research programs that address animal disease, and there also is a growing lack of diversity in the profession that needs immediate attention.

At a time when the veterinary profession is facing these significant challenges, Pfizer Animal Health is increasing its investment in the veterinary profession, including:

• Contributing more than $15 million last year alone to universities and allied organizations toward scholarships and fellowship opportunities.

• Leading the industry in science-based training and continuing education, providing more than 1,700 hours a years in diverse CE opportunities that focus on disease-state information.

• Investing $300 million annually in research and development - more than any other animal health company - which have led to new therapies that address unmet medical needs.

"Now more than ever, veterinarians need our support to provide training and education, to invest in research and development and to help create the next generation of veterinarians," said J. Michael McFarland, DVM, group director for Pfizer Animal Health. "This is exactly why we are reaffirming our support for veterinarians now. Many of us at Pfizer are veterinarians, too. We get it, and we are here to help."
1. Apply for the Pfizer Animal Health Veterinary Student Scholarship Program from Oct. 1 to Nov. 15, 2010.

Source: Pfizer Animal Health