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USDA Agency Initiates Program to Enhance Base of DVM-Ph.D.s

By David Elstein
September 8, 2003

WASHINGTON, Sept. 8--The Agricultural Research Service is launching a pilot program that will pay for tuition, books and laboratory fees of a selected veterinarian who wants to obtain a Ph.D. in order to conduct animal disease research. ARS is the chief scientific research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"The research area could benefit from more doctors of veterinary medicine who also have Ph.D.s," said Roric E. Wells, ARS deputy director of human resources. "This educational combination is needed because we want to combine the veterinarian's knowledge of animal medicine with the Ph.D. training necessary to conduct research."

The program participant must earn a Ph.D. in a scientific discipline such as virology or microbiology that will prepare them to conduct animal disease research. The participant must maintain a B average while in the program and receive no grades lower than a C. It is anticipated that the participant will complete the Ph.D. program within four years. The participant must agree to work for ARS for three years as a full-time research scientist after receiving a Ph.D.

Applicants for the pilot program must have earned their doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM) degree before beginning the Ph.D. program, must be U.S. citizens and must meet eligibility requirements established by the cooperating university. Applications will be reviewed by a panel that includes a representative of the university and ARS personnel including the agency's South Atlantic Area Director, a research leader, the National Program Leader for Animal Health, and a human resources representative. The panel will be chaired by the ARS Associate Deputy Administrator for Animal Production, Product Value and Safety.

Interested parties can obtain more information by calling Roric Wells at 301-504-1479.