Manitoba adds student at WCVM
By Colleen MacPherson
The Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) will make room for one more student from Manitoba this fall, thanks to an increase in funding to support veterinary medicine education by that province’s government.
On June 13, the Manitoba government announced it has committed $61,900 for an additional student to attend the college. Charles Rhodes, dean of the WCVM, said the increase means the number of seats for students from that province will go up to 13 from the current 12.
Under the WCVM’s interprovincial funding agreement, Alberta and Saskatchewan are allocated and pay for 20 seats each, British Columbia 15 and Manitoba now 13. Not written into the official agreement is the understanding that a seat will be made available for a potential candidate from the Northwest Territories or the Yukon, “but we deal with it on a case-by-case basis,” said Rhodes. Manitoba’s additional spot will be filled this fall, he said, but further increases in enrolment by any province would have to be worked into the schedule of the facility’s current expansion project.
The Manitoba government also announced it will spend $50,000 annually on a Large Animal Veterinary Retention Program. Under that program, grants will be available to Manitoba’s third- and fourth-year WCVM students in return for a year of service as a rural large-animal veterinarian for each grant received. Rhodes said those arrangements are between the students and their province, and do not involve the college but, he added, that retention program is similar to one operating in this province in that both aim to address a shortage of rural veterinarians.
Jointly sponsored by the Saskatchewan government and the Saskatchewan Veterinary Medical Association, the three-year-old mentorship program sees the Association pay $6,000 to each of 10 first and second-year students during a 14-week summer placement in a rural livestock or mixed animal veterinary practice. The cost of accommodation and part of the students’ wages are covered by the participating practice.
Rhodes said by providing the mentorship experience in rural areas, “the student will hopefully go back to that practice or a similar practice”. He added the government recently re-committed itself to supporting the program.