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medicine, and discover what is covered in veterinary curricular throughout the world.
Most academic curricula, syllabi, and courses are developed through a top-down process, where administrators determine what they think students
need. However, we have and will continue to utilized
a unique bottom-up approach, that involves using
input from practicing full-time aquatic veterinarians to identify the key Day-1 KSEs that would be expected of new graduates. This DACUM (Developing a Curriculum) approach has proven to be very effective, relatively quick, and a low-cost approach to accurately develop occupational standards for any job, or work-related tasks. Because of its low cost and effectiveness, it has been and continues to be used by educators and trainers
in over 40 countries (Adams, et al, 2015), including veterinary medicine (e.g. Miller, et al., 2004).
The DACUM process involves a panel of 6-12 expert workers the men and women with reputations for being the best at their jobs. Whether at the skilled, technical, supervisory, or professional level, these workers explain exactly what they do, that allows them to be successful (Adams, et al, 2015).
To evaluate the WAVMA CertAqV Modules, we used six aquatic veterinarians who are actively engaged in private aquatic veterinary medicine practice. They participated
in a 3-day workshop during which they completed an occupational analysis that identified key General Areas of Competence (GAC equivalent to CertAqV Modules), and the essential competencies (KSEs) within each GAC, that are necessary to practice competent aquatic veterinary medicine. The resulting occupational analysis identified 18 General Areas of Competence and 189 individual competencies essential for the Day-1 practitioner of aquatic veterinary medicine.
Finally, to validate that these are what any aquatic veterinarian needs to practice, 3-5 additional aquatic veterinarians, from different global regions, will be used to validate that these apply to needs in the Americas, Europe, Africa and the Asia-Pacific. This approach is to ensure that significant GACs have not been omitted, weight each competency in relation to its GAC, and ensure needs of of different countries is accommodated. While still in progress, the resulting occupational analysis will serve as the basis for evaluating whether existing veterinary curricula adequately cover sufficient information, and will be useful for developing model curricula to ensure a veterinarian desiring to practice aquatic veterinary medicine has sufficient Day-1 KSEs.
As in all veterinary disciplines, most applied knowledge and skills are refined and honed in the first years of private practice, when delivering services to animal owning clients. This is when veterinarians draw on a vast number of medical principles learned during their
veterinary degree that apply to any species, and apply them to hone their knowledge and skills in dealing with species not traditionally addressed in the veterinary curriculum. This continues through life-long learning, and most countries require veterinarians to document
a minimum number of hours of continuing education and professional development (CEPD), as a condition to legally practice veterinary medicine. Aquatic veterinary medicine is no exception.
With the assistance of the Council on International Veterinary Education and collaboration from other national and international veterinary organizations, we hope that efforts in 2019 and beyond, will help evaluate aquatic veterinary education opportunities throughout Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, South America, and perhaps the Middle East.
Selective References:
Adams RE, RL Hogan & LJ Steinke (2015). DACUM: The seminal book.Edwin & Associates, Wilmington, DE, USA. 372 pp.
APPA (2017). 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey. American Pet Products Association, Inc., Stamford, CT, USA.
AVMA (2012). U.S. Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook, 2012. American Veterinary Medical Association, Schaumburg, IL, USA.
Statista (2017). Number of ornamental fish in the European Union in 2017, by country. Statistics and market data on Consumer Goods & Fast Moving Consumer Goods. Statista, Inc., New York. Accessed July 2017 from statistics/515432.
DeHaven WR & AD Scarfe (2012). Professional education and aquatic animal health A focus on aquatic veterinarians and veterinary para-professionals. Proc. OIE Global Conference on Aquatic Animal Health Programmes. Panama, 2830 June 2011. World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), Paris. pp: 139-154.
FAO (2018). The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2018. Meeting the Sustainable Development Goals. Food & Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, Rome, Italy. 210 pp.
Hartman KH, Yanong RPE, Harms CA & Lewbart GA (2006). The future of training for aquatic animal health veterinarians. J. Vet. Med. Edu., 33(3):389393.
Miller RB, LE Hardin, RP Cowart & MR Ellersieck (2004). Practitioner-Defined Competencies Required of New Veterinary Graduates in Food Animal Practice. J. Vet. Med. Edu., 31(4):347-365.
OIE (2013). Tool for the Evaluationof Performance of Veterinary Services and/or Aquatic Animal Health Services (OIE PVS Tool: Aquatic). World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), Paris. 70 pp.
Weber ES, Blanc G & Hedrick RP (2009). Essential veterinary education in fish health and disease: a global perspective. In: Veterinary education for global animal and public health (D.A. Walsh, ed.). Rev. sci. tech. Off. int. Epiz.,

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