The University System of Maryland announced its approval for the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in Princess Anne. It will be only the second veterinary school at the nation’s historically Black colleges and universities. The U.S. Labor Department forecasts a high demand for veterinarians in the coming years. Currently, just 3 percent of all veterinarians in the United States are Black.
Compared to traditional four-year programs, the proposed program calls for three-year completion. This “innovative approach” will allow UMES veterinary students to learn the same critical components found in existing programs but more expeditiously. The first students are expected to enroll in 2026.
Kimberly Braxton, an assistant professor and veterinarian, will hold the post of interim founding dean until a successful search for a permanent dean next year. Dr. Braxton has served as the pre-veterinary faculty advisor for the past five years, having started her career at the university in 2018.
“If the COVID crisis has taught us anything, it is that the current number of veterinary schools cannot keep up with the increase in demand for veterinarians to handle the national shortage,” Dr. Braxton said. “The pandemic has also taught us that we have to be open to different styles of teaching this next generation of professionals. This new HBCU vet school aims to help move the needle in the right direction. Today’s students, particularly underserved, become passionate about a career because they see someone that look likes them in that profession being successful. Our mission is to mediate accomplishment of their dreams and ultimate success. If they choose to remain in the state to practice veterinary medicine, all the better.”
Dr. Braxton is a graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. She earned a doctor of veterinary medicine degree at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in lab animal science at Drexel University in Philadelphia.