American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation
Wheaten jumping


<< Back to main News page

American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation to Publish Board Certification Requirements in Spring

Ft. Collins, Colorado, April 28, 2011 — The American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation (ACVSMR) has announced that its board certification process is undergoing final review, and it expects to publish the requirements in Spring 2011.

ACVSMR recognizes two veterinary specialties: Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation (Canine) and Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation (Equine). Candidates applying for board certification must fulfill the requirements for one of three paths leading to the certifying examination: Academic Residency, Non-Traditional Residency, or the Practice Experience Track. ACVSMR’s Residency/Credentials Committee is currently reviewing details regarding each of these paths.

“By creating the Practice Experience Track, the college recognizes that there are many veterinarians that have been active in the fields of veterinary sports medicine and rehabilitation for years,” said Robert L. Gillette, DVM, MSE, president of the ACVSMR board of directors and director of the Animal Health and Performance Program in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama. Gillette added that some members of this group, with sufficient credentials, might be eligible to apply to sit for the first certification exam (tentatively scheduled for Spring 2012).

How Was ACVSMR Created?
ACVSMR is a new specialty college that has been in the making for over a decade. Interest in a veterinary rehabilitation and sports medicine specialty started to gain momentum in 1999 after the 1st International Symposium on Veterinary Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy was held in Corvallis, Oregon.

In January 2003, ACVSMR’s five founding members submitted a letter of intent to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) proposing a new Recognized Veterinary Specialty Organization (RVSO) — the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation (ACVSMR) — created to meet the unique needs of athletic and working animals and all animals in need of rehabilitation. At the recommendation of the AVMA, an organizing committee was formalized in 2006 when16 members were selected using a method overseen by an independent entity as detailed below.

This selection process began with the founding members each submitting the names of 10 veterinarians who met the following AVMA criteria:

“Members of the organizing committee should be veterinarians recognized as exceptionally qualified and who meet one or more of the following criteria:

“Be a professor of the proposed specialty in a college or department of veterinary medicine.

“Be an author of important publications resulting from research or practice in the specialty.

“Have at least 10 years experience in the specialty and, by teaching, research, or practice, have contributed substantially to the development of the specialty.

“Have advanced training in the specialty and have demonstrated competency through teaching, research, or practice in the specialty to which most of the individual's professional time is devoted.”

Veterinarians whose names were submitted by the original members were then asked to submit the names of other veterinarians whom they believed should be included. The resulting list included 53 individuals, of whom 33 veterinarians agreed to take part. These 33 individuals reviewed the curricula vitae of all the candidates (including the original members) and ranked each candidate. They also were asked to vote on the number of committee members they felt were needed to start the college. In March 2006, the voters elected to have 16 total members, and the 16 top-ranked people from the list were asked to be on the organizing committee.

In August 2008, the committee petitioned the AVMA’s American Board of Veterinary Specialists (ABVS) to become a Recognized Veterinary Specialty Organization. The AVMA announced in the January 2009 edition of JAVMA that the petition had been reviewed favorably and invited public comments for a time period ending that November. Public support for the new college was almost universal. The final petition was accepted by ABVS in November 2009 and approved by the AVMA the following year. At the suggestion of the AVMA, the number of members of the college was increased to 27 with the selection oversight provided by a membership committee, using the same selection criteria as earlier. In April 2010, AVMA granted approval for the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation (ACVSMR).

"Since being nominated for the organizing committee, I have been impressed with the transparency and detail of the process for this new college to gain approval from AVMA,” said C. Wayne McIlwraith, BVSc, PhD, DSc, FRCVS, a past president of ACVS and an ACVSMR board member. “The initial 27 Charter Diplomates come from diverse backgrounds but all have specific qualifications in veterinary sports medicine and rehabilitation. As the representative for ACVSMR on ABVS, I have been impressed with the help we get from ABVS while they ensure that specialty colleges are appropriately qualified. At the same time, we hope to see rapid growth of this specialty that was definitely needed and can act in synchrony with other specialty colleges."

Membership in ACVSMR is expected to increase to more than 200 over the next several years as the demand for veterinary sports medicine and rehabilitation continues to grow. Visit the college’s website at for more information including residency and credentialing requirements for the three pathways to board certification.



Advancing knowledge of canine and equine sports medicine and rehabilitation


© 2010-11 American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation. All Rights Reserved.
For More Information:   ACVSMR, P.O. Box F, Fort Collins CO 80522   |