Rocky Vista University announces intent to develop a College of Veterinary Medicine

Rocky Vista University announces intent to develop a College of Veterinary Medicine

(Billings, MT)- Rocky Vista University (RVU), which opened the RVU Montana College of Medicine (MCOM) in July 2023, is announcing its plans for the development of the Rocky Vista University College of Veterinary Medicine in Billings, MT.  The College will offer a comprehensive Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program to train future veterinarians. RVU has been working on this project for the past 18 months and while this new program is still in the process of becoming accredited, it has the potential of helping to solve the critical veterinary care shortage in Montana and the Mountain West region. There is currently no other veterinary school within 400 miles of Billings.

The program is seeking accreditation through the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Council on Education and the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). If approved by the accreditors, RVU will proceed with planned construction of a Veterinary Medicine academic building on a parcel that has already been acquired adjacent to their existing campus located on Billings’s west end. Robert Murtaugh, DVM, MS, DACVIM, DACVECC has been appointed as the founding Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Murtaugh is currently working with senior university leadership and other academic veterinary experts on curriculum development, faculty planning, clinical relationships, and other major steps to develop this new program.

The program recently had an accreditation visit from HLC and expects a required consultative site visit from AVMA in mid-2024.

“With RVU’s continued commitment to excellence in medical education, the addition of new educational offerings demonstrates our ongoing dedication to providing quality healthcare education across multiple disciplines and to enhance the academic offerings available in Montana and the Mountain West,” said David A. Forstein, DO FACOOG, President and CEO of RVU.

In addition to helping solve the shortage of veterinary medicine providers in Montana, the College of Veterinary Medicine is expected to have a positive economic impact in Billings, Yellowstone County, and Montana.

Steve Arveschoug, Big Sky Economic Development Executive Director, stated, “We have a great partnership with RVU, and their investment in the Montana College of Osteopathic Medicine. This investment stands as a significant accomplishment and promises substantial contributions to our rural state’s healthcare future. Similarly, their new investment in establishing a college of veterinary medicine holds considerable importance to Billings and our state. We anticipate that the direct economic impact stemming from the construction of this college, the employment of 61 full-time administration, staff, faculty, and the associated economic advantages, will surpass $60 million annually.”

RVU’s mission is to provide quality healthcare education while inspiring students to serve with compassion, integrity, and excellence.  The institution believes it can build on the success of the Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine and healthcare masters programs by bringing veterinary medical education to Montana. RVU’s dedication to innovation and research lays the foundation for students to receive excellent education and practical experience in veterinary medicine, addressing the needs of both companion and large animals.

Arveschoug further emphasized, “Our commitment involves supporting the infrastructure requirements for the expansion of the RVU campus and facilitating the natural partnerships that come with this new program. Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter, Zoo Montana, Rocky Mountain College Equestrian Studies program, local veterinarian practices and the many livestock operations in the region are the immediate opportunities we see for collaboration and broad community benefit. What a great opportunity for Montana and our community.”

RVU-MCOM matriculated its first class of students in July 2023 and offers a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree as well as a Master of Medical Sciences.