Veterinary medical education is a relatively small community with limited numbers of institutions, people, and resources widely dispersed geographically. The problems faced, however, are large-and not very different from the problems faced by (human) medical education. As part of an effort to share resources and build a community of practice around common issues, five colleges in the westernmost region of the United States came together to form a regional inter-institutional consortium. This article describes the processes by which the consortium was formed and the initiation of its first collaborative endeavor, an inter-institutional medical/biomedical teaching academy (the Regional Teaching Academy, or RTA). We report outcomes, including the successful launch of three RTA initiatives, and the strategies that have been considered key to the academy's success. These include strong support from the consortium deans, including an ongoing financial commitment, a dedicated part-time Executive Coordinator, regular face-to-face meetings that supplement virtual meetings, an organization-wide biennial conference, an effective organizational structure, and a core group of dedicated leaders and RTA Fellows. The western consortium and RTA share these processes, insights, and outcomes to provide a model upon which other colleges of veterinary medicine can build to further leverage inter-institutional collaboration.
Keywords: educational methods; inter-institutional collaboration; leadership; outcomes; professional education; teaching academy.