The American Veterinary Medical Foundation received quite a gift for its 50th anniversary: a $2 million deposit from the Auxiliary to the AVMA to create the new Auxiliary Legacy Endowed Scholarship Program.
The announcement was made July 20 during the AVMA Annual Convention in Chicago.
The Auxiliary created its student loan fund in 1917 to help veterinary students with the cost of their education by providing low-interest loans.
Auxiliary President Greg Mooney said, “With the rising cost of education and the changing dynamics of college financial aid, we saw the need for a change and voted to convert a large part of the student loan fund into a scholarship fund.”
Auxiliary funds were transferred by July 1; a memorandum of understanding was signed by both sides in June following approval by the Illinois attorney general.
The money will be placed in a restricted account managed by the AVMF. The scholarships will be funded from interest on the account, and the first scholarships may be awarded as early as this time next year. The number and amount of the awards will be based on the income generated by the account.
Meanwhile, the Auxiliary student loan fund will continue to exist for another four or five years, until 60-some outstanding loans are repaid. The Auxiliary wants to allow those students the contracted time; forgiving those loans would bring immediate tax impacts, Mooney said, so they opted not to do that. The Auxiliary had more than $250,000 in outstanding loans as of late last year.
AVMF Executive Director Mike Cathey said the AVMF was extremely happy to partner with the Auxiliary to create the scholarship program “that will build upon the hundred-plus year legacy of the Auxiliary's commitment to veterinary student education.”
Students benefit from AVMF support
The American Veterinary Medical Foundation announced July 21 during its board of directors meeting in Chicago the 12 recipients of scholarships it awarded this year through its 2013 Veterinary Student Scholarship program.
A scholarship the AVMF debuted this year is the $500 Elinor McGrath Scholarship for a female veterinary student who has overcome an obstacle in her life to pursue a veterinary career.
Jaimi Goodman (LSU ‘14) was selected to receive the scholarship. According to her application, she is legally blind and deaf, but was valedictorian in high school, was first in her class at undergraduate school, and currently has a 3.521 GPA.
Another special scholarship opportunity was offered this year in celebration of the AVMA's 150th anniversary and the AVMF's 50th anniversary. Students were invited to research and prepare a report on a topic of interest in the history of veterinary medicine for the competition “Understanding Our Past to Transform our Future.” Ten students were chosen to each receive a $2,000 scholarship prize and travel expenses for the AVMA Annual Convention in Chicago. There, the winners presented their entries at a special symposium.
The presentations and awardees are as follows:
• “History of feline medicine in America” by Shira Rubin (COR ‘13).
• “Welfare and production in dairy cattle veterinary practice” by Cynthia Wise (WIS ‘15).
• “Making strides through history: a look into the past, present, and future of equine veterinary medicine” by Melissa Fenn (COR ‘15) and Nikhita Parandekar (COR ‘15).
• “The past, present, and future of veterinary medicine in wildlife and ecosystem health” by Mee-La Lee (WIS ‘15).
• “The evolution of the equine surgery specialty in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries” by Sarah Khatibzadeh (COR ‘14).
• “Wildlife and ecosystem health” by Susan Blunck (WIS ‘14).
• “The past, present, and future of companion animal medicine” by Rebecca Donnelly (COR ‘16) and David Seader (COR ‘16).
• “History of veterinary education/academia” by Danielle Lindquist (NCU ‘16).
Thomas Caltabilota (TUS ‘14) received the $1,000 Mildred C. Sylvester Scholarship.
In October, the AVMF will launch the fourth annual Zoetis (formerly Pfizer Animal Health)/AVMF Student Scholarship Program, which has awarded more than $3.12 million to some 850 first-, second-, and third-year veterinary students.
For more information about the AVMF scholarship programs, visit www.avmf.org.
AVMA recognizes contributions to profession
The following awards were bestowed during the AVMA Annual Convention in July for efforts to advance veterinary medicine, animal welfare, and public health.
• AVMA Award—Dr. James H. Brandt (OKL ‘64), past president of the AVMA and past chair of the AVMA Group Health and Life Insurance Trust, who owned mixed and small animal practices in Florida prior to retirement.
• Bustad Companion Animal Practitioner of the Year Award—Dr. Benjamin L. Hart (MIN ‘60), professor emeritus at the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, who has devoted his career of more than half a century in academia to the areas of animal behavior and the human-animal bond
• AVMA Animal Welfare Award—Dr. Leslie D. Appel (COR ‘94), who is founder and executive director of Shelter Outreach Services, a spay/neuter program in New York state
• AVMA Humane Award—Mark Tinsman, a mass care specialist with the Federal Emergency Management Agency who facilitates support for household pets and service animals.
• AVMA Public Service Award—Dr. Millicent Eidson (COL ‘83), a research scientist with the New York State Department of Health who serves as a co-leader for climate change and health studies.
• AVMA Meritorious Service Award— Dr. Cathy King (WSU ‘97), who is founder and chief executive officer of World Vets, an international veterinary aid organization.
• XIIth International Veterinary Congress Prize—Dr. Corrie Brown (ONT ‘81), professor of veterinary pathology at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, who has worked internationally building animal health infrastructure for more than 25 years.
• AVMA President's Award—Dr. Link Welborn (FL ‘82), a past president of the American Animal Hospital Association who owns four small animal hospitals in Florida; Dr. Donald F. Smith (ONT ‘74), dean emeritus at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, who established academic priorities in cancer biology and oncology, genomics and medical genetics, and pathogenic bacteriology during his tenure; and the American Association of Equine Practitioners, the world's largest professional organization dedicated to equine veterinary medicine, with a mission to improve the health and welfare of horses.
• AVMA Political Action Committee Russell Anthony Award—Dr. Howard R. Moore (ISU ‘74), a past chair of the AVMA PAC Policy Board and a past president of the Arizona VMA, who practices at Tucson Small Animal Hospital.
New policies, allied group for HOD
The AVMA will oppose remote veterinary consulting, seek controls on adoption of relocated pets, and advocate for veterinarian notification about illegal drug residues.
The AVMA House of Delegates also will add representation from the American Holistic VMA, but, at least temporarily, declined to add representation for the American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture.
The delegates took those actions July 19 at the HOD regular annual session, also passing a resolution that the Executive Board should give the delegates access to results from a survey on member satisfaction.
The new policy “Remote Consulting,” a revised version of the policy “Paid Media Consulting,” states that the AVMA opposes remote consulting by veterinarians to diagnose a condition or treat a patient in the absence of a veterinarian-client-patient relationship.
Delegates from Hawaii and Alaska tried to introduce an amendment saying such consulting can be beneficial or acceptable when a veterinarian is unavailable geographically. Dr. Dan Lafontaine, delegate for the American Association of Food Hygiene Veterinarians, countered that state practice acts are the proper places to make exemptions for unique circumstances.
In addition, the policy “Relocation of Pets for Adoption” was approved. This was developed in response to concerns expressed by AVMA members and veterinary associations that interstate transport of dogs and cats by animal control facilities, shelters, and rescue groups can increase the risk of infectious diseases, according to the statement about the resolution.
Another resolution passed by delegates urges the Food and Drug Administration to require that livestock owners identify their veterinarians to the FDA when their animals are found to have illegal drug residues. The AVMA wants the agency to inform those veterinarians about the residues.
The Executive Board had recommended that both the American Holistic VMA and the American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture be admitted as HOD members, but delegates admitted only the AHVMA, referring the resolution on the AAVA back to the Executive Board to examine whether the academy fittingly represents veterinary acupuncturists.
Among acupuncturists, there are three certifying agencies: the Chi Institute of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society, and the Medical Acupuncture for Veterinarians Program at Colorado State University.
Dr. David Ylander, Nebraska delegate, expressed concern that the AAVA more heavily represents the first two organizations, which promote Chinese medicine. He is a graduate of the Colorado State program that does not espouse that kind of medicine.
Dr. Nancy N. Scanlan, executive director of the American Holistic VMA, said in an interview prior to the delegates session that gaining representation in the House of Delegates would help her association's members communicate with the rest of the veterinary profession. She said some veterinarians have distorted views of those practicing alternative modalities, including views that they are using unscientific methods.
In January, the House of Delegates had considered a resolution from the Connecticut VMA that the AVMA declare that homeopathy is ineffective. But the delegates had referred the resolution to the Executive Board with a recommendation for further consideration by the Council on Veterinary Service.
Cohn elected AVMA president-elect
Dr. Ted Cohn was elected 2013–2014 AVMA president-elect during the House of Delegates’ regular annual session July 19 in Chicago.
Dr. Cohn was unopposed in his bid for president-elect and was declared unanimously elected to the office.
The Little Rock, Ark., native first became involved in organized veterinary medicine as a student at Tuskegee University. After receiving his DVM degree in 1975, Dr. Cohn began participating in veterinary organizations at the local, state, and national levels.
For seven years, Dr. Cohn represented Colorado veterinarians in the AVMA House of Delegates, and he recently completed a six-year term on the AVMA Executive Board. As board chair, he played a key role in developing the Association's veterinary economic strategy.
While serving on the Executive Board, Dr. Cohn also chaired the Insurance Liaison Committee, Task Force on Strategic Planning, and Economic Vision Steering Committee and served as vice chair of the Task Force on Future Roles and Expectations.
AAVMC takes on bigger role with education council
The AVMA House of Delegates changed the AVMA Bylaws July 19 to alter the method of appointing members to the AVMA Council on Education. The AVMA and Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges will now share responsibility for making these appointments, covering the costs of participation, and providing staff support.
The amendment was a response to concerns that the previous method of appointment of COE members could lead to a perception that the AVMA was exerting an influence on the accreditation of veterinary colleges by the COE.
These concerns were expressed in public comments received during the U.S. Department of Education process last year to renew recognition of the COE as the accrediting body for veterinary colleges in the U.S.
Commenters voiced support for the creation of a joint accrediting body similar to the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, the accrediting body for medical schools, which is run jointly by the Association of American Medical Colleges and American Medical Association.
In response, the COE and AAVMC developed the proposal to change the method of appointment of COE members. Formerly, the AVMA HOD elected 15 of the council's 20 members. The AAVMC and Canadian VMA appointed one member each, and the COE elected three public members.
Under the newly approved method, the AVMA and AAVMC will develop separate committees that will select eight and seven COE members, respectively. The three public members will continue to be elected by the COE, the Canadian representative will continue to be appointed by the Canadian VMA, and a veterinarian (formerly “liaison”) will continue to be appointed by the AAVMC.
The votes are in
In Chicago, the House of Delegates filled vacancies on AVMA councils and the House Advisory Committee. The results are as follows.
Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents
Dr. Michael Hodgman, Zumbrota, Minn., representing members-at-large; Dr. Laurel Gershwin, Davis, Calif., representing immunology; and Dr. K. Fred Gingrich II, Ashland, Ohio, representing private clinical practice, predominantly food animal
Council on Education
Dr. William Epperson, Starkville, Miss., representing large animal clinical science; and Dr. Caroline Zeiss, New Haven, Conn., representing veterinary medical research
Council on Public Health and Regulatory Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Stephan Schaefbauer, Raleigh, N.C., representing agricultural agencies; Dr. Brant Schumaker, Laramie, Wyo., representing public health agencies or the armed forces; and Dr. Elizabeth Wagstrom, Washington, D.C., representing members-at-large
Council on Research
Dr. Anastasha Henderson, Yorba Linda, Calif., representing private clinical practice; and Drs. John Baker, East Lansing, Mich., and Thomas Rosol, Columbus, Ohio, representing veterinary medical research
Council on Veterinary Service
Dr. Karen Rosenthal, Cayman Islands, British West Indies, representing academic clinical science; Dr. Christopher Gargamelli, Durham, Conn., representing members-at-large; and Dr. Jennifer Quammen, Melbourne, Ky., representing recent graduates
Drs. Steve Barghusen, Minneapolis, and Marthina Greer, Lomira, Wis., representing members-at-large
House Advisory Committee
Drs. Mark Cox, El Paso, Texas, Timothy Montgomery, Dacula, Ga., and David Ylander, Alliance, Neb., all representing members-at-large
Education council schedules site visits
The AVMA Council on Education has scheduled site visits to two schools and colleges of veterinary medicine for the remainder of 2013 and to nine in 2014.
Site visits for the remainder of 2013 are planned for the Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine, Oct. 13–17; and The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Oct. 27–31.
The first site visit for 2014 is planned for the University College Dublin School of Veterinary Medicine, Jan. 26–30.
The council welcomes written comments on these planned site visits or the programs to be evaluated. Comments should be addressed to Dr. David E. Granstrom, Director, Education and Research Division, AVMA, 1931 N. Meacham Road, Suite 100, Schaumburg, IL 60173. Comments must be signed by the person submitting them to be considered.
SAVMA strengthening international relationships
Veterinary students are often taught that veterinary medicine is becoming an increasingly global profession, and July 21–22 in Chicago, the Student AVMA House of Delegates took tangible actions to advance its international impact. SAVMA President Elise Ackley (LSU ‘14) stressed SAVMA's role as an increasingly international organization and highlighted the need for students to proactively address problems facing the student body.
In an effort to be as inclusive as possible, SAVMA continued to work through its Task Force on International Membership to outline ways that international students can have a voice in the SAVMA House of Delegates and contribute to the work undertaken there.
In addition, the International Veterinary Exchange Committee prepared to launch a position that will allow a SAVMA general student body member to attend the International Veterinary Students’ Association's annual meetings. SAVMA already sends its international exchange officer and IEO-elect to these meetings, so the creation of the new position—IVSA Symposium and Congress SAVMA delegate—is an effort to increase SAVMA's presence at the IVSA meeting and contribute to the global conversation.
The president of the IVSA, Frederic Lohr, joined the SAVMA HOD to describe how American students can become more involved in this international organization, reminding those present that all SAVMA members are automatically a part of the IVSA.
Other points of discussion at the meeting centered on improving member benefits and how to best serve and represent the general student body.
Dr. Bridget Heilsberg discussed recommendations from the AVMA Task Force on Governance and Member Participation regarding potential changes to the AVMA governance structure.
Students asked how the restructuring would provide a better approach to controversial issues such as increasing class size, increasing tuition rates, and the establishment of more veterinary schools. Members of the newly formed AVMA Governance Engagement Team responded that the proposed restructuring would allow both students and members to have an increased voice in AVMA policies and decisions.
Also looking ahead, SAVMA's push to improve member benefits is kicking off with the establishment of the Task Force for Member Benefits. This task force will report back during the SAVMA Symposium in March 2014 at Colorado State University with data on how each student chapter of the AVMA functions, what current member benefits are, and what SAVMA can be doing better for members.
Smithsonian exhibition shows veterinarians’ roles
A traveling exhibition shows visitors how veterinary medicine affects their lives, and describes the bond between humans and animals.
Anna R. Cohn, director of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, said the exhibition, “Animal Connections: Our Journey Together,” will share knowledge with young people who deserve to be inspired by the contributions of veterinarians and veterinary medicine.
The 1,000-square-foot traveling exhibition debuted July 20 in the McCormick Place exhibit hall at the AVMA Annual Convention. The AVMA and Zoetis collaborated with the Smithsonian on developing the exhibition in time for the AVMA's 150th anniversary year.
The exhibition is tailored to middle school-age audiences and their families.
It was created to inspire the next generation of veterinarians, according to the exhibition website. It lets visitors explore topics involving animals in homes, on farms, in the wild, in zoos, and in veterinary clinics.
Dr. Douglas G. Aspros, 2012–2013 AVMA president, praised the exhibition for including information on a broad scope of veterinary practice areas that work for the betterment of patients, owners, and society. The AVMA wanted to bring attention to veterinary medicine, both for those who use veterinary services and for young people who could learn more about veterinarians and become interested in the profession, he said.
After the AVMA Annual Convention, the Smithsonian planned to bring the exhibition to seven parks in Chicago, Cohn said. The next destinations were not yet announced, but the attraction will travel throughout the U.S.
It could visit up to 45 sites annually, she said, including veterinary schools, 4-H meetings, middle schools, and community centers.
J.B. Hancock, director of the AVMA Communications Division, said work on the Smithsonian project spanned eight years and many iterations, ending with a product more impressive and engaging than imagined.
A recently discovered astrovirus has been connected with neurologic disease in infected cattle.
The virus was detected in four cattle that had lived in California and had unexplained neurologic signs.
An announcement from the University of California-Davis indicates the virus is unlikely to threaten human health or the food supply, but the findings are important because they provide a relatively simple diagnostic tool to rule out bovine spongiform encephalopathy as the cause of neurologic signs in cattle.
The effects of the virus are described in a scientific article, “Divergent astrovirus associated with neurologic disease in cattle” (Emerg Infect Dis 2013;19:1385–1392), which was published in September. The researchers are or were affiliated with the Blood Systems Research Institute in San Francisco; University of California in Davis and San Francisco; Bishop Veterinary Hospital in Bishop, Calif.; University of South Florida in St. Petersburg; and Stanford University.
The article abstract indicates the astrovirus first was discovered in a crossbred yearling steer with an acute onset of lateral recumbency that included opisthotonus and extensor rigidity. A retrospective analysis of 32 cattle that had died with encephalitis revealed three others that had also been infected with the astrovirus.
The astrovirus RNA was limited to the nervous system and was found in the cytoplasm of affected neurons of the spinal cord, brainstem, and cerebellum, the article states. All infected cattle had lesions of widespread neuronal necrosis, microgliosis, and perivascular cuffing.
The article indicates that tests for the astrovirus RNA could be used to more rapidly exclude bovine spongiform encephalopathy as the cause of neurologic disease.
The article also indicates more research could show whether development of the neurologic signs required other factors. Testing and analysis of fecal isolates also could provide information on incidence and duration of virus shedding.
Recent research findings suggest that a viral mutation is connected with the development of a benign intestinal coronavirus into a pathogen deadly to cats.
The results published in July (Emerg Infect Dis 2013;19:1066–1073) indicate that researchers at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine believe the mutation in feline enteric coronavirus’ spike proteins is connected with development of feline infectious peritonitis. The researchers think the findings could be used toward developing diagnostic, prevention, and treatment measures against those coronaviruses’ malignant forms, which kill their feline hosts.
The change occurs following interaction between the virus’ spike proteins and macrophages.
The article, “Mutation in spike protein cleavage site and pathogenesis of feline coronavirus,” is also available at wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid.
National Provider Identifier numbers not for veterinarians
Veterinarians are ineligible to receive a type of federal identification number used by health care providers in human medicine for some transactions, such as filling prescriptions.
Dr. Lynne A. White-Shim, an assistant director of the AVMA Scientific Activities Division, said officials with the Department of Health and Human Services recently confirmed that veterinarians are ineligible to receive National Provider Identifier numbers, even though applicants can indicate they are veterinarians in the online form. The AVMA previously received reports that pharmacies have requested such numbers from veterinarians. Dr. White-Shim suggested that veterinarians who receive such requests offer to instead provide their state-issued license number.
Information from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which is part of the HHS, also indicates that veterinarians are ineligible for NPIs, and any ineligible person who has received such a number should send a request that the number be deactivated. The form for updating or deactivating an NPI is available at www.cms.gov/Medicare/CMS-Forms/CMS-Forms/downloads/CMS10114.pdf.
A January 2004 Federal Register notice states that the NPIs were established as standard identification intended to simplify administration of the health care system and aid electronic transmission of health information. Each health care provider could have a different identification number from each federal or private health care plan, complicating the claim submission process and potentially resulting in multiple providers using the same numbers for different plans.
Proposed New York veterinary project nixed
Plans to create a proposed veterinary teaching hospital in Buffalo, N.Y., have come to a halt.
Nonprofit health care provider Kaleida Health announced in August 2012 that it had selected local real estate developer Chason Affinity's $65 million proposal to create a veterinary school at the site of one of the provider's hospitals—Millard Fillmore Gates Hospital—that closed in March that year. Kaleida offered a $1 million prize for the winning proposal.
But on July 12, the health care provider announced in a press release it would reissue a request for proposals to determine interest from others in developing the nearly 10-acre site.
The move comes after a year of negotiations between Chason Affinity and Devry Inc., a private, for-profit educational organization that operates the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in St. Kitts, West Indies, according to the release.
A July 12 article in The Buffalo News said the plan evolved into creating a veterinary teaching hospital for Ross, which would have consolidated small animal clinical training for fourth-year students, instead of having students spend a year obtaining clinical experience at one of the U.S. veterinary colleges with which Ross has contracts. Obtaining experience with large animals would still have required the students to attend other campuses.
Chason was also attempting to partner with Medaille College's veterinary technology program and The SPCA Serving Erie County to open a small animal hospital at the former Gates campus, to create additional educational and training opportunities for students and veterinarians.
The news article quoted a statement from Chason Affinity that said the company worked diligently to advance its veterinary school proposal and was disappointed by Kaleida's decision to end the agreement after Ross backed out. The company said it is working on another project related to the veterinary field and would explore prospects for it elsewhere in Buffalo.
Veterinary schools work across international borders
A program meant to reduce the gap in scientific expertise between developed and developing countries by engaging veterinary colleges has announced its first project.
The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) announced July 9 that the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine and Chiang Mai University Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Thailand will participate in the inaugural Veterinary Education Twinning project.
According to the OIE, this program involves “creating and supporting a link that facilitates the exchange of knowledge, ideas, and experience between two veterinary education establishments.” Twinning has been adopted by the OIE as a method for improving institutional capacity and expertise in developing and in-transition countries.
The twinning program, therefore, is expected to create opportunities for these countries to develop modern educational facilities and methods based on accepted international standards. The eventual aim is to create more centers of excellence for veterinary education in geographic areas that are currently underrepresented and to achieve a better balance in the global distribution of well-educated veterinarians, according to the OIE
Dr. Trevor Ames, dean of Minnesota's veterinary college, said in the OIE press release that the project will benefit both institutions as they strive to enhance the capacity of their veterinary graduates to support the control of transboundary diseases and zoonoses and strengthen the veterinary services of both countries.
The two-year Chiang Mai-Minnesota Veterinary Education Twinning Project aims to ensure that graduates from these veterinary colleges meet the OIE “day-one competencies” developed by OIE's ad hoc Group on Veterinary Education. AVMA CEO Ron DeHaven chairs this group comprising nine other international veterinary authorities.
This group will meet next during the third annual OIE Global Conference on Veterinary Education, to be held Dec. 4–6 in Foz do Iguazu, Brazil. The conference will address the need for better global harmonization of veterinary education worldwide, based on OIE guidelines. It will also focus on strengthening the role of veterinary statutory bodies in regulating veterinarians and veterinary paraprofessionals, ensuring their qualifications and ethics.
Veterinary students wanted for NIH program
Dr. Guy H. Palmer said a National Institutes of Health student research program is helping the veterinary profession remain connected with other biomedical sciences.
He described the program as an opportunity for the profession to stay engaged at the center of biomedical research. Without such engagement, the profession risks becoming isolated from the rest of the biomedical workforce.
Dr. Palmer, director of the Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health at Washington State University, hopes that students and faculty members at U.S. veterinary schools will see the benefits of the yearlong NIH Medical Research Scholars Program and that students interested in research careers will apply to participate in the program's 2014–2015 term.
The program is intended to attract creative, research-oriented medical, dental, and veterinary students, NIH information states. Each participant works on a mentored basic, clinical, or translational research project at the NIH campus in Bethesda, Md., or a nearby NIH facility.
Bruce J. Baum, DMD, PhD, MRSP director, said the program evolved from two yearlong intramural NIH training programs that ran in parallel: the Clinical Research Training Program, which existed for 15 years, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute-NIH Research Scholars Program, which lasted 25 years. When they ended in 2012, the MRSP emerged.
The program is accepting applications for the 2014–2015 term starting Oct. 1. Application information is available at www.cc.nih.gov/training/mrsp.
In an April 8 letter signed by Dr. Palmer; Dr. Lonnie J. King, dean of The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine; Dr. Michael D. Lairmore, dean of the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine; and Dr. Baum, the administrators asked veterinary school deans, as well as the research and academic affairs committees of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, to encourage outstanding veterinary students to apply. The letter noted that no veterinary students will participate in the 2013–2014 class. Only two applied to participate, and the one who was accepted deferred participation until the 2014–2015 year.
The program is designed for students who have completed their core clinical rotations, but others with research interests can apply before completing their rotations. The 2012–2013 class had 45 participants, including a third-year veterinary student at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.
That student, Jacob R. Cawley, worked with the National Cancer Institute to investigate molecular mechanisms of castration-resistant prostate cancer in mice. His term in the program ended July 31.
Cawley wants to work as an oncologist after graduation, and he said he entered the program to learn more about cancer and will put that knowledge to work in comparative medicine. He described the work at the NIH as the “pinnacle” of medicine, and he was inspired by the passion and hope NIH scientists showed through their work.
Dr. Palmer said the program not only helps veterinarians enter biomedical research but also ensures that biomedical sciences use veterinarians’ comparative medicine skills.
Academic clinician becomes Illinois’ new dean
Dr. Peter D. Constable, a Purdue University professor of veterinary clinical sciences and head of that department, will become the dean of the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in January.
Dr. Herbert E. Whiteley, dean of the veterinary college since 2001, is stepping down and will take a sabbatical in preparation for developing collaborations between the veterinary college and the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, according to an Aug. 2 U of I press release.
Illinois’ Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost Ilesanmi Adesida said Dr. Constable's broad knowledge of the field and commitment to the highest academic principles made him an ideal person for the job.
He began his academic career at U of I in 1993 as an assistant professor in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine and served as the interim head of the department from 2004–2005 before leaving for Purdue's College of Veterinary Medicine.
Dr. Constable's clinical and research interests include acid-base physiology, fluid therapy, shock, calf diarrhea, surgical conditions of the bovine abdomen, biostatistics, pharmacokinetic modeling, and the cardiovascular response to endurance training. He has worked as an agricultural animal veterinarian in Australia and as a mixed animal practitioner in England.
He is the editor, co-editor, or coauthor of three books, including the 10th edition of “Veterinary Medicine: A Textbook of the Diseases of Cattle, Horses, Sheep, Pigs, and Goats.”
Dr. Constable earned his veterinary degree in 1982 from the University of Melbourne in Australia. He completed an ambulatory internship and food animal medicine and surgery residency at The Ohio State University, where he earned his master's (1989) and doctorate (1992). He is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and the American College of Veterinary Nutrition.
Oregon dean moves to lead Virginia-Maryland
Dr. Cyril R. Clarke of Corvallis, Ore., has been named the fourth dean of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, effective Oct. 1.
Dr. Clarke currently serves as professor and dean of Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
At Virginia-Maryland, he will succeed Dr. Gerhardt G. Schurig, who will return to the faculty after 10 years as interim dean and then dean.
A native of Johannesburg, Dr. Clarke helped strengthen the Oregon State veterinary college's clinical programs and student experiences. He was also instrumental in the collaborative creation of the university's new Division of Health Sciences between the veterinary and pharmacy colleges.
A diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology, Dr. Clarke was a faculty member from 1987–2007 at Oklahoma State University, where he also served as a department head and associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Veterinary Medicine. In 2007, he assumed the position of dean at Oregon State's veterinary college, where he also teaches pharmacology.
Dr. Clarke is a member of the board of directors for the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges. He is also a member of the Department of Agriculture's National Research, Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory Board and a past president of the American College of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics.
In the past, Dr. Clarke was honored with the Pfizer Award for Research Excellence and the Oregon VMA President's Award.
His research has focused on interactions among bacteria, antibacterial agents, and host defenses; drug disposition and pharmacokinetics; and biosensor technology development.
He received a BVSc degree from the University of Pretoria, South Africa, in 1981; a doctorate in veterinary pharmacology from Louisiana State University in 1987; and a master's in higher education from Oklahoma State in 2000.
Another veterinary education partnership out West
A 1+3 program between Montana State University and Washington State University is ready to launch.
Montana students can apply online through Oct. 2 via the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges’ Veterinary Medical College Application Service at https://portal.vmcas.org. Classes will begin in August 2014.
The Montana Legislature and Gov. Steve Bullock approved the creation of, and funding for, the program during the 2013 legislative session.
Ten Montanans will be chosen for the new Montana Cooperative Veterinary Medicine Program, according to an Aug. 4 MSU release.
Dr. Rebecca Mattix, a Montana State University teaching professor and preveterinary adviser, said in the release that the admissions committee—made up of Montana State and Washington State faculty, and representatives from the Montana veterinary and livestock industries—will identify students who have strong ties to the state and want to work in food animal medicine and other areas of emphasis across the veterinary profession.
Students will take their first year of classes in Bozeman, Mont., and then go to Pullman, Wash., to study for three years at WSU's College of Veterinary Medicine.
Montana State boasts new facilities, including the university's Animal Bioscience Building and containment laboratories that offer training in biosafety-related issues associated with infection in livestock, wildlife, and other animals.
The co-op program is modeled after the WWAMI Medical Education Program, which allows students from Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho to enroll in the University of Washington Medical School and take their first year of classes in their home state.
The hope is the new program will provide affordable access to a veterinary medical education and help rebuild the veterinary workforce in rural Montana, Dr. Mattix said in the release, by supporting rural communities and family ranches with new veterinarians in underserved areas. WSU benefits, too, by educating more large animal students and having a greater reach in the Western region.
Renovations in store for Tufts hospitals
Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University is taking on a $60 million project to extensively renovate and expand its small and large animal hospitals.
The first phase of the project, which will cost $8 million, will renovate sections of the Henry and Lois Foster Hospital for Small Animals and a small portion of the Large Animal Hospital, according to an Aug. 1 article in “Tufts Now.”
New elements will include larger reception areas with separate spaces for different species, to help reduce the stress on patients and their families waiting to see their caregivers; four additional examination rooms to accommodate the growing number of clients, from 16 to 20; new, larger treatment rooms for specialty services in ophthalmology, cardiology, neurology, and dermatology that will reduce client and patient wait times; and a reflection room offering hospital clients a quiet space to consider important decisions regarding their animals’ care.
Construction of the first phase will begin once the first $8 million is raised from donations and gifts.
Dean Deborah Kochevar said the project was necessary to continue to provide high-level service as well as attract the best students and faculty.
When the Henry and Lois Foster Hospital for Small Animals opened in 1985, veterinarians anticipated providing care to 12,000 cats, dogs, and other companion animals each year. Now, more than 26,000 pets come to the hospital annually, representing one of the highest patient caseloads of any veterinary academic teaching hospital in the country, according to the article. The 30-year-old building is at capacity, with 100 veterinarians who work in the small animal hospital and 2,300 students, interns, and residents who have trained in the hospital in the past three decades. About 86 fourth-year veterinary students do clinical rotations in the hospital each year, and that number will increase to 100 once the renovations are completed.
Oklahoma State establishes respiratory disease center
A research team headed by Lin Liu, PhD, at the Oklahoma State University Center for Veterinary Health Sciences has received a nearly $11.3 million federal grant to establish the Oklahoma Center for Respiratory and Infectious Diseases.
The award is the first Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence grant in Oklahoma State's history, according to a July 18 university press release. It is spread over five years, from this past July through June 2018. COBRE funding comes from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health.
The Oklahoma Center for Respiratory and Infectious Diseases will bring together experts from Oklahoma State University, the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, and the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation.
Investigators at the new center will study respiratory syncytial virus, influenza virus, and respiratory bacterial infection, covering disease pathogenesis, therapeutics, molecular mechanisms, and bioengineering.
One major goal for the new center is to attract research faculty and mentor them so the center can develop a strong research and funding base from the NIH and other federal sponsors, said Dr. Jerry Malayer, associate dean for research and graduate education at the veterinary center.
Dr. Liu is director of the Lung Biology and Toxicology Laboratory in the veterinary center's Department of Physiological Sciences.
Biomarker study could help Golden Retrievers with lymphoma
Researchers at three universities are studying epigenetic biomarkers in Golden Retrievers in hopes of improving cancer diagnosis and treatment.
The American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation is providing $405,000 for research intended to find novel protein, blood, and epigenetic biomarkers of lymphoma risk, classification, and prognosis in Golden Retrievers. The three-year grant period started June 1.
The investigators are Dr. Jeffrey N. Bryan of the University of Missouri, Dr. Anne C. Avery of Colorado State University, and Dr. Heather M. Wilson-Robles of Texas A&M University.
Lymphoma affects one in eight Golden Retrievers, one of the breeds most commonly affected by the disease, according to grant information from the foundation. The project is intended to identify aberrant epigenetic changes in lymphoma cells to develop biomarkers for each class of lymphoma and identify therapy targets for Golden Retrievers.
Because DNA methylation changes occur early in the process of cancer formation, the researchers hypothesize that the changes could be used as biomarkers of risk, the grant information states. They intend to fully phenotype cancer stem cells in lymphoma through surface markers and DNA methylation changes to target the cells that feed cancer metastasis.
American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine
The American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine certified 58 new diplomates following the certification examination it held June 30 in Bethesda, Md. The new diplomates are as follows: