October 2014

Congressional Briefing Highlights Veterinarians in Biomedical Research

Panel speakers (from left) Drs. Lairmore (UC-Davis), Rockey (NIH)
and Thamm (CSU) at the Congressional briefing.

Veterinary Medicine Caucus Co-Chair Rep.Ted Yoho from Florida (center)
at the briefing.

The critical role that veterinarians play in biomedical research was the focus of a well-attended Sept. 18 Congressional briefing organized by the AAVMC through the auspices of the Veterinary Medicine Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“This is a compelling issue about the importance of ensuring a well-qualified and highly trained workforce to advance research, primarily being funded by NIH,” said AAVMC Executive Director Dr. Andrew Maccabe, who introduced  three panelists representing academia, government and comparative clinical research: Dr. Michael Lairmore, dean of the UC-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine; Dr. Sally Rockey, deputy director of extramural research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH); and Dr. Douglas H. Thamm, associate professor and director of clinical research at the Colorado State University Flint Animal Cancer Center.

Dr. Lairmore, who participated in the NIH-organized Physician-Scientist Workforce Working Group, emphasized the important role of NIH funding in cultivating and sustaining research, early on through training grants and in every stage of a researcher’s career. The advisory group analyzed the current composition and size of the physician-scientist biomedical research workforce and developed recommendations to help sustain and strengthen it. Recommendations include expanding loan repayment and fellowship programs and developing a specific granting mechanism to help make the transition from training to independent research.

Dr. Rockey outlined the broad scope of NIH funding, commenting that NIH is the largest source of funding for medical research in the world, with more than 80 percent of its budget going to research personnel at more than 2,500 universities and universities and research institutions. Current challenges facing the NIH, according to Rockey, include an aging workforce and a flat budget that has failed to keep pace with inflation, resulting in the equivalent of a 22 percent funding reduction between 2003 and 2013. Nevertheless, the NIH funds 27 institutions and centers that are involved in some kind of animal research that helps to understand human disease, and she spoke highly of the important and varied roles that veterinarians play in NIH research programs. “Our goal,” she said, “is to make it easy for talented individuals to pursue scientific research and we appreciate the importance of veterinary scientists to NIH.”

Dr. Thamm emphasized the similarities between animals and humans, particularly dogs, who suffer from many of the same diseases as humans and the benefits of what researchers can learn from treating dogs therapeutically. “Dogs can serve as a rich and fertile ground for research, because humans and dogs have similar genetics, a shared environment, and share many of the same diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer,” he said. Therefore, treatments that benefit dogs are more likely to be effective in humans as well, and dogs’ accelerated lifespans provide a window into how treatments will affect humans long term.

"I’m confident that this briefing helped to inform the Congressional staffers and others who attended about how important veterinary scientists are to biomedical research, as well as the vital role of sustained NIH funding,” said Kevin Cain, the AAVMC’s director of governmental relations.

Purdue Begins Offering Online Certificate in Diversity and Inclusion

On Sept. 15, the Center of Excellence for Diversity and Inclusion in Veterinary Medicine at Purdue University began offering an online Certificate in Diversity and Inclusion designed for veterinarians, veterinary technicians, educators and students.

The Center, developed in partnership with the AAVMC and the American Veterinary Medical Association, offers programs that are designed for those who seek to improve their communication, leadership, teaching/learning and cultural competency skills and who are committed to fostering welcoming work and learning environments.

Certificate program participants will complete and reflect upon a combination of online learning modules, community engagement, and cultural experiences, to build their skill sets in navigating the diversity of generations, sexual orientation, ability, gender, race, and ethnicity. Participants will earn nine hours of continuing education credit and a certificate in diversity and inclusion.

Learn more.

Seoul National University Joins AAVMC

The Seoul National University College of Veterinary Medicine (SNU-CVM) in Seoul, South Korea, has joined the AAVMC as an affiliate member.

The university, which was established in 1947, is accredited by the Korean government and is in the process of seeking accreditation through the Council on Education. SNU-CVM has a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program that consists of two years of pre-veterinary work followed by four years of work in the college of veterinary medicine.

SNU-CVM’s numerous coalitions and partnerships include working with schools and colleges of veterinary medicine at Cornell University, UC-Davis, and Mississippi State University, as well as other schools in the Americas and internationally.

Affiliate members are non-voting, but they have the right to participate on all AAVMC committees and attend the association’s symposia and conferences. Affiliate members also receive five complimentary copies of each issue of the Journal of Veterinary Medical Education (JVME) for distribution, as well as free, online JVME access.

AAVMC’s affiliate members are not eligible to join the Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS); however, they can be listed in the AAVMC’s Veterinary Medical School Admissions Requirements (VMSAR) book, which lists the admissions requirements for all AAVMC member and affiliate colleges of veterinary medicine. 

AAVMC Co-Sponsors AHI’s “Pet Night” on Capitol Hill

Kevin Cain, director of governmental relations,
Marti, who stars in the soon-to-be-released
film version of Annie

It’s not every day that members of the U.S. Congress get photo-ops with celebrity cats and dogs. But they and their staffers did that and more during one of the animal health industry’s premiere networking and advocacy events on Capitol Hill.

Several AAVMC members and officials joined hundreds of others during the Animal Health Institute’s 18th Annual “Pet Night on Capitol Hill" on Thursday, September 18.

The AAVMC is an affiliate sponsor of the event that attracts a range of senior corporate executives and government officials. The goal of the reception is to educate members of Congress about the human-animal bond and the corporations that help keep pets healthy.

Some AAVMC member representatives in town for “Pet Night” took advantage of their time on Capitol Hill to schedule personal visits with Congressional leaders. For example, University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine Dean Jim Lloyd connected with a half-dozen legislative leaders during the day.

Founded in 1941, the Animal Health Institute includes 24 major corporations working in the animal health industry, including Bayer, Merck, Merial, Novartis, Zoetis, Elanco and others.

Other affiliate sponsors of the event include the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA).

AAVMC Creates Consolidated News Feed from Member Institutions

Discoveries and achievements that shape the modern profession of veterinary medicine are constantly emerging from AAVMC member institutions.

To better leverage the important stories generated by communications officers in our colleges and schools, the AAVMC has created a new consolidated news stream from participating institutions.

Located on the News and Media Resources page of the AAVMC website, the automatically updated news aggregator provides a one-stop resource for reporters and other interested parties wishing to catch up on the latest news from academic veterinary medicine.

Efforts are being formulated to “market” the news service to trade and general media.

Almost 20 member institutions are currently participating in the program. Others wishing to participate are invited to contact Jeanne Johnson at jjohnson@aavmc.org..

NIH Grant Funds Nerve Agent Antidote Research at MSU

New research at Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) is producing nerve agent antidotes that are more effective than those currently in use. Current antidotes work by restoring function to the nervous system after the nerve agent has already poisoned it. But NIH-funded research at MSU has identified antidote compounds that can enter the brain and work to stop the seizures and brain damage that nerve agents cause. Jan Chambers, director of the MSU-CVM Center for Environmental Health Sciences, and her colleagues are currently testing six nerve agent antidotes that can be used by the military and public health agencies to protect civilians. Learn more.

Note: The above story is part of a series of stories that the AAVMC highlights in the Vet-Med Educator on a regular basis from member institutions that demonstrate the many benefits of federal investment in schools and colleges of veterinary medicine.

Academic Veterinary Medicine in the News

Arizona Regents Approve UA Vet School - Veterinary Practice News

Australian Veterinary Students Get Naked to Cover Costs - dvm360


On the Scene in 2015: University of Arizona - Veterinary Practice News


Pre-Vet, Pre-Dental Students Frustrated by Lack of U. Support - The Brown Daily Herald


Cancer Experts from Colorado Universities Partner to Bring Carbon-Ion Radiotherapy to U.S. - dvm360


Report: Ontario Vet School has Huge Economic Impact - Veterinary Practice News


Researchers Discover Potential Biomarker to Detect 'Bubble Boy' Disorder - MedicalXpress


Food Animal Production Faces Challenges with New Antibiotic Regulations - GardnerEdge.com


Vet Students Get A Boost From AABP-Zoetis Scholarship Program - Beef


Regents Approve UA Veterinary School - Arizona Daily Star


Auburn College of Veterinary Medicine Alum’s Work Featured in Dolphin Tale 2 - WTVM-TV


Zoetis Partners with Customers Providing $1.3 Million to FFA, AABP, AAEP Programs - Equisearch


Will Cancer-Sniffing Dogs Lose Their Jobs to a Machine? - PBS Newshour

The "Whitest Profession' Despite Outreach, Few Latinos go Into Veterinary Medicine- Fox News Latino


Government Review of Veterinary Accreditation Nears - VIN


Colorado State Vets Help Ailing Military Dog - Veterinary Practice News


Classes Begin at Midwestern University's New Veterinary School in Arizona - dvm360


LSU Vet School Student Works on Equine Leg Implant - Sun Herald


Graduation day and $300,000 in debt - Valdosta Daily Times


Merck Awards $5,000 Student Scholarships - Veterinary Practice News


OSU Vet College Raises Funds for Cancer Research - Veterinary Practice News


Auburn’s College of Veterinary Medicine Anatomy Laboratory Undergoes $1 Million Renovation - oanow.com


Veterinary Students Could Catch a Break on Student Loans - Independent Florida Alligator


Report Outlines Impact of Veterinary College - Better Farmer


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