September 2015

Public Policy Fellow Plans to Inspire Students to Get Involved

AAVMC Public Policy Fellow Dr. Suzie Kovacs with Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-LA), a member of the Veterinary Medicine Caucus. Abraham is a veterinarian and physician.

The AAVMC’s Public Policy Fellows program, which recently wrapped up its first year in Washington, D.C., is now accepting applications for 2016. The program is designed to help AAVMC-member institutions’ faculty representatives develop leadership skills in the advocacy arena, explore the importance of public policy decisions to the profession, and gain overall knowledge of the legislative and regulatory process at the federal level.

But for Dr. Suzie J. Kovacs, the second veterinary medical faculty member to participate in the program, the experience offered something more—an opportunity to share what she learned with students so that they understand the importance of public policy involvement. She’s even in the early stages of developing a curriculum designed to enhance understanding of the public policy process and professional opportunities at the federal level.

Dr. Kovacs, from the Western University of Health Sciences College of Veterinary Medicine, believes that students need to learn how to communicate with the public and political representatives, as well as clients, and that being able to participate in the public policy fellows program can empower participants to learn to “bridge the gap” between science and public policy, where those who are involved often speak the equivalent of different languages.

During her fellowship, which ran from June 1-July 17, she met with congressional representatives, members of AVMA governmental relations, lobbyists, and veterinarians who work for the federal government, including the FDA, NIH and USDA.

“Not only did I learn more about the legislative process at the federal level, I also gained a greater understanding of the critical role of the public sector veterinarian,” Kovacs said. “Until I had the chance to interview them, I didn’t understand the level of impact and influence veterinarians have at the federal level. I am excited to be able to share these insights with our students.”

AAVMC Forming Task Force on Assessment of Clinical Competencies

The AAVMC’s Workshop on Assessment of Clinical Competencies, held in July at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, looked at the evaluation of professional competencies across professions. The second of its kind, the workshop provided an opportunity for associate deans and others at colleges and schools of veterinary medicine to share current practices, challenges, and successes in the assessment of clinical competency and discuss potential areas for collaboration.

The workshop’s keynote speaker, Dr. Jody Frost from the American Physical Therapy Association, spoke on “Lessons Learned in Developing the Clinical Performance Instrument in Physical Therapy/Physiotherapy.”

“We were exceptionally fortunate to have Dr. Frost share the collective experiences of the American Physical Therapy Association in assessing clinical competencies,” said planning committee co-chair Laura Molgaard, associate dean for academic affairs at the University of Minnesota. “In the spirit of One Health, Dr. Frost shared ‘best practice’ among all our health professions’ colleagues. She shared the fundamental principles involved in designing performance assessment and helped the participants envision next steps to develop a shared framework for competency assessment."

As an action item from the workshop, the AAVMC will form a task force to articulate updated competencies that align with the direction of other health professions, with the eventual goal of developing a tool that can be shared across schools and professions. Composed of 10 people, the task force will have national and educational-model cross-representation.

More Insight about VMCAS Applicants Applying to International Programs

This spring the AAVMC reported findings from a study of VMCAS applicants who applied to international schools of veterinary medicine. At the time, applicants reported being most often influenced by a desire to study abroad. Students also considered perceptions concerning the admissions process, institutional reputation, and costs. In late spring, the AAVMC surveyed this population a second time to explore where students were admitted, where they intended to enroll this fall, and the reasons underpinning their decision-making.

In May, after the April 15th deadline, the AAVMC distributed a second survey to approximately 1,200 applicants who each applied to at least one international institution; 292 applicants responded. Most applicants (97%) to international institutions also applied to a school in the U.S. These applicants were more likely to be admitted to international programs; 82% were offered admission to an international school. Roughly half of respondents (51.7%) were also offered admission at a school in the US.

While the desire to study abroad continued to be a strong driver in applying internationally (61.5%), applicants reported the accreditation of schools outside of the US as the primary reason for applying abroad (88.4%), followed by the schools’ program offerings (e.g. length of program, program emphasis) (69.6%), the reputation of the international schools (68.9%) and the availability of more seats in the first year class (60.4%). Canadian applicants also expressed frustration about being limited to applying to the school in their province.

Applicants offered admission to both U.S. and international schools were more likely to attend veterinary school in the U.S. and often cited cost and ability to establish residency while matriculating as the rationale for their decision. The cost of a veterinary degree appeared to increase in influence as applicants completed the admissions process, considered financial aid packages and the cost of living abroad.

Just under 20% of applicants holding dual offers of admission chose to attend an international college. A small number of applicants expressed frustration about costs of attending veterinary school in the U.S. and abroad, but concluded that the expense was worth pursuing the dream of being a veterinarian.

Only 6% of applicants applying to veterinary school outside of the U.S. were not admitted to any institutions for the class of 2019.

AAVMC Co-Sponsors’ 2015 Merial-NIH Veterinary Scholar Program

(From left) AAVMC Associate Executive Director for Academic and Research Affairs Dr. Ted Mashima, Nobel Laureate Dr. Peter Doherty and AAVMC Executive Director Dr. Andrew Maccabe at the Merial-NIH Veterinary Scholar Symposium.

Almost 600 veterinary students, faculty and professional staff gathered for the 2015 Merial-NIH National Veterinary Scholar Symposium held recently at the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. A presentation by Nobel Laureate and noted immunologist Dr. Peter Doherty was a highlight of the event.

The AAVMC co-sponsors the symposium, which exposes veterinary students in their first or second year of veterinary school to biomedical research and career opportunities in research. At the symposium, veterinary students from all over the world meet to present their research findings and share research experiences.

Doherty, who shared the 1996 Nobel Medicine Prize for his research on the cellular immmune defense, spoke on the immune system’s “Killer Defense” during the keynote presentation. Dr. Doherty, who is based at the University of Melbourne’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology and runs the Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, is involved with a broad range of research activities, including childhood vaccinations, global hunger and anthropogenic climate change.

Professor Doherty was Australian of the Year in 1997 and has attracted many prestigious international awards, including the Paul Ehrlich Prize (1983), the Gairdner International Award for Medical Science (1986), and the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award (1995). Since 1985 has been a member of the Department of Immunology at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.

Other featured speakers included Dr. Ajit Varki, Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Cellular and Molecular Medicine, and Co-director of the Glycobiology Research and Training Center (GRTC) at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), who spoke on the disease differences between humans and other hominids; and Dr. Richard Woychik, Deputy Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), who spoke on strategic priorities for environmental health science research.

The symposium features presentations and networking opportunities with invited veterinary scientists, researchers and faculty members. About 430 veterinary students presented research posters at the symposium, which was also attended by over 150 veterinary medical faculty and staff.

Merial, a Sanofi company, and the National Institutes of Health, are primary sponsors of the 2015 Merial-NIH National Veterinary Scholar Symposium.
One Health Case Studies Project Announced

Progress continues on the development of the One Health Interprofessional Education Initiative and the selection of the inaugural cohort of “One Health Scholars.” Initial proposals have been reviewed and ten case study proposals have now been accepted for further development.

Announced in spring 2015, the One Health Interprofessional Education Initiative is operated by the AAVMC in collaboration with the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research (APTR) and the Healthy People Curriculum Task Force (HPCTF). The goal of the program is to develop a series of instructional case studies that will integrate One Health concepts into the academic programs of students in various health professions.

One Health is broadly viewed as the collaborative effort of multiple disciplines – working locally, nationally, and globally – to attain optimal health for people, animals and our environment. The One Health initiative focuses attention on the importance of the connections between human health, animal health, and ecosystem health.

Initial proposals have been submitted to the AAVMC/APTR Working Group, which has winnowed them down to a final group of ten proposals ranging from more broadly focused programs in public health to detailed elucidations of specific zoonotic infectious diseases.

Authors of the ten selected case study proposals will now be asked to develop them into complete cases studies by October 30, 2015. After peer review, case studies will be published on the AAVMC and APTR websites and widely disseminated to health professions educators.

The lead author of each published case study will be designated a "One Health Scholar" by the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges and will receive a stipend of $1,000.

The lead author of up to five exemplary case studies will be invited to present their case study at the AAVMC Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. from March 4 - 6, 2016. The AAVMC will waive conference registration fees and provide up to $700 to cover travel expenses.

Learn more about the initiative.

AVMA Brand Roll-out Capstones Major Organizational Development Program

The AAVMC and the AVMA partner on some of the most important initiatives and programs in veterinary medicine. They collectively support the Council on Education to maintain high standards of education and ensure professional excellence. They collaborate on numerous economic, institutional research, and professional development programs that help advance the profession.

“Given the importance of our relationship and common interests, we’re excited to see the changes AVMA has recently announced,” said AAVMC Executive Director Dr. Andrew T. Maccabe. “The recent roll-out of their new logo and tagline is the capstone of a major organizational redevelopment designed to provide leadership and service for the profession and its members.”

The new branding and organizational identity was preceded by an administrative restructuring designed to enrich the culture, strategically align the organization with its stakeholders and operating environment, and promote new levels of performance and leadership at all levels of the organization. Key to the effort was creating mechanisms to foster engagement and two-way communication among the association and its members.

“As we enter this new era for the organization, members will start to feel the positive changes as they interact with the AVMA,” said Dr. Ron DeHaven, the AVMA’s chief executive officer. “To increase our engagement with members, we will rely on their thoughts, ideas and passion to help us shape the AVMA as we progress into our next 150 years.”

Much of the change is captured in the AVMA’s new brand promise: “The AVMA is the leading organization that protects, promotes and advocates for the entire veterinary profession through the strength and diverse perspectives of our members.”

As part of the organizational development process, the AVMA conducted extensive research among a network of members, volunteers, partners, and staff. Insights gleaned from the research showed stakeholders wanted to know about the AVMA’s advocacy work and current issues in the profession, embrace a broader view of the profession than just companion animal care, and process more concise and targeted communications.

The logo was formally introduced during the AVMA’s 2015 annual meeting in Boston. For more information about the process and updates, visit
Long-time Dean Recognized With Prestigious Service Award

Long-time Dean Dr. Ralph Richardson received the Iron Paw Award.
Kansas State University’s Dr. Ralph Richardson, who recently stepped down as dean of the KSU College of Veterinary Medicine after serving for 17 years, was honored with the prestigious “Iron Paw Award” at the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor’s recent 10th Annual Homecoming Celebration in Kansas City.

Richardson was honored for almost 50 years of service in veterinary medicine before about 1,000 leaders gathered from all sectors of the profession and the industry that serves it.

Richardson was a founding board member of the Animal Health Corridor development organization, which spans a region from Columbia, Missouri to Manhattan, Kansas and serves as home to more than 300 companies in the animal health industry. AHC officials estimate that AHC located companies account for about 56% of global animal health, diagnostics and pet food sales.

Following what he whimsically terms a “failure at retirement," Dr. Richardson was named interim dean and CEO of Kansas State University’s Olathe campus. He is also chair of the AAVMC’s 50th Anniversary Celebration Committee.

Dr. Richardson graduated from Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1970. He served as a captain in the United States Army Veterinary Corps from 1970 to 1972. He conducted an internship at Purdue University in Small Animal Medicine and Surgery in 1973 and a residency at the University of Missouri-Columbia in Small Animal Internal Medicine in 1975. In 1978 Dr. Richardson completed a training program in Clinical Oncology at the University of Kansas Medical Center-Kansas City.

He is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (specialty of internal medicine) and a Charter Diplomate in the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine’s (specialty of oncology).

Dr. Richardson came to KSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 1998, following one year of private practice in Miami, Fla. and 22 years at Purdue University, where he was a professor and head of the Clinical Sciences Department.

Dr. Richardson is Past-President of the Veterinary Cancer Society, the Specialty of Oncology in the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, and the American Association of Veterinary Clinicians. He is a member of numerous professional veterinary medical associations and organizations.

Crawford to Lead Implementation of AMR Task Force Recommendations

Dr. Chase Crawford
Dr. Chase A. Crawford will lead implementation of a series of remedial and control strategies and programs expected to emerge soon from the AAVMC/Association of Public and Land-grant Universities Task Force on Anti-Microbial Resistance. Crawford joined the AAVMC staff September 1 in a position jointly funded by the AAVMC and the APLU.

Crawford brings national and international experience in agricultural and global health policy to the task, as well as expertise in public policy development related antimicrobial resistance, food safety and emerging infectious diseases.

Prior to his appointment, he conducted an AAAS Congressional Science and Technology Fellowship in the office of U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-MN). During that position, he was instrumental in supporting Franken’s initiatives in One Health, agriculture, energy and the environment.

Before the AAAS Fellowship, Crawford served as a Human-Animal Interface Intern with the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, where he worked closely with WHO efforts to monitor and contain threats presented by avian influenza and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome corona virus).

Preceding that, Crawford conducted a Disease Intelligence Internship with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome, Italy, where he also focused on global zoonotic disease threats.

Crawford earned his DVM degree from the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, where he was awarded the Fred P. Jaggi Award for Outstanding proficiency in Veterinary Public Health. He also earned M.S. and B.S. degrees from Texas A&M.

Meet the AAVMC: Data Analyst Tim Shanahan

Data Analyst Tim Shanahan
Data Analyst Tim Shanahan is among the newest of AAVMC employees, having joined the staff just a few months ago. Tim earned a B.A. from Lehigh University and a M.S. in Higher Education from the University of Pennsylvania (coincidentally, he lived behind their School of Veterinary Medicine).

Tim’s professional interests include higher education, statistics, sociology, college admissions, and organizational development. His primarily responsibilities with the AAVMC include supporting the AAVMC’s institutional research program and annual Comparative Data Report, as well as new research projects that contribute to the diversification of the profession.

Tim’s previous experience with the National Association for College Admission Counseling will be useful as the AAVMC broadens its research focus and continues to refine its empirically informed admission and recruitment practices. During an earlier position with Taurus Education, he worked with Chinese students seeking admission to highly selective U.S. colleges and universities.

“My hope has always been to employ the social sciences to improve the effectiveness of our universities and help them enroll students that are more broadly representative of both the United States and the world,” says Tim. “I’m very excited about the challenges and opportunities I will encounter in my position with the AAVMC.”

Tim has already published several peer-reviewed papers, and is experienced with data visualization techniques, an emerging area of interest for the AAVMC.

“We’re very excited to welcome Tim as a part of the AAVMC data team,” says AAVMC Associate Executive Director for Institutional Research and Diversity Lisa Greenhill. “His experience and interests will surely expand our internal capacity and ability to work with veterinary faculty with similar interests.”

Several new projects are already in preliminary planning stages now that Tim’s on board, according to Greenhill. The AAVMC plans to examine some of the factors given the strongest consideration during veterinary admission decisions, how applicants can best prioritize their time as undergraduates, what student characteristics may predict the pursuit of careers in academia as well as what factors contribute to gender-based occupational decisions and selection into practice area pathways.

Tim’s an avid cyclist and has represented Division I and Division II schools in the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference.

Cornell Featured on Nat Geo Wild’s “Vet School”: Premieres Saturday, Sept. 19

The triumphs, trials, and tribulations of the life of a modern veterinary student will be showcased during Nat Geo Wild’s Vet School, a new television series that follows first- and fourth-year students over the course of an academic year at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. The show premieres Saturday, Sept. 19, at 10 EST/9C on Nat Geo WILD.

The series chronicles the experiences of seven students as they work through their sequence of classroom, laboratory and clinical training programs. Students Hannah Brodlie, Cristina Bustamante and Dan Cimino are first-year students just beginning their educational journey. Fourth-year students Sam Dicker, Singen Elliott, Aziza Glass, and Aria Hill are about to begin their professional careers.

“We viewed this show as a fantastic opportunity to raise the profile of the veterinary profession and to help the public understand the rigorous education leading to a veterinary degree,” explains Interim Dean Lorin Warnick. “We were honored to be asked to participate in the production and happy to showcase the experience of our students as they work to become veterinarians.”

Vet School Episodes

Crash Course (Sept. 19)

For first-year student Dan Cimino, an evening in the ER begins slowly but before long there are two serious emergencies. Fourth-year student Aria Hill performs some hands-on work during dental surgery for a cat. Fourth-year student Singen Elliott, who is interested in large animal practice, is reminded by an orthopedic surgeon to treat a kitten with gentler hands.

Day One (Sept. 26)

The first-year students begin their veterinary school career by … dancing? Singen loves large animal practice, but veterinary students must learn to treat all animals. Will Sophia the cat be his undoing? Millie, a 3-year-old bulldog with congestive heart failure, has come to Cornell in a last-ditch effort to save her life. Fourth-year student Aziza Glass, in her first cardiology rotation, is part of the team that hopes to save Millie.

In Need of a Miracle (Oct. 3)

Canine patient Lewis has a suspected breathing issue, but the docs can’t recreate his problem; so Singen is assigned to run Lewis around the hospital hallways in hopes of getting him to cough. Aziza’s rotation in large-animal medicine has been fairly quiet except for Leslie, a vociferous miniature donkey with a mind of her own.

Lethal Ingestion (Oct. 10)

Singen performs surgery on a West Highland white terrier to prevent her from going blind. Aria is in the ER when an Alaskan malamute with suspected antifreeze poisoning is brought in. Aziza assists with an unusual cardiology patient, and the first-year students learn where their ice cream comes from.

The Big Rotation (Oct. 17)

Aria begins her large-animal rotation with a blind cow -- so much for getting something easy to handle! Sam Dicker is in oncology with a puppy named Chance who might have cancer. The first-years learn how to make the perfect knot and how to draw blood from a less-than-cooperative sheep.

Midterm Madness (Oct. 24)

The fourth-year students continue their rotations with Singen treating a dog that can’t see, Sam Dicker working in anesthesiology and a terrified Aria working with horses for the first time. Meanwhile, the first-years learn how to handle a horse for a basic mouth exam.

Academic Veterinary Medicine in the News

How to Get Into Veterinary School
US News University Directory

Dogs with Cleft Palates get Help from Human Surgery

Health Medicine Network

Alabama Family Opens up About Terminally Ill Son

News8, WTNH

University of Guelph Professor Receives Terry Fox Grant

Veterinary Practice News

Veterinary Career Myths

Controversial UW-Madison Flu Research Yields New Vaccine Model
Wisconsin State Journal

Research Could Support Giving Dogs to Veterans with PTSD

Do You Love Your Dog More Than Humans?

Huffington Post

Urbanization Contributes to Spread of Zoonotic Diseases
Farm Week Now

Vets Use 3D Printing to Plan Surgeries
MRCVS Online

Discovery Could Influence Future Research on Respiratory Failure Associated with Diabetes

Medical News

Interview with Iron Paw Award Honoree Ralph C. Richardson

Good News for Pet

Lincoln Memorial Welcomes Second Vet Class
Veterinary Practice News

Scientists Successfully Edit Genes of Dengue Fever Mosquitoes
Research and Development

New Avian Health Complex Opens August 13 at Texas A&M
Veterinary Practice News

University of Saskatchewan to Open Center Focusing on Cattle Production
Veterinary Practice News

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