VA-MD Vet Med Writing Style

Our college brand is all about how we present ourselves to the world, and part of that brand is our writing style. In general, all communications from the veterinary college will follow Virginia Tech’s university style guide, distributed by the Office of University Relations. However, there are a number of rules and usages that are commonly used within our college that are not directly covered by the university style guide. Additionally, there are some rules and usages that are covered by the university style guide but bear repeating here, due to the frequency of their use.

About our name

Our full name is Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, but in all but the most official uses, we are using Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. Please avoid the word “Regional” as part of the college name. In articles, use full name in first reference and “veterinary college” or “college” in subsequent references.

The informal abbreviation for the college (“VA-MD Vet Med”) is acceptable on the college website but not in press releases. Never use “VMCVM,” “VMRCVM,” “VA-MD College of Veterinary Medicine,” or “Virginia Tech College of Veterinary Medicine.” “Virginia Tech veterinary college” is acceptable in some headlines for stories distributed through Virginia Tech News.

Odds and ends

academic titles
Titles preceding a personal name are uppercased. The title is lowercased when it stands alone or follows a personal name. As an exception, “University Distinguished Professor” is uppercased in accordance with university style.
Right: Janet Testudo, associate professor of aquatic medicine, conducts the research in College Park, Maryland.
Wrong: Steve Terrapin, Professor of Internal Medicine, is leading the research team.
Alumni Society
Capitalize.
Avrum Gudelsky Veterinary Center
Refers to the college’s campus in College Park, Maryland.
Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences
Capitalize in reference to the graduate program.
board-certified
A hyphen is only needed when used as a modifier.
Example: Jane Terrapin, who joined the college faculty last May, is board certified in radiology.
Example: A board-certified anesthesiologist, Joe Hokie is an alumnus of the Class of 1990.
buildings
Use full name on first reference for the Veterinary Medicine Instruction Addition and the Infectious Disease Research Facility. On subsequent uses, abbreviate the names as “VMIA” and “IDRF,” respectively. Do not refer to building phases in communication with external audiences.
comparative medicine
Refers to the study of human and animal medicine, especially diseases affecting different species. See also translational medicine, which is a distinct discipline.
Diplomate
Used to refer to a doctor certified as a specialist by a board of examiners. Capitalize on all references.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Capitalize in reference to the program; lowercase in reference to the degree. Although “DVM” is acceptable on subsequent references, it should only follow a name on business cards, email signatures, and letters.
Right: Joe Hokie earned a doctor of veterinary medicine degree from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine.
Right: Students in the college’s Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program gain a world-class education.
Wrong: Jane Williams, DVM, also spoke at the conference.
Duck Pond
Do not use “Duckpond.”
Dr.
In keeping with university style, the veterinary college is no longer using “Dr.” in first reference to veterinarians, medical doctors, or other advanced degree holders. “Dr.” is also not used in front of last names on subsequent references.
Food Animal Field Services
Use the plural on all references.
Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center
Use full name on first reference. “Equine Medical Center” and “center” are acceptable on subsequent references.
Master of Public Health
Capitalize the full name in reference to the program; use lowercase in reference to the degree. Although “MPH” is acceptable in subsequent references, it should only follow a name on business cards, email signatures, and letters.
One Health
Refers to the collaborative movement of multiple disciplines to improve health for people, animals, and the environment. Capitalize, but do not use quotation marks.
preventive medicine
Do not use “preventative.”
student names
In articles and press releases, use name, hometown, and year for veterinary students and name, hometown, and program/department for other graduate students. When identifying a student, lowercase the program name. Refer to veterinary students as first-, second-, third-, or fourth-year students, not freshman, sophomores, juniors, and seniors.
Example: Joe Hokie of Blacksburg, Virginia, a second-year veterinary student
Example: Jane Hokie of College Park, Maryland, a Ph.D. candidate in biomedical and veterinary sciences
translational medicine
Refers to efforts to turn life sciences discoveries in the laboratory into clinical solutions for animal or human patients. See also comparative medicine, which is a distinct discipline.
vet
Only use when it clearly refers to a veterinarian, not a veteran. Due to the potential for confusion, its use should generally be avoided.
Veterinary Teaching Hospital
Use “teaching hospital” or “hospital” on subsequent references. Do not use the abbreviation “VTH” for external audiences. Please refer to small animal services and large animal services to describe the Small Animal Hospital and Harry T. Peters Large Animal Hospital, respectively.
Example: The Veterinary Teaching Hospital’s small animal services recently earned accreditation through the American Animal Hospital Association.
Vital Signs newsletter
Use italics in the title of the newsletter. When citing articles within the newsletter, use quotes.
Example: Jill Hokie has many amazing accomplishments, according to the article “Alumna breaking new ground” in the latest Vital Signs.
white coat ceremony
Refers to the college’s annual matriculation ceremony at the beginning of the school year. Do not capitalize or use quotation marks.
X.J. Meng
Do not spell out “Xiang-Jin”