Vital Signs: June 2014

Vol. 3, Issue 6

Dean Cyril Clarke

Our Unique Qualities

Dear friends and colleagues,

Last month, the college celebrated the graduation of 95 newly minted Doctors of Veterinary Medicine, 27 Master of Public Health graduates, and five Master of Science graduates. The DVM graduation ceremony was attended by distinguished colleagues representing the veterinary and academic communities in both Virginia and Maryland. Veterinary graduates were presented with diplomas bearing the seals of the college, Virginia Tech, and the University of Maryland, as well as the signatures of the respective university presidents. These diplomas serve as a formal demonstration of the partnership that undergirds our college, a partnership involving two states and their top-notch land-grant institutions.

Our partnership involving two states is unique among veterinary colleges in the U.S. Similarly rare is the existence of a MPH program in a college of veterinary medicine. These differentiating characteristics advance the college’s strategic efforts to serve the animal and public health needs across a wide geographic region, and position us exceptionally well to be leaders in the One Health initiative.

Veterinary graduates in the Class of 2014 successfully completed an educational program that involved comprehensive training across all major domestic species and scientific disciplines, while also providing opportunity for advanced learning in a specific interest track. This balance in prescriptive and elective learning ensures that our graduates are experts in comparative biology and also competent in the professional, diagnostic, and clinical skills that they are most likely to need when they enter their chosen areas of practice.

Not only are they trained to diagnose and treat diseases in multiple animal species, but they are also uniquely qualified to understand and address the risk of disease transmission between animals and humans, and they will serve as critical public health resources in their communities. Their clinical clerkships in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital and the Equine Medical Center provided hands-on experience that allowed them to apply their theoretical knowledge within a practical, clinical context. Similarly, our MPH and M.S. graduates were provided career-relevant, hands-on and minds-on experiences as they honed their skills in clinical medicine and surgery, biomedical sciences, and public health.

The emphases that the college places on experiential learning, comparative biology, and One Health, and the opportunity provided for students to select individual areas of study relevant to their career interests are important characteristics of an innovative and forward-looking educational program. I am confident that this educational philosophy will serve our graduates well as they commit themselves to service of their professions and the public.

Dr. Cyril Clarke, Dean

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