Vital Signs: August 2014

Vol. 3, Issue 8

A message from Dean Cyril Clarke

India Program Provides
Wealth of Experiences

Dear friends and colleagues,

Earlier this summer, I visited the Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (TANUVAS) in Chennai, India to review our international program and gain first-hand knowledge of the clinical and other experiences available for our veterinary and graduate students. This program has been in place for several years and involves exchange of Virginia-Maryland and TANUVAS veterinary students during the summer, practicum training for our MPH students, training of TANUVAS faculty in research methodologies in Blacksburg and College Park, recent approval of a dual Ph.D. agreement, and an annual research symposium held in Chennai and co-sponsored by our colleges.

The Virginia-Maryland students participating in the program enroll in a graded, two-credit hour elective course, “International Clinical Veterinary Medicine.” During the initial three weeks, students rotate through clinical services at the TANUVAS teaching hospital in Chennai and also receive didactic instruction and visit local animal research facilities. The hospital sees approximately 75,000 animals per year (about 200 small animal cases per day), providing a wealth of hands-on, minds-on exposure to general medicine and surgery cases, including those occurring frequently in tropical/subtropical climates and in many cases exhibiting pathologies more advanced than those encountered in the U.S. Our students then visit another TANUVAS veterinary school in Namakkal for two weeks, where they gain experience working with small and large ruminants, poultry, and other animals encountered in a more rural location. The final week is spent visiting wildlife facilities, a sheep breeding research station, and touring a few historic and cultural sites.

This course provides an ideal opportunity for our students to learn more about the inextricable links between animal and public health, and gain a global perspective on animal diseases that have a significant impact on economic development and food safety. Such experience is directly relevant to our strategic vision of advancing One Health. In addition, the benefits of exposing students to learning environments that are so rich in their cultural, racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity cannot be underestimated.

I appreciate the roles played by Drs. Elankumaran Subbiah and Nammalwar Sriranganathan in the initiation and development of the program with TANUVAS, and I look forward to working with other faculty on the development of additional international programs. We already are working on projects involving South America and the Caribbean.

Dr. Cyril Clarke, Dean

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