Dear Friends and Colleagues,
Several months have passed since our last Vital Signs issue while we conducted a nationwide public relations and communications program director search. I am pleased to announce the appointment of Eric McKeeby as the new Director of Communications and Public Relations for the VMRCVM, effective June 1. Eric comes to the college from his former position as the American Veterinary Medical Association Government Relations Communications Manager. I look forward to welcoming Eric to the college and acquainting him with the people, programs, campuses and constituents of our community.
We have been busy these last several months with strengthening partnerships and building new opportunities. I recently traveled with a small delegation from the college to Antigua for the University of Antigua College of Veterinary Medicine inauguration, which included the introduction of its first class of students and a white coat ceremony. We look forward to accepting qualified transfer students from this new college into the fourth semester of our professional program. I also traveled with a Virginia Tech delegation to Chile to continue the expansion and cooperation between Virginia Tech and the University Austral. We officially established the VT-Austral “Center for the Sciences and Global Sustainability.” Through our Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine, new mentoring, education, and networking opportunities have been established for our students and alumni through partnerships with the U.S. Animal Health Association (USAHA) and the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD).
The close of the academic year marks an exciting time of change for our college – a time of endings and beginnings. We celebrated our college commencement ceremony in Blacksburg for the Class of 2010 on May 15 and watched 87 new Doctors of Veterinary Medicine and 16 Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences graduates join the professional workforce. The Class of 2011 started clinical rotations on May 10 and the VMRCVM Class of 2014 is now seated. In addition to all that we have been involved with in Blacksburg, I was honored to join University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources colleagues on May 21 to participate in the College Park spring commencement ceremony. I extend my sincere appreciation to the many members of our college family who continue to make the VMRCVM shine all year long – faculty, staff, alumni, practitioners, and other friends of the college who continue to dedicate themselves to recruiting, educating, and training our students in classrooms, hospitals, laboratories, and externship settings. We have much to celebrate!
Our achievements provide a reason for celebration, but also a foundation for building a bright future for our college and profession. Progress continues on our several capital improvement projects which will ensure the growth and enhancement of our instructional, clinical and service programs. This summer we will break ground on our new Infectious Disease Research Building and the first architectural planning phase of our Instructional Facility has been completed.
With best wishes for a happy and healthy summer,
Gerhardt G. Schurig, DVM, Ph.D.
VMRCVM’s 2010 Commencement held on May 15
Joyce O. Morgan to retire
Dr. Stephen Sundlof joins the Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Tracy McCracken ('05) focusing on wildlife issues in disease surveillance, control and response
VMRCVM facility expansion and renovation update
Awards & Accolades...
Aaron Lucas named Outstanding Graduating Senior
Dr. Sarah Davies and Dr. Naveen Surendran named Outstanding Graduate Students
Joyce O. Morgan inducted into VMRCVM’s prestigious Dalton Society
Dr. Lauren L. Howard named Outstanding Recent Alumna
Dr. David Panciera named Anne Hunter Professor of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Gregory Troy reappointed as the Dr. and Mrs. Dorsey Taylor Mahin Professor
Dr. Michael Leib reappointed as the C. R. Roberts Professor of Clinical Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Martin Furr reappointed as the Adelaide C. Riggs Chair in Equine Medicine
Dr. Marion Ehrich receives Society of Toxicology distinguished merit award
Dr. Valerie Ragan named to Scientific Committee for the Consortium for the Advancement
of Brucellosis Science
Virginia Delegate James M. Shuler receives 2010 Alumni Distinguished Service Award
Dr. Judi Lynch named to First Lady of Virginia’s Advisory Council
Lynn Young receives Virginia Tech's 2010 President's Award for Excellence
Dr. Jean Richards ('06) selected for 2010-2011 AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowship
Seven VMRCVM students join inaugural class of Pfizer Veterinary Student Scholars
Claire Simeone receives first place award in ABVP Annual Student Case Report Contest
Patrick Wolak nominated for Virginia Tech’s 2010 President’s Award for Excellence
News In Brief...
Virginia Tech offers new Master of Public Health (MPH) degree program
VMRCVM hosts town hall meeting and practitioner roundtable at VVMA Winter Meeting
Dr. Michael Watts elected president of VMRCVM Alumni Society
CPCVM forms new partnerships with USAHA and AAVLD
Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine moves to an “implementation” mode
Third Annual Bob Duncan Memorial 5K a success
VMRCVM teams contribute to success of Virginia Tech’s "Relay for Life"
VMRCVM introduces new interview format for 2009-10 admissions cycle
VMRCVM and VCOM sign MOU to promote human and animal health
Alumni gather at DC Academy luncheon
Veterinary college announces farrier, equine podiatry services
Laparoscopic ovariectomies performed at EMC offer medical solutions for some mares
Pioneering surgical procedure performed at EMC resolves one horse's lameness
Dr. Jennifer Barrett addresses first North American Veterinary Regenerative Medicine Conference
New treatment available at the EMC for Equine Recurrent Uveitis
VMRCVM hosts Second Annual Clinical Pathology Workshop for Pathology Residents
Virginia Tech hosts Certificate Program in Veterinary Practice Business Management
Human and animal sheltering exercise to be held at Virginia Tech
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The VMRCVM graduated 87 new veterinarians during its 27th commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 15 in Virginia Tech’s Squires Student Center. In addition to the DVM degrees, the college awarded two doctor of philosophy degrees, 14 master of science degrees and seven certificates of residency.
Featuring dignitaries from both Virginia Tech and the University of Maryland, the ceremony included the presentation of diplomas jointly awarded by Virginia Tech and the University of Maryland at College Park, the administration of the "Veterinarian's Oath," the "Hooding Ceremony," and numerous awards and honors.
In keeping with tradition, the graduating class invited a favorite faculty member to address them during the ceremony. Dr. Gregory C. Troy, professor, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, was selected.
Dr. James B. Reed (’87), president of the Maryland Veterinary Medical Association, administered the "Veterinarian's Oath" and Dr. William D. Tyrrell, Jr. (’90), president of the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association, welcomed the new graduates into the profession on behalf of the organized veterinary medical community.
Dr. Aaron Lucas, the valedictorian of the class of 2010, was awarded the Richard B. Talbot Award, and Dr. Lauren L. Howard, was honored as the Outstanding Recent Alumna.
On Friday, May 14, the college held its annual Graduation Awards Luncheon. Scores of students and faculty members were honored for their academic performance and teaching excellence during the ceremony.
Joyce O. Morgan, executive assistant to the dean of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, will retire from the VMRCVM as of June 30, 2010, following 36 years of distinguished service. Morgan became the college’s first employee when Founding Dean Richard B. Talbot hired her on December 16, 1974.
Morgan has served as an executive assistant to the dean for all three of the deans who have led the college. Her 36-year tenure of service has been characterized by high standards of professionalism, extraordinary dedication to duty and an abiding concern for people in the workplace.
"Joyce has played an enormous role in the history and development of the college," said VMRCVM Dean Gerhardt Schurig. "We deeply appreciate all of the contributions she has made throughout her many years of dedicated and distinguished service. She has been an exemplary employee and a friend to many. We will all miss her deeply, and we wish her happiness in her retirement."
When Morgan was hired, the VMRCVM did not exist. Following four years of planning and development work, the Virginia General Assembly passed enabling legislation and college and university officials began work on what would ultimately become a 15-year campus construction program.
Morgan recalls the tribulations of the founding years, when the first classes were held in the University City Office Building and money was so tight that pencils were rationed. Today, the college is a nationally recognized two-state three-campus professional school that has graduated almost 2300 alumni.
"I have an enormous sense of pride and accomplishment," she said. "I have had the privilege of working with three deans, and each have been perfect for that particular time in the history of the college."
For 36 years, Morgan has operated at the heart of the college. From coordinating the busy schedule of the chief executive to processing and organizing sensitive documents and records, she has performed her duties with a flair for professionalism and efficiency and a thoughtful and considerate outlook on the workplace and its people.
As a result of the role she played in the dean’s office and her personal qualities, Morgan helped foster important relationships for the college with leaders throughout higher education, government, business, and the veterinary profession, according to Schurig.
Morgan was honored with Virginia Tech’s prestigious President’s Award for Excellence in 1998 and was presented an Exceptional Performance Award by the VMRCVM in 2001. She was also awarded the International Award of Distinction presented by Beta Sigma Phi International Sorority in 1993.
Morgan plans to enjoy spending time with her family and friends, traveling, gardening, and boating on Smith Mountain Lake during her retirement.
The Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine (CPCVM), part of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, is pleased to announce that Stephen F. Sundlof, D.V.M, Ph. D. has accepted a two-year assignment with the Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine (CPCVM), on the College Park campus of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (VMRCVM) at the University of Maryland.
The CPCVM has a long history of training veterinary students from North American veterinary colleges for careers in public practice, and is administered through a partnership of Virginia Tech and the University of Maryland. The center is ideally located in College Park at the University of Maryland in close proximity to Washington DC.
The CPCVM is working to enhance and expand its programs to better meet the anticipated future needs for veterinarians in public practice, including expanding its training related to food safety and security. Sundlof has served for the past two years as director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and for the 14 previous years as director of the Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM). He began his career in 1980 on the faculty of the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
Under an agreement between the FDA and the CPCVM, Sundlof will work with the CPCVM on enhancement and expansion of the public and corporate veterinary medicine curriculum for veterinary students with a focus on food safety and security. He will also assist the CPCVM in developing career transition training for veterinarians interested in public service and will be working on starting a new training and development program in regulatory science designed especially for government employees, which is being planned in conjunction with the University of Minnesota and the Ohio State University. The collaborative effort of the three universities should provide an excellent opportunity to leverage resources and provide a continuum of training in public practice from the veterinary school level through the mid-career level.
"We are thrilled that Dr. Sundlof has agreed to work with us as we expand the activities of the center,” said Dr. Valerie Ragan, director of the CPCVM. "He is a nationally recognized leader in food safety and we greatly appreciate the FDA’s support of our efforts by agreeing to this assignment."
Sundlof has published numerous articles in scientific journals on drug residues and food safety. From 1994 to 2008, he served as chairman of the World Health Organization/Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Codex Alimentarius Committee on Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Foods. He is past president of the American Academy of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics.
As a student who selected the public and corporate track, Dr. Tracy McCracken ('05) had a strong desire to establish a career in international veterinary medicine. She has found her stride in her current role with the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome, Italy as its Deputy Wildlife Coordinator on emerging infectious diseases.
McCracken's current work focuses on diseases at the livestock/wildlife interface that threaten both human health and livelihoods in developing nations. As the human populations of many nations increase, more and more people and their domestic animals are moving into wildlife inhabited areas. These interactions between wild animals, domestic stock and people are growing in frequency and provide for the opportunity for disease agents to move between these different populations.
McCracken's focus includes working with governments to increase understanding of the importance of integrating wildlife issues in national disease surveillance, control and response plans, capacity building and training of wildlife specialists in disease surveillance, and conducting and supporting wildlife research with veterinarians on important emerging diseases such as highly pathogenic avian influenza, Ebola, and Rift Valley Fever. Her work has taken her to many countries through Asia and Africa, from Western Mongolia to the jungles of the Congo. With the current international movement toward the 'One Health' approach to diseases, the FAO Wildlife Unit plans to continue expanding its work to support the understanding of the role of wildlife in the emergence of diseases globally.
"I am really happy here. This is my dream job - the perfect mix of programmatic and field work," said McCracken. "About half of my time is spent traveling all over both Asia and Africa. I still can’t believe I got here so soon after graduation."
In an effort to make sure other students have a similar opportunity to live their dreams, McCracken has worked with Dr. Bettye Walters, director for international activities for the VMRCVM, to arrange for two current VMRCVM students to travel to Rome to complete senior year clerkships with the FAO during the upcoming academic year. "At a recent FAO staff meeting, I was pointed out as an example of a former student volunteer who contributed greatly while I was here and I have now returned as staff," said McCracken.
Visitors to the VMRCVM's main complex on the Virginia Tech campus may have noticed the uptick in construction and maintenance projects around the facility this year. In addition to the new HVAC chillers installed on the roof, some entire sections of the roof have been replaced. These projects are paid for by the state through the Reserve Maintenance allocation to the university, which is not exempt from the budget reductions. However, like all major facilities projects, these projects are planned far in advance of actual implementation. These projects were budgeted prior to the most recent budget reductions, enabling their completion at this time. This summer the activity will continue, as there will be considerable construction work in and around the college's main Blacksburg facility.
Infectious Disease Research Facility (IDRF)
The IDRF has been in the planning and design stage for several years and in early June, 2010, a fence will be installed to enclose the construction site. When facing the main entrance to the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, the IDRF will be located to the right and in front of the equine receiving area. The bid request for construction is on the street with a May 21 deadline and a construction management firm has been hired. Under a “best case” scenario, the bid will be finalized by the end of May and ground will be broken by June 15. The IDRF construction phase will last approximately 15 to 18 months, with occupancy planned for late Fall 2011. Some client and disabled parking spaces will be displaced and moved to the main faculty/staff parking lot during this period. Approximately 50 parking spaces in the "Cage" commuter lot will be marked for faculty/staff use to provide needed parking for college employees during this period. Equine receiving will be affected, with almost two-thirds of the area blocked during the construction period. Please contact Senior Associate Dean Roger Avery at firstname.lastname@example.org if there are any operational concerns.
Veterinary Teaching Hospital (VTH) Community Practice (CP) Renovation/Expansion
Funds for the CP renovation project are sourced approximately 50 percent from stimulus funding designated for instructional projects and 50 percent from the college. An area formerly occupied by Information Technology (IT) support services along the hallway between the VTH entry foyer and the college commons area will be affected. In addition, a portion of the college stores area immediately behind the back wall of the IT space will be remodeled to complete the CP addition. The project is scheduled to begin on May 17 and should be completed prior to the beginning of the Fall 2010 semester. The renovated space will provide additional examination and treatment areas for the CP service.
First-year Classroom 125 Renovation
The renovation of classroom 125 is scheduled to begin in early summer and should be completed prior to the beginning of the Fall 2010 semester. All seating in the classroom will be removed and replaced with more comfortable theater-type seating – a newer seating style that has been successfully used in the Pamplin College of Business. The new seats will have outlets for PCs and flip-up desk surfaces. Seating capacity in classroom 125 will increase to 137. Funding for this project is 80 percent from the instructional stimulus funds and 20 percent from the college. Plans are underway for similar projects in classrooms 100 and 102 in the summer of 2011.
New Veterinary Medicine Instructional Addition (VMIA)
The VMIA project is in the pre-planning phase, with no direct construction activity planned for this summer. An architectural firm named H&K is designing the plan for a 22,000 square foot instructional building that will join Phase II of the building perpendicularly at the main entrance near the Dean’s office. The basic design has been formulated and will continue to be refined during the summer. The basement level will contain a new clinical techniques suite for third-year surgery instruction. Faculty offices and flexible instructional space for break-out groups will occupy the ground level and more faculty offices will occupy the second floor. Approximately 30-35 faculty offices will be located in the VMIA.
H&K was also tasked with analyzing and recommending options for renovating the space to be vacated by faculty and staff relocating to the new VMIA clinical techniques suite and faculty offices. Existing faculty areas will be renovated to provide faculty members with either a new office in the VMIA or with larger, improved, and more private space within the existing building. H&K is also developing options for improving and better utilizing other space throughout the college. As these plans develop, they will be made available to students, faculty and staff. The VMIA design phase will last approximately 15 to 18 months, followed by an 18-month construction phase. Under a “best case” scenario, the VMIA ground breaking will occur shortly after the IDRF is completed.
With various renovations underway and future renovations planned for back-filling the vacancies created by relocations to the VMIA, the college is embarking upon a very active period of improvement and growth over the next few years.
Virginia Tech has named Aaron Scott Lucas, of Stanley, Va., as the Outstanding Graduating Senior in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine for the 2009-10 academic year.
Lucas received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree this May and will continue to pursue his doctorate degree in the upcoming year. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in biology in the Virginia Tech College of Science in 2004.
While excelling academically, Lucas has also contributed to the surrounding community through his involvement in various organizations. As a member of numerous professional associations, including the Food Animal Practitioner’s Club and Student Chapter of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Lucas has participated in various college club fundraisers and university outreach activities.
View the full press release to learn more.
The Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine has named Dr. Sarah Davies the Outstanding Master's Student and Dr. Naveen Surendran the Outstanding Doctoral Student for the 2009-10 academic year.
Davies received a master’s degree in the biomedical and veterinary sciences graduate program this May. She is board certified as a diplomate with the American College of Veterinary Radiology and earned her Bachelor of Veterinary Science degree from the University of Sydney in Sydney, Australia.
Surendran is a Ph.D. student in the biomedical and veterinary sciences graduate program. He earned his Bachelor of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry degree from Kerala Agricultural University in Kerala, India.
Outstanding graduate students are selected for service to the university community, membership and involvement in professional societies, and progress in research.
View the full press release to learn more.
Joyce O. Morgan, executive assistant to the dean of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, was inducted into the college’s most prestigious academy of friends, the John N. Dalton Society, during commencement ceremonies held on May 15. Morgan was recognized for her commitment to professional excellence, her dedication to duty, and her willingness to help others.
"Since the day she was hired, Joyce has brought extraordinary organizational, communication and management skills to the Office of the Dean," said VMRCVM Dean Gerhardt Schurig. "She has helped the college foster relationships with people throughout the worlds of business, government, higher education and the organized veterinary medical profession. More important, she has been a source of know-how, compassion and humanity for everyone who has worked with her throughout the years. Joyce has been a part of the college since long before there was a college. And she has played a role in virtually everything that has happened in the life of the college since it was created. Joyce has played a role in helping us become all that we are today."
Morgan became the college’s first employee when Founding Dean Richard B. Talbot hired her on December 16, 1974. She has served as an executive assistant to the dean for all three of the deans who have led the college. She will retire on June 30, 2010, following 36 years of distinguished service.
Dr. Lauren L. Howard ('00) has been named the recipient of Virginia Tech’s 2009-10 Outstanding Recent Alumni Award for the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. Howard is an associate veterinarian at the Houston Zoo in Texas where she provides clinical, preventive, and emergency medical services to a diverse collection of captive reptiles, birds, and mammals. She has been working out the pathology, treatment options and epidemiology of elephant herpesvirus, is the coordinator for the Houston Zoo contraception projects and is currently working on the control of a toad mycobacteriosis outbreak.
Howard received her DVM from the VMRCVM in 2000. She was an assistant veterinarian with the Baja California Condor Reintroduction Project in Escondido, which was followed by an internship in Small Animal Medicine and Surgery at the Oradell Animal Hospital in Paramus, New Jersey. She then returned to California and completed her residency in Zoological Medicine at the San Diego Zoo. In 2005, she became boarded by the American College of Zoological Medicine and joined the San Diego Zoo as an associate veterinarian.
To be eligible for the Outstanding Recent Alumni Award, recipients must be graduates of the past 10 years and each should have distinguished him or herself professionally in his/her career or in rendering service to the university since graduating. The faculty of each college nominates and decides upon the recipient for their individual college.
Howard was presented with her award during the college's spring commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 15, 2010 in the Commonwealth Ballroom.
Dr. David Panciera, professor of internal medicine in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech, has been named the first Anne Hunter Professor of Veterinary Medicine by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.
The Anne Hunter Professor of Veterinary Medicine was established to support small animal medicine and research programs with an emphasis on feline research, in the veterinary college. The appointment is for five years and is renewable.
Anne Hunter was a great cat lover and asked her veterinarian, Dr. Mark Honaker of Bay Beach Veterinary Medical Clinic in Virginia Beach, how she could make a difference. He referred her to the VMRCVM in 1988 which began a friendship lasting until her passing two decades later.
View the full press release to learn more.
Dr. Gregory C. Troy of Blacksburg, Va., professor of small animal clinical sciences in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech, has been reappointed as the Dr. and Mrs. Dorsey Taylor Mahin Professor by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.
The Dr. and Mrs. Dorsey Taylor Mahin Endowed Professorship was established to recognize and reward a senior faculty member in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine for demonstrated excellence as a clinician and who exemplifies professionalism and compassion to owners and pets. The recipient is chosen on the basis of outstanding clinical expertise, noteworthy compassion for both animal and owner, and exemplary professionalism. The appointment is for five years and is renewable.
Helen Mahin was a great cat lover, and was referred to Troy by Dr. Joe Taylor of Locke A. Taylor, DVM, Inc. in Richmond, Virginia in 1989. Her husband was a surgeon and she expected the very best in care and felt she and her cat, Mr. Bustopher Jones, received it at the VMRCVM. She stayed in contact with Troy, even after Mr. Bustopher passed away in 1992, until her own passing in 2003. Besides the professorship, she also provided the largest endowment for Compassion Funds named for Mr. Bustopher.
View the full press release to learn more.
Dr. Michael Leib, professor of small animal clinical sciences in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech, has been reappointed as the C. R. Roberts Professor of Clinical Veterinary Medicine by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.
The C. R. Roberts Professorship in Clinical Veterinary Medicine was established by Kent C. Roberts of Williamsburg, Va., to honor the life and contributions of Kent’s father Clarence, a veterinarian who began as a hard-working dairy practitioner in upstate New York and went on to forge a career in corporate veterinary medicine, retiring as president of Sealtest, a division of Kraft Foods. The appointment is for five years and is renewable.
Dr. Clarence Roberts was one of the pioneers in corporate veterinary medicine, having started with Sheffield Foods in 1930, which in turn became National Dairy, Kraft Cheese & Breyers Ice Cream, and Sealtest where he retired in 1965. His son, Kent, a founding faculty member of the college, wore many hats including director of continuing education and director of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital. The family decided that this professorship was a fitting tribute to both careers.
View the full press release to learn more.
Dr. Martin Furr of Leesburg, Va., professor of medicine in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech, was reappointed as the Adelaide C. Riggs Chair in Equine Medicine by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.
The Adelaide C. Riggs Chair in Equine Medicine was established in 1994 to recognize and reward an outstanding faculty member at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine’s Marion DuPont Scott Equine Medical Center in Leesburg, Va. The appointment is for five years and is renewable.
Mrs. Riggs, a longtime breeder of thoroughbred racehorses, generously supported the Equine Medical Center’s research program for many years. Her daughter, Mrs. Ellen Charles, currently serves on the EMC Council.
View the full press release to learn more.
Dr. Marion F. Ehrich, professor of biomedical sciences and pathobiology in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, has received the 2010 Merit Award from the Society of Toxicology for her many contributions to toxicology throughout her career.
Ehrich is a tenured professor of pharmacology and toxicology and the co-director of the Laboratory for Neurotoxicity Studies at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. Her research interests include biochemical neurotoxicology, especially immediate and delayed neurotoxic effects of organophosphate pesticides. In addition, she has been a pioneer in the use of in vitro systems for mechanistic studies and safety assessment in neurotoxicology, with potential contribution to a diminished need for animal use in chemical safety assessments. She is often called upon by both government and industry for her expertise in these areas.
View the full press release to learn more.
Dr. Valerie Ragan, director of the Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine on VMRCVM’s University of Maryland-College Park campus, has been named to the Scientific Committee for the Consortium for the Advancement of Brucellosis Science (CABS).
The consortium works toward successful brucellosis disease control and prevention, conducts stakeholder outreach, and provides broad scientific guidance to research activities focused on immunology, vaccines, and diagnostic tests.
Virginia Delegate Jim Shuler received one of the university's 2010 Alumni Distinguished Service Awards. The annual award recognizes outstanding service to the Virginia Tech Alumni Association and the university community as a whole.
Shuler is a native of Rockingham County and a member of the Virginia General Assembly, representing the 12th District. A doctor of veterinary medicine, he was the founder and operator of Blacksburg’s Companion Animal Clinic, and is now retired from his practice.
A noted veterinarian, community leader and businessman, Shuler has been a strong advocate for agriculture, the profession of veterinary medicine, and the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine.
He has been a member, advocate and leader for many professional veterinary organizations, including the American Animal Hospital Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association. Shuler served on the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association Board of Directors and as president of the Southwest Virginia Veterinary Association.
View the full press release to learn more.
Dr. Judi Lynch, director of special initiatives in the Office of the Dean at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech, has been named to First Lady Maureen McDonnell’s advisory council to support the First Lady's Initiatives Team Effort (FLITE).
The First Lady's Initiatives Team Effort, which was launched in late April, will recognize programs, activities, organizations and individuals who embody the ideal of creating a Commonwealth of Opportunity in their communities. FLITE will bring attention to the work being done by people around the state, specifically focused on preventative healthcare, economic development, military families, and women’s issues, that leaves the commonwealth a better place for future generations.
View the full press release to learn more.
Lynn Young, director of alumni relations and student affairs in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech, received the university's 2010 President's Award for Excellence.
A member of the Virginia Tech community for 26 years, Young has been the director of alumni relations and student affairs at the veterinary college for the past six years. In 2000, she was appointed to direct the alumni programs in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, College of Natural Resources, and the VMRCVM. Since that time, she has created board of directors and ambassador programs and many other programs which facilitate networking among students and alumni.
The President's Award for Excellence is presented annually to up to five Virginia Tech staff employees who have made extraordinary contributions by consistent excellence in the performance of their job or a single incident, contribution, or heroic act. Each recipient is awarded a $2,000 cash prize.
View the full press release to learn more.
Dr. Jean Richards ('06), former student of the Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine, has been selected as a Fellow for the 2010-11 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science & Technology Policy Fellowships. The fellowships help to establish and nurture critical links between federal decision-makers and scientific professionals to support public policy that benefits the well-being of the nation and the planet.
Richards will be completing her fellowship at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in the Office of Medicine, Science, and Public Health (OMSPH) within the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR). ASPR serves as the DHHS Secretary's principal advisory staff on matters related to bioterrorism and other public health emergencies. OMSPH is responsible for providing expert medical, scientific, and public health advice on domestic and international medical preparedness policies, programs, initiatives, and activities. Emerging infectious diseases, regulations affecting select agent and dual use research, and the implementation of International Health Regulations (WHO) are among Richards' interests as she pursues this fellowship.
Seven DVM students from the VMRCVM were recently awarded 2010 Pfizer Animal Health Veterinary Student Scholarships in the amount of $2,500. The scholarship winners are Julie Gillem (’12), Brian Kopec (’11), Lincoln Montgomery-Rodgers (’12), Daniel Oliver (‘11), Brooke Reynolds (’12), Jennifer Sutton (’11), and Daniel Woodburn (’12).
The students were selected by the American Veterinary Medical Foundation’s (AVMF) Grants and Awards Scholarship subcommittee and scored on academic excellence, leadership, diversity, potential contribution in food animal or food safety veterinary medicine, and experience.
Learn more about the Veterinary Student Scholarship Program.
Claire Simeone, a member of the DVM Class of 2011, was recently awarded first place in the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP) 19th Annual Student Case Report Contest. Simeone received a certificate of acknowledgment and a cash award for her winning case report titled "Treatment of oral malignant melanoma with radiation and immunotherapy in a dog."
Each year, the ABVP opens the case report contest to students in all areas of veterinary medicine and surgery. Case reports are judged on diagnostic workups as well as medical and/or surgical managements; a clear demonstration of veterinary expertise; the application of sound medical principles in diagnosis and treatment; and the communication of medical observations and data in an organized manner.
Patrick Wolak, farm and barns manager at the Equine Medical Center, was not only recently nominated for Virginia Tech’s President’s Award for Excellence, but made the list of 35 finalists to be considered for this prestigious honor.
In nominating Patrick, his co-workers said, “He consistently demonstrates extraordinary dedication and delivery of outstanding service to the overall operation of the EMC. His contributions to the efficiency and success of this world-renowned facility not only are evident in the conduct of duties required of his position but also are noted in the range of additional duties he willingly assumes on behalf of the EMC.”
Nominated by his peers, Patrick was the recipient of the 2009 EMC "Above and Beyond" award for his tireless contributions to both the care of the patients and the facility. He continues to demonstrate exemplary dedication to the mission of the organization and deserves to be recognized by the larger VT community.
Virginia Tech, in collaboration with the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine (VTCSOM), is pleased to offer a new Master of Public Health (MPH) degree program. The program, administered through the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, was approved by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) on January 12, 2010 and will enroll its first students in Fall 2010.
The 42-credit professional degree program integrates and expands public health offerings at Virginia Tech and enhances the university's track record of addressing vital public health issues through learning, discovery and engagement.
Visit the MPH website for more information.
On February 25, Dean Gerhardt Schurig and a college leadership panel presented a VMRCVM town hall meeting at the VVMA Winter Meeting held annually at the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center. The panelists included Dr. Greg Daniel, head of the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, Dr. David Hodgson, head of the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, Dr. Jacquelyn Pelzer, director of DVM Program Admissions, Dr. Bill Pierson, director of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, and Dr. Valerie Ragan, director of the Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine.
The meeting was attended by many VVMA members and guests and included a brief introduction by Dean Schurig on the future plans of the college followed by a panel presentation covering new developments at the college. The meeting concluded with a question and answer session and lively discussion.
Dr. Bill Pierson also hosted a roundtable discussion with practitioners from 20 Roanoke Valley practices to collect feedback and discuss expanded services and future plans for the Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Topics included the restoration of the VTH Dermatology service, a recent increase in staffing of the Small Animal Surgery service, the recent addition of radioactive iodine therapy for cats, and an online photographic tour of some VTH services.
Dean Schurig also met with veterinary dignitaries from other states who were attending the VVMA conference, including Maryland Veterinary Medical Association President Jim Reed ('87), West Virginia Veterinary Medical Association President Tom Isaac, Jr., and American Veterinary Medical Association Vice President Gary Brown, to discuss VMRCVM efforts to increase regional communication and cooperation.
A new president and president-elect of the college's Alumni Society were formally installed during a recent meeting of the board held in conjunction with the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association Conference at the Hotel Roanoke.
Dr. Michael Watts ('00) succeeded Dr. Sara Salmon (’98) as president, and Dr. Brett VanLear ('96) was installed as president-elect of the Alumni Society.
Watts operates his private practice, Clevengers Corner Veterinary Care, in Amissville, Virginia. VanLear holds a teaching position with the Veterinary Technology program at Blue Ridge Community College and maintains an Angus cow/calf operation on his family farm in Fishersville, VA.
Visit the Alumni Society web site for more information.
The Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine (CPCVM) has partnered with the U.S. Animal Health Association (USAHA) to create mentoring, education, and networking opportunities for veterinarians and veterinary students. In response to increased demands for veterinarians in the public sector, the center is working to expand activities in the areas of public health, public policy, international veterinary medicine, organizational leadership, and the One Health Initiative.
A similar partnership was also formed with the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD). The purpose of this partnership is also to create mentoring, education, and networking opportunities for veterinarians and veterinary students, especially those with an interest in diagnostics and laboratory work.
After approximately six months of gathering input from former students, current students, and agency and industry partners, the Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine (CPCVM) is moving from an “assessment” to an “implementation” mode. The center now has sufficient data to guide the strengthening and enhancement of the public and corporate track and the center’s activities.
A system is being developed to provide better and earlier career guidance for public and corporate students, primarily to assist with exploring and understanding the diversity of career opportunities within this sector of veterinary medicine. Public and corporate track courses are being updated and efforts to enhance clerkship experiences are underway. In addition, the CPCVM recently signed partnership agreements with the United States Animal Health Association and the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians and mechanisms to best utilize those partnerships are being developed.
The CPCVM is also hosting a one-day symposium at the 2010 Joint Summer Conference hosted by the Maryland Veterinary Medical Association, the Northern Virginia Veterinary Medical Association, and the District of Columbia Veterinary Medical Association. The symposium is titled "Disasters and Disruptions: Providing Practitioners Peace of Mind." The symposium will be kicked off by Dr. Mack Lea, who will describe his experiences as Louisiana’s State Veterinarian when Hurricane Katrina hit the state. The symposium will include veterinarians from a variety of sectors within the profession, including a small animal practitioner, who will discuss preparation, response, and recovery from both large and small events and will conclude with a "lessons learned" roundtable discussion with audience participation.
The third annual “Bob Duncan Memorial 5K” was held Saturday, April 17. All proceeds benefited the Bob Duncan Memorial Diagnostic Veterinary Pathology Scholarship. Duncan, a widely respected and much beloved veterinary pathologist on faculty, died suddenly on May 3, 2007.
Over $3,700 was raised by 67 registered runners whose ages ranged from five to 76 years old, according to Dr. Ellen Binder, an anatomic pathology resident in the college who organized the race.
The Bob Duncan Memorial Diagnostic Pathology Award has been established in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in order to honor Duncan’s life and contributions. The award is presented to a fourth-year veterinary student with a commitment and zeal for diagnostic veterinary pathology.
Visit the Annual Bob Duncan Memorial 5K website for more information on the memorial scholarship fund and to see images and results from this year’s race.
Four teams from VMRCVM participated in Virginia Tech's "Relay For Life" held Friday, April 9 on the university's drillfield. The teams included 21 Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences (BMVS) graduate students and 18 Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) students.
The college’s four teams were part of the 14 collective Virginia Tech Graduate School teams, referred to as a “company,” who raised $27,498 for the battle against cancer.
View a photo gallery from the event.
A new interview format was implemented for the 2009-10 admissions cycle at the VMRCVM. The Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI) were developed at McMaster’s Medical School in Canada and are a means to assess a candidate on non-cognitive skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, communication and work ethic. These skills have been identified as important for students to possess in order to be successful during the professional program as well as post-graduation.
A total of 242 applicants were interviewed over a three-day period and 29 private practitioners and eight faculty members donated their time to serve as interviewers. All students participated in eight scenerios, which lasted 10 minutes each. At the completion of the interviews, the candidates interacted with VMRCVM student ambassadors, took tours of college facilities and the Virginia Tech campus and enjoyed lunch with students and faculty in the VMRCVM Commons. On one of the interview days, Blacksburg experienced blizzard-like conditions; however, the interviews were held as scheduled.
"We are very thankful for all who participated in assisting with the selection of the Class of 2014," said Dr. Jacquelyn Pelzer, director of DVM admissions. "Ninety-five seats have been officially filled and we look forward to orientation this summer."
The VMRCVM and the Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to promote human health and animal health where there are areas of mutual interest to both institutions. The purpose of the MOU is to promote collaboration between both the VMRCVM and VCOM that supports students and faculty academic activities in teaching, research, and outreach.
An example of an opportunity afforded by this new partnership is a recent trip taken by Drs. Brianna Wilson ('10) and Cara Cherry (’10) to the Dominican Republic to complete a "One Health Senior Clerkship." During the first week of the trip, Wilson and Cherry taught a “mini vet school” to elementary, middle, and high school students in the morning hours and then shadowed physicians in the free human clinic each afternoon. The second week involved working closely with a local veterinarian. Wilson and Cherry spent the third week with VMRCVM's Dr. Dee Whittier on a split experience with cattle and working with Dominican government veterinarians on tuberculosis and brucellosis.
For more information on Wilson’s experience, please see her narrative summarizing her Dominican Republic travels.
Dr. Bill Tyrell (’92), president of the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association, former president of the VMRCVM Alumni Society, and DC Academy member, hosted the annual VMRCVM alumni gathering at the Hematology and Transfusion Medicine seminar at the Elks Lodge on May 6, 2010 in Fairfax, Virginia.
Over 50 alumni attended the luncheon along with VMRCVM faculty members Dr. Judi Lynch, Dr. Frank Pearsall, Dr. Doug Graham and Ms. Lynn Young. Dr. Valerie Ragan, director of the Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine at the University of Maryland-College Park campus was the guest speaker.
Visit the Alumni Society website for more event information.
Travis Burns, of Marshall, Va., recently joined the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech as a full-time farrier. Burns' arrival brings the addition of equine podiatry services in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital.
Burns completed training at the North Carolina School of Horseshoeing, and he received his bachelor’s degree in animal science from North Carolina State University. He most recently served as a farrier with Forging Ahead Farrier Associates LLC.
View the full press release to learn more.
Combining their surgical expertise with state-of-the-art laparoscopic equipment, veterinary specialists at Virginia Tech's Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center have been able to remove certain mares' ovaries in a surgical procedure that’s less invasive, requires less anesthesia, less hospitalization, and less recovery time.
The procedure is known as a laparoscopic ovariectomy, and it is performed at the center with Ligasure, a medical device that allows the surgeons to remove an ovary efficiently, and with almost no risk of bleeding.
View the full press release to learn more.
Surgeons at Virginia Tech's Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center were recently able to help Wildfeuer, a fourteen-year old Bavarian Warmblood, with a bold treatment idea for lameness. The procedure, known as a biceps brachii tenotomy, involved the complete removal of a section of the horse’s biceps tendon.
View the full press release to learn more.
Dr. Jennifer Barrett, assistant professor of surgery at the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center (EMC), recently delivered a presentation titled "The characterization of tendon progenitor cells" at the first North American Veterinary Regenerative Medicine Conference in Buellton, CA. The conference, hosted by the University of California at Davis, was attended by hundreds of leaders in regenerative medicine and cell therapy. Given her status as a researcher who is on the leading edge of biomedical research, Barrett was invited to speak at the conference, which was organized to provide a clinically applicable educational experience for medical experts in this fast-moving field.
Regenerative medicine has the potential to assist healing in many injuries, with the ultimate goal of scar-free healing. The aim of the conference was for researchers and practitioners to disseminate new knowledge of these therapies and to provide an introduction to the concepts of regenerative medicine and stem cell therapy so that more patients can benefit from these techniques in the future.
Plans are underway to organize a North American Regenerative Medicine Society, and Barrett will serve on its Founders’ Committee. The next annual symposium is tentatively scheduled for June, 2011 in Lexington, KY.
Dr. Gwendolyn Lynch, Diplomate ACVO, who is on staff at Eye Care for Animals in Leesburg, regularly sees equine patients at the EMC, consults with EMC faculty, and performs specialized opthalmologic procedures at the Center, has announced that she is now offering specialized surgical treatment for Equine Recurrent Uveitis (ERU).
ERU can now be treated at the Center through Suprachoroidal Cyclosporine Implant placement, an innovative treatment aimed at controlling the repeated episodes of immune-mediated intraocular inflammation that characterize the disease. The implants themselves are not commercially available at this time and are made available for use by Lynch through the generosity of the innovators of the procedure at North Carolina State University (NCSU). This implant’s efficacy has been proven through the remarkable efforts of the research staff at NCSU.
Lynch is careful to point out that the cyclosporine implant is not a cure and is still technically experimental, and that not all horses are good candidates for the surgery. However, research has shown that the implants substantially reduce the frequency and severity of outbreaks of equine recurrent uveitis in affected horses which are good candidates.
Lynch is highly qualified to perform the surgery and eager to help patients afflicted with ERU. She is offering a discount to the first few clients who elect to have the implant placed at the EMC. A portion of each surgical fee will be given as a donation to NCSU’s uveitis research fund to offset the cost of the implants.
See the EMC Spring 2010 Newsletter for more information. To schedule an appointment, call Dr. Lynch at (571) 209-1190.
The 2nd Annual Clinical Pathology Workshop for pathology residents will be held June 24-26. The event is sponsored by the VMRCVM and the Student Chapter of American College of Veterinary Pathologists.
The goal of the three-day workshop is to provide a focused review of clinical pathology concepts and hands on experience for the anatomic pathology resident with a focus on clinical chemistry, hematology, and cytology.
The Certificate Program in Veterinary Practice Business Management at Virginia Tech will be held September 9 - December 11. The program is a leading-edge course for identifying core business strategy and aligning business decisions with that business strategy. The program will enable veterinarians to capitalize on those diagnostic skills, for which they are known, and to begin to apply new knowledge to business challenges. The program is currently scheduled to be held at The Northern Virginia Center in Falls Church, VA.
On August 26 and 27, Virginia Tech and the Virginia Departments of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Emergency Management, Social Services, Health will be conducting a functional exercise and drill of the Virginia state managed shelter system. The state plan calls for the relocation of up to 2500 people and 4000 companion animals from Virginia coastal areas to Virginia Tech in advance of a major hurricane. In a state activation, many of the management and daily operations of the animal shelter will be the responsibility of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.
The August exercise will provide an essential opportunity to test, evaluate, and improve the university's capabilities to respond. The first day of the exercise will be an activation of the Emergency Operations center (EOC) and the assignment of appropriate personnel to the incident command structure. The EOC will manage a simulated activation of the Virginia Tech human and animal shelters. Scenarios will be introduced throughout the exercise to challenge the responders’ abilities to mange a rapidly expanding and dynamic incident. The second day of the exercise will include a series of drills conducted to evaluate specific components of the shelter plan including the setup of the animal shelter, the management of an animal reception facility, animal care, data management, and tracking of animals within the shelter.
A volunteer database is being compiled for use in the event of a “real” sheltering situation. VMRCVM faculty, staff, students, alumni, practitioners, technicians, and other volunteers interested in participating in the drill are asked to contact Dr. Judi Lynch at email@example.com.
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