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Title: Veterinary page. February 2008.
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Title: Veterinary page. February 2008.
Uniform Title: Veterinary page.
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Publication Date: February 2008
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the NEWS FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA COLLEGE OF VETERINARY MEDICINE


veterinary



page


Vet students sharpen awareness of public health issues, careers

through CDC trip, new joint DVM/MPH program

A group of 14 students and two faculty members from the UF College of Veterinary
Medicine spent a day in Atlanta recently learning about public health and public
service as participants in "CDC Vet Student Day."
Organized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the event was held at CDC
headquarters and was aimed at educating veterinary students from all over the country and I ,
Canada about the CDC's mission, and introducing them to the fields of public health and
epidemiology.
Three hundred students and nearly 60 faculty members attended the event. .
"Unprecedented social and ecological changes associated with human demographics,
environmental alterations and globalization have converged to create a modem era of newly
identified and re-emerging infectious diseases," wrote a member of the event's organizing
committee in a letter of invitation. "The majority of emerging pathogens, as well as most of
those identified as bioterrorism agents, are either vectorbome or zoonotic microbes that have
been transmitted from animals to humans."
The organizing committee consisted of public health veterinarians committed to increas-
ing the veterinary public health workforce and reaching out to veterinary colleges.
On the agenda were several veterinarians who spoke about their roles in public health and
how students can get involved at CDC.


"The trip offered a great chance to ask people in the field what it's
really like and why they made the career choices they did. Intern-
ship opportunities were also presented, so we can start planning
ahead. They have several amazing international opportunities for
students."
Carrie Lawson, class of2011
DVM/MPH program student

Dr. Paul Gibbs, a professor of infectious diseases, and Dr. Traci Kmeger, who recently joined
the faculty at the College of Public Health and Health Professions, led the UF group.
"This event is just one more example of activities here at the college which are focused on
'One Health, One World"' Gibbs said, using the term for the concept which unites human and
veterinary medicine with the goal of protecting animal and public health worldwide.
Another way UF has stepped up to the plate to encourage veterinary students to pursue
careers in public health and epidemiology is the joint DVM/MPH program.
Currently there are 10 students enrolled in the program, which officially began last summer.
Envisioned by former veterinary college dean Joseph DiPietro and former PHHP dean Robert
Frank, the program has been implemented with considerable input from Gibbs, Krueger and
veterinary doctoral student Tara Anderson, the veterinary college's Office for Students and
Instruction and Dr. Mary Peoples-Sheps, the PHHP college's associate dean for public health
development and practice.
"Without her support and vision for the program, it would not have been possible,"
Krueger said.
A clinical assistant professor with the department of epidemiology and biostatistics'
environmental health program, Krueger was hired with the goal of furthering the development
of the DVM/MPH program and bridging the gap between the two colleges.
"As one of only two graduates of both programs at UF, I am familiar with both," Krueger
said. "This puts me in a unique position to coordinate the logistics of fulfilling the require-
ments of both degrees within a four-year period, advising the students and developing courses
that are pertinent to a career in veterinary public health courses which are not currently
being exclusively or thoroughly addressed in either program."
She added that the MPH program was reorganized a few years ago due to the College of
Public Health and Health Professions' desire to become accredited. While a few graduates of
the MPH program either had previously been or became DVMs, only Kmeger and Tara
Anderson have been through both programs since the program's reorganization.
See CDC TRIP, p.4
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James A. Himes Scholarship reaches

threshold for state match


Thanks to several last-minute gifts from UF College of Veterinary Medicine alumni, the
James A. Himes Alumni Scholarship fund has surpassed the $100,000 threshold amount
needed to become eligible for state matching funds.
Dean Glen Hoffsis made the announcement Jan. 20 at the North American Veterinary
Conference during the CVM alumni reception, drawing huge applause from the packed crowd.
The college will now request $50,000 in matching funds, which, if obtained, would allow the
scholarship to provide approximately $6,000 per year $1,000 each indefinitely to six
senior veterinary students in need of financial aid.
A total of $108, 625 was raised for the fund. Created in 1998, the Himes Scholarship was
named in honor of the college's associate dean emeritus for students and instruction. Himes'
service to UF began more than 40 years ago and continues today.
"For 15 of those years, Dr. Himes served as associate dean for students and instruction," said
Link Welborn, D.VM., '82, who helped conceive of and develop the scholarship when it was
first formed and who has been instrumental in keeping alumni involved in the fundraising
effort.
"His unselfish and caring nature has touched the lives of thousands of students, families
and colleagues. This $1,000 scholarship is awarded to a veterinary student with financial need
and who has demonstrated what we call 'the Himes attitude."'
As professor and associate dean emeritus, Himes continues to go to his office at the college
almost every weekday.
"He remains dedicated to helping veterinary and pre-veterinary students in every way that
he can," Welbom said.


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Office of International Programs aims to educate students about global health

issues through seminar series


The UF CVM Office of International Programs will be presenting its seventh annual
seminar series in international veterinary medicine in the spring of 2008. This is an
elective course open to all UF veterinary students.
"The course's objectives are to expose students to global health issues and to facilitate
international educational or research opportunities for students," said Dr. Jorge Hernandez,
course coordinator and professor of epidemiology in the department of large animal clinical
sciences.
The seminars are scheduled on Wednesdays from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. in Lecture Halls A or B.
The seminar's 2008 program includes six international speakers from Australia, Chile,
Mexico, Uganda and the United States. Dr. Sam Gibbs from the Australian Animal Health
Laboratory will give two seminar presentations, one on the epidemic of avian influenza in
Indonesia and another on the recent outbreak of equine influenza in racehorses in Australia.
Other prestigious speakers include Dr. Claudio Verdugo, University Austral of Chile, who
will give a presentation on conservation and wildlife issues in Chile; Dr. Aline Schunemann
from the National University of Mexico, who will give two presentations, one on cisticercosis
in pigs and people of Mexico and another on welfare issues in working equids in Mexico; Dr.
Abel Ekiri from UF, who will give a presentation on the role of veterinarians in the fight against
poverty in Uganda; Dr. Andrea Mikolon from the California Department of Agriculture, who
will present a talk relating to public health issues that affect people in Mexico, Mongolia and
Peru; and finally, UF's Dr. Darryl Heard, who will present a seminar about his study abroad
program on conservation and wildlife in Honduras.


The program includes a block of four back-to-back presentations on international educa-
tional and research opportunities offered at Colorado State University, University of Georgia,
University of California at Davis, and Virginia Tech & Maryland University. These four
presentations will be webcasted to UF using polycom technology (interet-based, real-time
video conference).
The program includes a block of two back-to-back presentations on UF community health
outreach programs in Yucatan, Mexico.
"These presentations will address important public health issues that affect the people of
Yucatan," Hernandez said.
Drs. Judy Simms and Rhondda Waddell from the College of Medicine and Drs. Natalie
Isaza, Sheilah Robertson and Jorge Hemandez from the College of Veterinary Medicine are
exploring ways to formulate and implement an interdisciplinary approach for delivery of
community health outreach programs in rural communities in collaboration with the
University of Yucatan and Mexico's Department of Health. These two presentations will be
webcasted from UF to the University of Yucatan and will allow health science students from
both universities to interact in this interet-based forum.
Last but not least, veterinary students Stephanie King and Michelle Bellville are scheduled
to present results of their veterinary work they conducted in Yucatan, Mexico (lameness in
carriage horses) and Uganda (veterinary care in cows and goats).
The deadline to sign up for the course for credit was Jan. 9, but for any additional informa-
tion, please contact Hernandez via email at herandezj@vetmed.ufl.edu.


CDC TRIP, FROM P.1

Carrie Lawson, a freshman veterinary student, is currently enrolled in the program. She
also attended the CDC trip, which she said allowed her to meet students from other universities
with similar interests, as well as professors and CDC employees.
"The trip offered a great chance to ask people in the field what it's really like and why they
made the career choices they did," Lawson said. "Internship opportunities were also presented,
so we can start planning ahead. They have several amazing international opportunities for
students."
Lawson began the DVM/MPH program because she is interested in international work and
possibly disaster relief.
"I think the recent global disasters such as Katrina and the Indonesian tsunami showed us
the need for trained disaster relief veterinarians," she said. "UF has done a wonderful job of
providing the DVM/MPH students with a good idea of the scope of career opportunities for
public health veterinarians."
Anderson, who graduated from UF's veterinary college in 2003, decided after a stint in
private practice to pursue helping animals and people in another way through infectious
disease research and public health. She received her master's degree in public health from UF in
August while simultaneously working on her Ph.D. in infectious diseases from the College of
Veterinary Medicine, a degree she expects to receive in 2009.
The five core disciplines of public health include biostatistics, environmental health,
epidemiology, health management and policy and social and behavioral sciences. At UF, a
sixth concentration called public health practice has been created, allowing the joint DVM/
MPH students to combine coursework from two to four of the five core disciplines, thus adding
flexibility and breadth to their studies.
"As veterinarians, we tend to think of public health as just zoonotic diseases, as that has
been our traditional focus zoonotic diseases and food safety," Anderson said. "But there are
many areas of public health to which veterinary medicine can contribute. Our training gives us
the skills to address a lot of issues."
Jill Gregorieff, a senior veterinary student, said she enjoyed the trip for many reasons.
"I think finding mentors, or just people who have already successfully navigated a
path you want to take, is the first step to a successful career plan," she said. "I also think I
would like to work at the CDC one day, so I took this chance to think about quality of life
issues. I looked at things like work environment, traffic, housing prices, and community
atmosphere.
"All in all, the trip was very useful to me and I look forward to starting a new career in an
exciting and important field," Gregorieff said.
Students in the DVM/MPH program have formed a Public Health and Service Club which
will provide additional learning and outreach opportunities for participants.
"I would like to see the club open opportunities for students not only in disaster relief
training and within government agencies such as the CDC, APHIS, the Department of Home-
land Security and within state and local government, but also for exposure to other 'up and
coming' topics in the expanding field for veterinarians in public health," said Shannon Roff,
club secretary.
"Most recently, our club has been working with John Haven to explore opportunities
available to support disaster relief efforts. If we can get the word out to others that there are a
variety of opportunities out there, and in the process give students the chance to get involved,
perhaps we can give students more options and the ability to better serve themselves and their
communities," Roff said.
Funding for the CDC trip was made possible in part by IDEXX, which provided $1,000,
and by the veterinary college's longtime supporters and volunteers Pat Neilson, Cheryl
Rowe and Joan Drost who work regularly at the Shands at UF Gift Stop to raise money for
veterinary college causes.




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Student keeps open mind about opportunities

afforded through DVM/MPH program

hannon Roff, a freshman
veterinary student and one '
of 10 enrolled in the joint DVM/
MPH program, is pragmatic when
it comes to planning her future:
her decisions are practical as well
as intuitive.
After 11 years working in the
pharmaceutical industry, most
recently for MedImmune, Inc.,
Roff- who holds a master's -
degree in microbiology -- t ''
decided to further her education
in a field that would provide the
most opportunities to move
forward in her career.
"For me, that was veterinary
medicine," she said. "Honestly, at
the time I applied, I hadn't really
considered a career in public Shannon Roff with her dogs, Hannah, Butters and Syd.
health."
But when she began inter-
viewing at different veterinary
schools, one interviewer asked if she had ever considered pursuing that aspect of
the profession.
"When I told him I hadn't, he looked me in the eye and said, 'with your
background and credentials, I strongly urge you to consider a career in public
health."'
At the time, she didn't think much about the comment, but "it popped up on
my radar," Roff said.
"When I was accepted to the UF CVM and received the information from Dr.
Paul Gibbs about the joint program, I gave it a more serious look," she added.
Roff subsequently spoke at greater length with Gibbs and Dr. Tara Anderson, a
CVM alumnus who recently received her MPH degree, about the practicality of
participating in the program if her main focus was to become a small animal
practitioner.
"My last name is Roff, as in ruff with an 'o', so I figure it's fate that I should
become a dog vet," she said.
Gibbs's take was that even if Roff didn't end up working in the public health
field, having a background in public health and pursuing an MPH would add to
her education, her credentials and would make her a stronger and more informed
practitioner.
"It doesn't hurt that I have an interest in infectious disease, and used a plant
virs to manufacture rabies vaccine antigens while working on my first master's
degree," she said.
As one of 14 CVM students accepted to participate in the Merck-Merial
Summer Research Program, Roff looks forward to spending time working in Dr.
Maureen Long's laboratory, looking at Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
(MRSA), in dairy cattle.
"Of all the opportunities I have had in the past years in the working world, the
one big thing it has taught me is that you never can predict where life's opportuni-
ties will take you," Roff said. "If you have an open mind, it's amazing where you
can end up."




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