th e NEWS FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA COLLEGE OF VETERINARY MEDICINE
UF initiates incentives to draw more students into food animal medicine
BY SARAH CAREY
T help address a critical shortage of food supply veterinarians at the local, state and
national levels, the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine has initiated
two new programs aimed at tempting more veterinary students to pursue careers in the
For the first time this year, the college made four admission slots available to pre-
veterinary undergraduates with a strong interest in food animal veterinary medicine. These
students, identified with the help of faculty from the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural
Sciences' animal sciences department, were required to have met all prerequisite requirements
for veterinary school.
"Beyond these four individuals, there were two other animal sciences majors who were on
the alternate list for admission and they also wound up being admitted through the standard
admissions process,' said Owen Rae, D.V.M., chief of the college's Food Animal Reproduction
and Medicine Service, or FARMS.
Each year, four more students will be admitted.
The admissions initiative was created through a joint collaboration involving IFAS; the
veterinary college's dean, Glen Hoffsis, D.VM.; Eleanor Green, D.V.M., chairwoman of the
college's department of large animal clinical sciences; members of the Florida Cattlemen's
Association; and FARMS faculty members.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, only 1,703 of its 77,237
member veterinarians are in practices that exclusively focus on food animals. Another 4,459
are in practices that predominantly treat food animals.
UF also is launching a 16-credit food animal certificate program for students who complete
requirements aimed at preparing them for careers in food animal practice or the food systems
"The certificate provides a template for mastering basic skills associated with food animal
veterinary medicine, including food animal/systems-oriented courses taught within the UF
veterinary college as well as targeted extracurricular experiences," Rae said.
Students will be expected to participate actively in the Food Animal Club within the
college, and to take part in weekend wet labs that will provide hands-on learning opportunities
as well as the chance to interact more frequently with faculty mentors and other students with
In addition, students will be required to become members of the American Association of
Bovine Practitioners and will be encouraged to participate in the Society for Theriogenology.
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attractive job candidates in all areas of food supply veterinary medicine.
"Participants in this program will likely be extremely sought after for the very best jobs,
due to the cross-disciplinary exposure they will be getting to all aspects of the field, including
both practice and industry," Hoffsis said.
However, Green added that ideally, recruitment efforts would start well before veterinary
"In local communities, talented young people must be encouraged by local producers,
veterinarians, school counselors and others to pursue careers in food supply veterinary
medicine," she said. "They must then be mentored well in their pre-veterinary curriculum in
order to retain their interest and strengthen their credentials to optimize their chance for
admission to and success during veterinary school."
Incoming freshman veterinary student Jason DeLaPaz will complete his master's degree at
UF in August. Mentored by Art Donovan, D.VM., of the FARMS group, DeLaPaz studied the
immune response potential of individual Holstein dairy cows. He believes the food animal
certificate program will help get him "up and running" in a meaningful career after graduation.
"I believe it will serve an important role in increasing students' awareness and that this
may trigger interest in food animal medicine for the very same reasons I have chosen this career
path,' DeLaPaz said. "I was not raised on or near a farm, but was attracted to the greater purpose
involved in food animal production. The food supply is very important, and food animal
practitioners help to ensure that it is safe.
"Such a small portion of the population has ever been on a farm and are largely oblivious
to the research, concerns and practices involved in food production," DeLaPaz added. "Due to
the present as well as the projected shortage in food animal practitioners, I believe it was the
right decision for the UF veterinary school to proactively address this issue."
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Longtime veterinary faculty member acknowledges former residents, friends
and colleagues at retirement party
BY SARAH CAREY
D r. Gail Kunkle's place in the UF College of Veterinary Medicine's history is secure.
Hired by the founding dean, Dr. Charles Cornelius and former medical sciences
chairman Dr. Richard Halliwell a person she describes as her first dermatology
mentor Kunkle has experienced the ups and downs of college life for nearly 30 years.
Among the challenges she recalls was dealing with many aspects of sick building syn-
drome in the 1980s, along with other veterinary faculty and staff. During a retirement reception
held for Kunkle July 25, she shared some of her memories with a room packed full of CVM
faculty and staff as well as former residents and friends who came for the occasion.
"People were sick and had a multitude of symptoms," Kunkle said. "A full-time nurse was
employed just to document problems. Animal patients were examined in faculty offices and
baby wipes were used to clean doctors' hands when no running water was available."
"Morale was low, then, reminding me of the current budget issues," Kunkle said. "It was
hard, but we got through it, thanks to (former college dean) Dick Dierks. We bonded and
laughed together and had a big party at the end."
Kunkle's career path took the 1974 graduate of The Ohio State University College of
Veterinary Medicine to the rank of full professor of small animal dermatology at UF and
included many years as service chief. Her stellar career has not been without personal setbacks
and challenges. In recent years, Kunkle struggled with leaving the clinic and losing her spouse
of more than 30 years. She raised two teenage boys, Matthew and Benjamin, who she says now
have grown to be "wonderful young men."
More recently, her efforts have been focused on education as part of her role as associate
chair for instruction for the department of small animal clinical sciences.
She's proud of the searchable curriculum map she recently helped develop as chair of the
college's curriculum committee.
"It's not perfect, but it's a great start," she said.
The awards and honors Kunkle has amassed over the years include OSU's Distinguished
Alumnus Award in 1999 along with the American College of Veterinary Dermatology's Award
for Excellence that same year; Outstanding Woman Veterinarian of the Year in 1993 and the
Norden Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award in 1990. She also received a Provost Fellow-
ship in 2004 through former UF Provost David Colbur's office.
Kunkle cherishes her many deep and special friendships.
S"I hope you can picture me walking and sitting on
the beach in St. Augustine, in between tackling all
the other things on my 'to do' list."
Dr Gail Kunkle
But while she stresses that all of these things are important, what matters most to Kunkle
are her 34 former dermatology residents and the pride she feels at having shared in their
"They're my second kids," she said. "Teaching students is very rewarding, especially when
they come back as alums and tell you how important dermatology is to their practice. I do
think our students get a great foundation in derm, which is one of the two most common
reasons other than basic wellness care where owners seek veterinary help, even in areas where
they don't have fleas! But when you work with students, you don't get to see them develop
through their clinical years you only get a snapshot."
With residents, a more lasting relationship develops from continual observation and
teaching, she said.
"The residents draw an incredible amount of information out of you in the first six months,
but then after that, they're teaching and invigorating you," Kunkle said. "I have formed
lifelong bonds and friendships with many of them."
Drs. Allison Flynn-Lurie and Rosanna Marsella organized a reception for Kunkle at the
recent ACVD meeting, and 33 of Kunkle's 34 former residents were present. A scrapbook they
had put together for her was on hand at Kunkle's retirement party for college faculty and staff
to also enjoy.
"The best part of what I've done is to leave behind residents who can train other residents
to relate to the public and to referring veterinarians," she said.
A few years ago, Kunkle became involved in multiple committees at the college as well as
serving on the American Veterinary Medical Association's Council on Education and the
Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates.
"The COE's mission is to accredit veterinary schools, but only one of 21 members repre-
sents academic small animal clinical training. It was a huge amount of work to visit different
schools and see various training methods to produce an entry level veterinarian, but I valued it
and it was fun as well as hopefully helping our profession."
Dr. Cheryl Chrisman, professor emeritus of small animal neurology, first became friends
with Kunkle during their Ohio State days.
"Besides my great admiration of her for all the accomplishments in veterinary medicine,
Dr. Kunkle has been my treasured friend for over 36 years," Chrisman said. "We have shared the
big chapters of life together- career, marriage, divorce, births, deaths and rebirths and we will
also share retirement.
"Although different, we are connected by the same strong Midwest values," Chrisman
added. "She is the practical one and I am the intuitive one. She taught me to shop and I taught
her to hug. She has many friends and I am honored to be considered among them."
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Kunkle's friendship with the college's dean, Dr. Glen Hoffsis, has "come full circle,"
Kunkle told guests at her retirement party, adding that Hoffsis served as the preveterinary
advisor at Ohio State when she was an undergraduate animal science major.
Kunkle also acknowledged Dr. Colin Burrows, her longtime department chair, as well as
Drs. Amara Estrada, Richard Hill, Pam Ginn and current and past dermatology faculty members
for helping to make her "a stronger person and a better listener."
But site said she's excited to begin a new chapter of her life now.
"There is more I want for myself," Kunkle said. "The self-imposed stress and my sense of
responsibility are not good for my health."
She has been granted professor emeritus status and plans to stay in touch with the college,
telling friends she is "only an e-mail away."
"But I hope you can picture me walking and sitting on the beach in St. Augustine, in
between tackling all the other things on my new 'to do' list," Kunkle said.
Burrows said Kunkle had always been someone he could look to for wisdom and sage
"We already miss her," he said.
to nell glrnuates.
Diplomats and others
Radiosurgery procedure used successfully
to treat dog's prostate cancer
BY SARAH CAREY
Recent recipients of CVM graduate
Master of Science: Jason DeLaPaz
Ph.D.: Tonya Bonilla, Rebecca Grant,
Shasta McClenahan, Pablo Pinedo, Heather
Master of Science (non-thesis degree in
Forensic Toxicology): Rebecca Derienz,
Caroline DiCarlo, Nicole Duett, Charles
Foster, Michael Greenberg, Jillianne Harris,
Rachel Hiers, Amanda King, Andrew Larkin,
John Ripper, James Santo, Matthew Stillwell.
In addition, the American College of
Theriogenology boasts two new Diplomates,
Dr. Gurmeet Dhaliwal and Dr. Scott Bailey.
Congratulations to all!
I eteilnalIn researcher 11honored
flr illCOpl)aSlla rl research
Dr. Meghan May
Dr. Meghan May, a scientist in the
University of Florida College of Veterinary
Medicine, received the Louis Dienes Prize for
outstanding research by a postdoctoral fellow
during the 17t International Congress of the
International Organization for
Mycoplasmology, held July 6-11 in Tianjin,
May's presentation, coauthored by her
academic mentor, Dr. Daniel Brown, an
assistant professor in the college's department
of infectious diseases and pathology, dealt
with an infection-producing enzyme known
as sialidase, which is produced by the
bacteria Mycoplasma gallisepticum, the most
economically significant mycoplasmal
pathogen affecting poultry.
"This pathogen causes chronic respiratory
disease, reduced feed efficiency, decreased
growth and decreased egg production,"
Brown said. "Meghan's work may lead to a
basis for novel treatment and/or vaccination
strategies focused on the role of sialidase in
diseases associated with this pathogen."
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Since William Lassiter rescued Corey,
then a pathetic looking, mixed-breed
dog he first spotted outside of a pawn
shop eight years ago, the two have been
"The shop had lots of weed eaters and
chainsaws," said Lassiter, a former medical
malpractice attorney who retired from his
Jacksonville firm in 2000 and now lives on
380 acres near Melrose. "I'djust bought a
farm and needed some equipment, so I
whipped in impulsively one day and saw a
brown dog chained to a tree nearby. The
owner said a man had left the dog there that
morning, and that the dogcatcher would be
taking him to the pound in about an hour."
Lassiter went over to the dog, whom he
said looked "crestfallen," loaded him into his
jeep and took the animal home, where he has
since lived happily with Lassiter and three
other family dogs, riding shotgun in his
owner's truck around the property every day
until late June, when Corey suddenly began
to have trouble urinating.
"He was in distress, so I called the vet,"
Lassiter said. After two weeks in a veterinary
hospital in Interlachen, tissue samples were
sent to the University of Florida's Oncology
Service to determine whether Corey might
have prostate cancer. The diagnosis was
"I brought Corey to UF and everyone was
very prompt and gave me a number of
options, none of which were acceptable,"
Lassiter said. "I wasn't ready for Corey to go
to the Rainbow Bridge."
UF oncology veterinarians then came up
with another idea, worth trying on the chance
Corey could be saved. The idea was to use
stereotactic radiosurgery, a technique used in
oncology cases in patients with brain, nasal,
bone and urethral cancer, but never previ-
ously attempted to target a tumor in the
Corey's cancer had spread to a lymph
node and this was first removed by the
oncology surgeons Then in collaboration
with Dr. Frank Bova at the McKnight Brain
Institute, a high dose of radiation was
delivered to the cancerous prostate. Corey
recovered well from the procedure and began
urinating on his own again soon after the
The UF veterinarians are now treating
Corey with chemotherapy. So far, so good,
Taking a scholarly break
Several UF veterinary students who
participated in the Merck-Merial Sum-
mer Research program recently at-
tended the annual Merck-Merial/NIH
Veterinary Scholars Symposium in
In the photo at right, taken at the
North American River Otter enclosure at
the Potter Zoo in East Lansing, Mich.,
are (standing at rear) Shannon Roff,
Leonel Londono, Dr. Kevin Anderson,
Tyrell Kahan and Santiago Diaz. In front
are Amanda-Jo Joswig, Catriona Love,
Jessica Rivera and Elijah Rooney.
The symposium brings together
outstanding scientists and veterinary
scholars who have been engaged in
mentored research experiences over
the course of the summer in colleges
of veterinary medicine in the United
States and Canada.
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"He's alert and he's happy," said Lassiter, a
cancer survivor himself. "The expertise right
here in Gainesville is none other than world
class and they are way ahead of everybody in
this procedure. Corey was just very fortunate
to find himself at UF with these incredible
doctors. The UF people really have an esprit
de corps, and it shows."
Dr. Nick Bacon, who performed the
surgery on Corey at UF along with Dr. Jim
Farese, called Lassiter "an amazing indi-
"He fought his own cancer head-on and
beat it," Bacon said. "He now just wants to
give his best friend, Corey, the same chance.
I'm pleased the team here was able to help
them both and at the same time we benefit
because we learn more about treating prostate
cancer in dogs. We all win."
Members of the class of 2012 and their families
came to the CVM on Friday, Aug. 15 for "Welcome
and Family Day Celebration." The group heard
presentations by Dr. Thomas Vickroy, interim
associate dean for students and instruction, and
Dean Glen Hoffsis, then were escorted through the
Veterinary Medical Center and CVM for a variety of
tours and demonstrations.
Heather Rodgers, Carrie Lawson and Jennifer Close, all members of the class of 20011, man the Holistic
Club booth during freshman orientation. (Photo by Sarah Carey)
Kelly Meyer, an incoming veterinary student, is shown with her boyfriend, Justin Harrison, Dr. Kevin
Anderson and Kelly's mom, Paula Meyer. Meyer and her group had stopped by the Team VetMed booth,
which Anderson was manning.
(Photo by Sarah Carey)
Little Molly Tunning makes friends with one of the horses used in a treadmill demonstration during freshman
orientation Aug. 15. Her aunt, Jaimie Miller, shown at center, is an incoming veterinary student.
(Photo by Sarah Carey)
Incoming veterinary student Sasha Orlova, right, and her husband, Mike Ronco, were in good spirits
following the orientation presentation and were planning on heading for St. Augustine Beach over the
(Photo by Sarah Carey)
Incoming veterinary student Kristen Lewandowski, left, stopped by a zoological medicine booth manned by
senior students Kristy Ramela, center, and Candice Manganaro, right.
(Photo by Sarah Carey)