December 19, 2011

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students:

College Updates

Thanks to everyone who worked to put together a very successful VMC Holiday Luncheon last Friday. The performance by our college choral group, "The Hoofbeats" was well-received, and everyone enjoyed the Holiday Sweater "walk-off." I understand there will be pictures in the January issue of the VMC Newsletter, which I look forward to seeing.

Thank you to our Office of Student Affairs, and to all of you who supported their efforts, as more than 300 interviews were completed for the Class of 2016. This effort is vital to the future of our college and the profession. This year, students were invited to a dinner that took place the evening before their interview. This seemed to help them feel more comfortable with other students and helped them feel better-connected to Ohio State. Your efforts in conducting these interviews, which greatly helps in their selection process, is one of the most important contributions that faculty, staff, and students can make for our college.

The Office of Student Affairs has also begun a new Student Ambassador program for our current students. Twelve students have been selected to "pilot" this program. Students will promote the college, participate in recruitment, student, and alumni events, and assist with college events, as well. Their stipend will include a spring scholarship.

Last Friday, a group of 12 DVM students with an interest in careers in the public health arena visited the Centers for Disease Control. Thanks goes to Dr. Tom Wittum, professor in the Department of Veterinary Biosciences, for arranging this successful visit. The students learned about life at the CDC, including veterinarians' contributions to the success of that organization, and were able to identify new opportunities that may be available to them. It's important for students to actually learn first-hand about career opportunities. They were exposed to on-going work in food-borne diseases, pathologic investigations, rickettsial diseases, antibiotic resistance, environmental health, specialized viral and bacterial programs, global migration and quarantine, rabies, bio-surveillance, and One Health.

We will welcome Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee on Tuesday, December 20. He wants to visit the college to learn more about all that we do and where he can be supportive. At the same time, we will take advantage of learning more about his vision for the university and where we can connect, align, and leverage new opportunities.

Campus Updates and Partnerships

Last week, we hosted a retreat for the Deans in all seven health science colleges at Ohio State. This was a good opportunity to move forward on collaborative activities. Our top priorities are 1) Develop interprofessional training and education programs; 2) Develop a global health program in collaboration with another university that focuses on reducing infectious diseases in a developing country, and provides our faculty and students with significant opportunities in research, learning and outreach; and 3) Work together to design and implement new strategies for health care delivery in underserved populations across Ohio involving all seven colleges.

State and National Issues

Last week, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation hosted a day-long roundtable on One Health, and I was pleased to be able to participate. Their foundation is really an amazing international effort to tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges, focused on the belief that "Every person deserves the chance to live a healthy, productive life." They are investing in education in the United States and improving agriculture and health care in developing nations. They are considering investing grant money in One Health as a way to further their goals, so the discussion was timely and useful.

The Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Science is also focused on One Health, especially as it relates to food safety. Last week they held an excellent workshop in Washington, D. C. on "Improving Food Safety Through One Health," with an overflow audience of government agency members, university personnel and other academics, and industry representatives. The federal government is very supportive of One Health and is using this new model to better understand and address local, national, and global food safety issues. This is one of a series of forums on microbial threats hosted by the IOM. All of the presentations have been edited into book form, and are also available on their website

Alumni and Fundraising

We have completed our interviews for our new "Chief Advancement Officer" (CAO) position. We appreciate the search committee's time and efforts in moving this process forward so quickly. We hope to have a decision on the final candidate in the very near future. This position will lead our efforts in communications, alumni relations, and development, moving our college forward in the capital campaign that is getting underway. As you know, our share of the university's $2.5 billion campaign will be $92 million. This will take a concerted effort from all of us, and we will welcome the strategic leadership of our new CAO to help us achieve our goals.

Upcoming Events

Well, the holidays are really upon us – I hope are all able to spend time with family and friends in the coming weeks. Thank you in advance to those in the Veterinary Medical Center who are here during holiday hours to provide our clients with emergency and critical care services. Each day I have grown to appreciate the extraordinary people in our college and all your efforts that truly make a huge difference in the lives of animals and people. As I reflect on another year that has gone by too swiftly, I want to offer my sincere thanks for your many contributions and let you know of my sense of pride and appreciation for all that you do and accomplish. I wish you all the best holiday possible, and a Happy New Year as well. (And of course we wish our Buckeyes good luck in the Gator Bowl.) I'll be taking some time with family next week, so you can expect my next update in January, 2012.

Dean Lonnie King