March 19, 2012

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students:

College Updates

Saturday was a big day for our Third Year students: the Class of 2013 celebrated moving into their clinical year at the annual White Coat Ceremony, held at the Ohio Union. According to Sandra Dawkins in Student Affairs, we hosted nearly 1,200 family and friends at this event. I appreciate being a part of this ceremony, as do our faculty and other student mentors who are asked to assist students with donning their white coats for the first time.

Our graduate students are highly regarded scholars across campus and we like to acknowledge how much they add to our college, and contribute to our mission. Three of our incoming graduate students have been awarded University Graduate Fellowships. These highly-competitive awards provide a one-year tuition waiver and monthly stipend.We congratulate and recognize the following three students: Bonnie Harrington, Ohio State DVM, incoming PhD student and pathology resident; Krizia Melendez, Ohio State BS in Agriculture (Diversity Fellowship); and Zunlong Ke, BS, Wuhan University, who will be working with Dr. Li Wu, associate professor in Veterinary Biosciences. In addition, a fourth nominee has been selected to receive a college-allocated award for graduate studies: Elizabeth Clark, BS and DVM from the University of Illinois, an incoming PhD student and pathology resident. 

Several of our graduate students deserve congratulations after their success at the annual Hayes Graduate Research Forum, which celebrates research being conducted through graduate programs across campus. Three students were selected to give podium presentations, and two of those presenters won awards:   Dr. Jarred Williams (mentors Drs. Liz Santschi, Alan Litsky, and Matthew Allen) received second place for his presentation and Dr. Joelle Fenger (mentors Drs. London and Kisseberth) was awarded third place. Dr. Rajeswaren Mani (mentor Dr. Natarajan Muthusamy), was also selected to present. Two of our students gave poster presentations: Dr. Santiago Bas (mentor Dr. Gustavo Schuenemann) and Mr. Zac VanGundy, (mentor Dr. Tracey Papenfuss). The work of our graduate students continues quietly in our labs, and I appreciate this opportunity to recognize the great work they are doing. There are 123 graduate students who are part of our college, and we are very proud of their many accomplishments. We will all have a chance to view their posters at our annual Research Day, coming on April 12. This year's keynote speaker is Ohio State alumnus Dr. Steven Arnoczky (DVM 1972). He is the Wade O. Brinker Endowed Professor of Surgery in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State University and director of the Laboratory for Comparative Orthopedic Research. He is an outstanding speaker and we look forward to hosting him.

Campus Updates and Partnerships

We continue to focus on building new alliances and partnerships across campus. The Health Sciences are working together to collaborate on global health programs. Many of the health science colleges already have established programs in Africa, for example. In our college, Dr. Wondwossen Gebreyes is working to establish stronger ties for training and scholar exchange with a consortium that includes Addis Ababa University, the University of Nairobi, and Sokoine University; Dr. Rebecca Garabed received an NSF grant for her work in the Chad Basin in Cameroon, which includes collaborators in the College of Arts and Sciences, and the College of Public Health. New partnerships in the health sciences will leverage existing programs and expand opportunities for learning and research for our faculty and students.

The health science colleges are also working with Christine Poon, dean of the Fisher College of Business to design business courses specifically to meet the needs of our health science students. The goal is to develop competencies for students to improve performance in small business and health care systems. We will be meeting with Provost Joe Alutto to finalize this program and gain approval.

State and National Issues

Nationally, economic issues continue to be important to everyone, and especially to our industry. The AVMA and AAVMA hosted an economic summit in Washington, D. C. last week. Key economic issues discussed included: the need for wellness and more preventive medicine for companion animals; student debt; new opportunities for veterinarians in public practice such as disease surveillance, environmental risk assessment, and emergency preparedness and response; and consolidation of veterinary education resources.

Several of us were involved in visits with our congressional representatives to make sure our key issues are on their list for legislative action. Issues include: Student loan repayment programs, developing nationally recognized Centers of Excellence; assuring the continuation of research dollars for animal agriculture; increasing the budgets for USDA and the NIH; and adding veterinary students to the NIH loan repayment program along with other health science professionals. Right now, veterinary students are not included as part of the health sciences, and we need to change that. We also discussed local interest in establishing a veterinary practice in the Appalachian region

Upcoming Events

We are planning the third annual Focus-Forward Weekend for July 19-21, 2012, and will be focusing on “Designing the Next Model for Veterinary Medical Education.” This theme follows the discussions from the previous two events. The first year, the theme "Charting the Course for the Future of Veterinary Medicine" looked at five areas that presented significant challenges and opportunities for veterinary medicine: service and veterinary care for animals; global food systems; biomedical research; public health/one health; and ecosystem management. The significant impact of economic issues and especially student debt became part of all the other discussions. Last year, the focus was "The Financial Future of Veterinary Medicine." The theme for 2012 will encourage discussions for expanding the training methods for future veterinary students.

This week is "spring break" for students at Ohio State, including our veterinary students. This marks the end of the last winter quarter at OSU, and March 26 will signify the beginning of the final spring quarter at the university. The official switch to semesters will take place on June 18, and we are already anticipating a short summer, with classes starting again on August 23. Preparation for conversion from quarters to semesters was a group effort over the past three years that involved many faculty and staff. I want to thank all of the faculty and staff who have spent so much time evaluating our curriculum and making important changes as we move to the semester system, especially Drs. Steve DiBartola, Lynn Olsen, Clare Allen, and the other members of both the semester conversion task force and the Curriculum Committee who spent many hours planning and implementing the conversion of the professional curriculum. Drs. Kathy Boris-Lawrie, Andy Hillier, Pat Green and other members of the Graduate Studies committee made preparations for conversion of the graduate program. Staff in Educational Design and Systems (Trudy Busby, Lori Once, and Theresa LeMaster) and the Office of Research and Graduate Studies (Michele Morscher and Janelle Henderson) also played important roles in making semester conversion a reality, as well as each faculty member who has had to adjust their syllabus for a new calendar.

I would like to acknowledge our Distinguished Alumni awardees: Drs Robert L. Hamlin, Gregory Parham, Robert Sherding, Tony Forshey, and John Stick. They will be recognized at this year’s Oath and Hooding ceremony, with the exception of Dr. Forshey, who will be recognized in 2013, when his son Brandon Forshey will receive his diploma.

Finally, I'd like to remind all of our college staff that our first Staff Forum is planned for this Tuesday, March 20 at noon in the VMC auditorium. I look forward to seeing you and answering any questions you have.


Dean Lonnie King