Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine looks to expand reach, impact
At the June meeting of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors, Gregory B. Daniel, interim dean of the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, outlined the college’s ongoing efforts, underscoring their alignment with the university’s goals, and discussed forthcoming programs and facilities that will expand the veterinary college’s reach and impact.
The multicampus college embodies a One Health approach to research, education, and service, embracing the dynamic interdependence of animal, human, and environmental health. This inclusive methodology, Daniel explained, is integral to interdisciplinary and translational research that aims to protect and improve the well-being of people, animals, and communities locally, nationally, and globally.
Along with the college’s interdisciplinary research strengths in infectious disease and immunity, chronic inflammatory disease, neuroscience, epidemiology, and population health, and its focused work to translate research findings from bench to bedside to improve animal and human health, the college’s dedication to working across disciplines is exemplified by the construction of its newest facility, the Comparative Oncology Research Center (CORC).
A state-of-the-art clinical and research hub slated to open in spring 2020 in Roanoke, Virginia, CORC is situated adjacent to the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and will be a vital component of the Virginia Tech Carilion Health Sciences and Technology Campus. The center’s location capitalizes on the capacity to integrate researchers across disciplines investigating animal and human health, conducting translational oncology research, and advancing comprehensive cancer care across species.
Highlighting the college’s commitment to providing students with diverse, hands-on experiences, Daniel also discussed a seminal partnership with the Humane Rescue Alliance (HRA). A new clinical rotation at HRA’s medical center in Washington, D.C., allows veterinary medicine students to develop essential skills in general surgical and primary care to an underserved population and exposes them to animal welfare and shelter medicine in an urban environment.
The externship adds to a growing number of educational opportunities in the National Capital Region, which include clinical training at the college's Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center (EMC) in Leesburg, Virginia, and a variety of small animal, equine, and farm animal private practices in the area, as well as unique training experiences through federal agencies and other D.C.-area partners in the public and corporate practice communities.
On the horizon, Daniel noted the expansion and remodeling of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital on the Blacksburg campus, the continued upgrade of the Center for One Health Research, and the ongoing renovation of facilities and growth in services at EMC. These projects not only sustain the college’s top-notch diagnostic and clinical service programs, but also enrich the student experience and better support the college’s patients, clients, and constituents.
In total, such endeavors are proving especially attractive to prospective students. The college’s Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.) program, which will welcome its 40th class in the fall, has ranked second nationally in the number of veterinary program applicants for five consecutive years. The Class of 2023 received 1,853 applicants for 120 available spots, a testament to both the program’s competitiveness and its appeal.
The Class of 2023 will be the fourth cohort to participate in the college’s revised D.V.M. curriculum, which emphasizes integration of courses, team-based learning, and experiential education in the teaching hospitals and during clerkships while maintaining the tracking curriculum that allows students to focus on their primary area of interest. Students also can pursue their individual career interests across a range of domestic animal species and private, public, and corporate practices.
In addition to the college’s D.V.M, M.S. and Ph.D. programs in biomedical and veterinary sciences, and Master of Public Health, Daniel announced that Virginia Tech’s new B.S. in public health (BSPH), administered through the Public Health Program within the college’s Department of Population Health Sciences, will admit its first students in the fall. Well integrated with the veterinary medical and graduate degree programs, the BSPH program is positioned to evolve the college’s overarching commitment to One Health.
Since its establishment in 1978, the veterinary college has trained scores of large and small animal clinicians, basic and clinical research scientists, and public health practitioners charged with protecting and enhancing animal, human, and environmental health and welfare around the world.