Tag: veterinary medicine (Page 3 of 4)

Evening of Gratitude: Investing in Future Leaders

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” – Albert Schweitzer

Scholarship recipients

Student scholarship recipients at the 2016 Evening of Gratitude.

One of the most inspiring events that I have the privilege to oversee in my role as dean is our Evening of Gratitude, an annual celebration that brings together our generous donors with student scholarship recipients. It is a night that reminds everyone in attendance the value of philanthropy in the lives of our students. This was another record year for us, as we distributed $2.5 million in scholarships and another $4.2 million in grants for our students. This level of support is another reason why we are #1 ranked in veterinary medicine. We are deeply grateful for the generous support of our individual, association and corporate scholarship donors who made these new and continuing awards possible.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz ('82) with student Hana Link (Class of 2018).

Dr. Bernadine Cruz (’82) with student Hana Link (Class of 2018).

At the event, I highlighted some of those donors, including new scholarships in One Health from Dr. Bernadine Cruz (UC Davis, SVM Class of 1982) and her friend Megan Lewis. Many of our alumni support scholarships, especially through their reunion class celebrations; we now have 25 classes with endowed scholarships.

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Celebrating Success and Envisioning the Future

“Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.” – William Pollard

#1 rankingWith the announcement today that our school has been ranked for the second straight year as #1 in veterinary science in the latest QS World University Rankings, we celebrate our success and envision the future.

This latest ranking is a tribute to our people and programs and is a well-deserved recognition of their dedication to provide innovative and compassionate clinical care, make ground-breaking discoveries, and educate the next generation of leaders in veterinary medicine. This achievement would not be possible without the commitment of our supportive university collaborators and administrators, alumni, community volunteers, and philanthropic partners who have invested their time and resources into making us the best-in-class among veterinary institutions.

Dr. Xinbin Chen in one of his research laboratories in the Center for Companion Animal Health (CCAH) at theUniversity of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Chen is part of the The Comparative Cancer Center, within the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis, brings together a team of veterinary clinicians and researchers working to end suffering caused by cancer and finding new treatments in the process.

Founded upon a principal that we will discover new knowledge to advance the health of animals, people, and the environment, this past year we continued to lead the nation in total research funding among veterinary colleges and schools. Our clinical programs treated more than 50,000 animal patients last year, while raising the standards of care for animals through an ever-expanding clinical trials program.

Educating the next generation of leaders in veterinary medicine, research, and public service, we annually train more than 550 DVM students with a curriculum built on modern adult-learning theory that is designed and delivered by acclaimed faculty and staff members. Our specialty training programs consistently produce leaders that set the standard in veterinary specialty practice. Our graduate students and postdoctoral scientists create new scientific knowledge that changes existing paradigms and challenges existing scientific thinking while opening new worlds of discovery. Our research and service programs extend throughout California and around the world. Our clinicians and scientists work collaboratively across disciplines to advance both human and animal health in subjects ranging from cancer to environmental toxicology.

22281894694_ed6f62710f_kWhile we rejoice, we must not become complacent. We have much left to achieve if we to accomplish our strategic goals and keep our preeminent position. Our many challenges are a reflection of those faced in higher education and in our society. We are confronted by the constant challenge of balancing our resources from the State of California, while seeking new partnerships that help us invest in our amazing programs. We must use novel ways to bridge across disciplines to expand career opportunities for our students and to build teams that create new ways to understand our world and gleam new discoveries from the massive amounts of data that surrounds us.

Our efforts to become a more diversified, dynamic, and inclusive community must not waiver if we are to grow stronger in facing the future. Our researchers’ work is to understand how life works, but they will need to constantly seek new ways to approach their science if they are to find solutions that address societal needs. We live during a time of human-made influences that have altered our planet in unprecedented ways, creating new paradigms for how we must restore our environment and learn how to be better stewards of our natural resources to improve the lives of animals and people.

Thus, while we take a moment to celebrate, we must embrace the same values and principles that brought us to this moment in time, as we prepare for the future and what lies ahead.

Supporting Each Other Leads to Success

“Start by doing what’s necessary, then do what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”  — Saint Francis of Assisi

CAPES surgeryIn doing our daily work we sometimes can feel overwhelmed by the pressures of our jobs, events in our lives, or the demands we place on ourselves. Our society, families, and our careers can seem to demand more from us than we are capable of delivering. For veterinarians this has been described in a variety of terms, including “compassion fatigue.” Whether you are a graduate or veterinary student, staff or faculty member, or even a dean, we all may feel overwhelmed at times.

Our ability to be resilient during times of stress may be drained by things beyond our control, leading us to feel we are alone and our tasks ahead of us impossible to complete. In our school and university, we have many resources to support the mental health and wellness of our people. New efforts have been created to bring that support in public view to be shared for the benefit of all, including the new campaign, “Each Aggie Matters.”

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Era of Change for Veterinary Medicine

“First comes thought; then organization of that thought, into ideas and plans; then transformation of those plans into reality. The beginning, as you will observe, is in your imagination.” – Napoleon Hill

STAR postersWe live in a world that constantly changes, challenging us to evolve with it. Our school is undergoing such a transformation, reflected in improvements in our medicine and science, new educational models, and students challenging learning paradigms. In our daily lives outside of work we observe economic, environmental, and societal forces seemingly beyond our control. New infectious diseases, climate change, and a moving political landscape are a few examples of change to which we must adapt, today and in the future.

A recent report from the University of California, Office of the President (UCOP), is focused on the future of veterinary medicine, and projects an “Era of Change.” I would encourage all of you to read the report and reflect on its findings and recommendations. Veterinary medicine, biomedical and agricultural sciences are in a dynamic period of change that will bring new opportunities and challenges to all of us. The UCOP report illustrates current veterinary workforce data and future opportunities that will help guide the University of California forward to enhance the health sciences workforce. The report illustrates the critical role that veterinarians have in addressing the health needs in our society as well as the leadership position of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

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Looking to the Future

“We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future.” – George Bernard Shaw

Time Magazine Video Unit videotapes Laboratory Technician Cheyenne Coxon in the One Health Institute Laboratory for an upcoming feature on the One Health program.

Time Magazine Video Unit videotapes Laboratory Technician Cheyenne Coxon in the One Health Institute Laboratory for an upcoming feature on the One Health program.

As I look toward the future of the School, I am struck by the incredible impact our people make in our society, advancing the health of animals, people, and the planet. This past year brought us many accolades as we relished the accomplishments of our students, staff, and faculty. The numerous stories that originated from our dedication ranged from cases of individual animals that were made healthy by the exceptional care provided by our talented clinicians and staff, to major discoveries that will set the stage for research into problems faced by our society.

Whitney Engler (who died in 2015 shortly before graduating) and her dog Rosie.

Whitney Engler (who died in 2015 shortly before graduating) and her dog Rosie.

We also had heartbreak in 2015 with the tragic death of one of our students, and we suffered along with the victims from the Valley and Butte fires. Most of these events could not have been predicted at the beginning of 2015, but we faced them with the courage and dedication that make us a global leader in veterinary medicine and biomedical sciences.

We have many ambitious goals for 2016, including the opening of two major facilities: the Veterinary Medicine Student Services and Administration building and the new South Valley California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory in Tulare.

South Valley California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory in Tulare

South Valley California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory in Tulare

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Embracing Diversity, Opening Doors

“Our workforce and our entire economy are strongest when we embrace diversity to its fullest, and that means opening doors of opportunity to everyone and recognizing that the American Dream excludes no one.” – Thomas Perez

IMG_0142As our nation continues to struggle to find consensus on issues related to diversity and inclusion, we find the School of Veterinary Medicine fully engaged in strengthening our mission through our diversity of talent, ideas, and skills. Our school embraces diversity and inclusion as essential values of the educational environment and the veterinary profession, and we have linked our success to these values.

diversity1We understand that diversity incorporates the assortment of personal experiences, principles, and world views that originate from differences of culture and condition. To fully address our mission to serve society and train the next generation of leaders in science and veterinary medicine, we must foster and attract the best and the brightest individuals who represent the world we seek to influence.

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Our Compassion Brings Hope for the Future

“Our human compassion binds us the one to the other – not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.” – Nelson Mandela

The horrific events of mass killings in San Bernardino shocked all of us and made our world feel less safe and more uncertain. These emotions were particularly felt by our faculty, staff, and students who were at the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory in San Bernardino, located close to the terror event. In those frantic moments immediately following the shootings, their laboratory was on lockdown and, like others near the tragedy, they faced the fear of not knowing what was happening or if those they loved were safe or knew that they were safe.

Rachel Ferris, a third year DVM student, delivers a holiday gift basket to a client at the Mercer Clinic for the Pets of the Homeless in Sacramento. The compassion shown to clients at the clinic brings them hope in times of difficulty.

Rachel Ferris, a third year DVM student, delivers a holiday gift basket to a client at the Mercer Clinic for the Pets of the Homeless in Sacramento. The compassion shown to clients at the clinic brings them hope in times of difficulty.

When an event of that magnitude strikes close to us, we all feel less safe, and face a common reaction of fear and insecurity. A natural reaction following a senseless act of violence is hopelessness and a sense we have no power over the evil we know exists in our world. It is during times like these that we all need to move past our fears and reach out to those most affected by these tragic situations.

Our strength in the school is our ability to be compassionate and to use that emotion to guide us as healers for our animal patients and the people who are connected to those animals. The recent events in California and the world also remind us that we must also comfort those in need with a kind word, gesture, or hug, and let them know that we understand their fears and anxieties. While we may not be able to affect major changes in our society, we can control our own actions toward each other.

Our clinicians practice compassion on a daily basis in caring for animals.

Our clinicians practice compassion on a daily basis in caring for animals.

Now would be a good time to contact the people who work in the laboratory at San Bernardino and let them know that we understand their apprehension and sense of vulnerability following the terror event that occurred near them. While we are offering resources of support for those affected by the stress of the aftermath of a terror event and enhanced security measures for the laboratory, we must also understand that the human touch, an outreached hand or gesture of random kindness, goes a long ways to let people in need feel less insecure.

With our colleagues in San Bernardino, we share in the common mission of our jobs and in our reaction to tragic events. As we all face an uncertain future, we must come together to support each other and, in that moment, find new strength. Our people and their character to endure in the face of adversity must be balanced by sharing our common grief and sadness when tragedy strikes. In joining in our moment of weakness, we will find our common sense of humanity to help us understand the darkness, while keeping our faith in the future.

 

 

 

 

A Season of Gratitude

Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” – William Arthur Ward

appreciation dinnerDuring this Thanksgiving season, it is a good time to reflect on the blessings we have in our lives. Taking the time to be thankful helps to enrich our lives and links us together. As I consider what I am thankful for, many people and programs across our school come to mind. Recently, leaders of the veterinary hospital joined my office to express our gratitude at a dinner held to honor all of the volunteers, staff, faculty, and students who helped during the Valley and Butte fires. These dedicated individuals characterize the compassion inherent in those drawn to help animals and people during a time of crisis.

Our veterinary students have formed a new “Gratitude Committee” as part of their efforts to holistically address wellness and mental health. They are reaching out to those who touch their lives to express their thankfulness for enriching their school experiences. These students understand the emotional power of saying “thank you,” not only on those they acknowledge, but also on those who give thanks.

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Walk the Walk of Mentorship

“The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.” – Steven Spielberg

Companion Exotic Animal Medicine & Surgery Service (CAPES) resident Dr. Miranda Sadar (right), accompanied by student Athena Gianopoulos and staff, prep and neuter a pet rabbit at the veterinary hospital.

Companion Exotic Animal Medicine & Surgery Service (CAPES) resident Dr. Miranda Sadar (right), accompanied by student Athena Gianopoulos and staff, prep and neuter a pet rabbit at the veterinary hospital.

At the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, we are in the business of mentoring on a daily basis.  An important aspect of our educational mission as we train the next generation of leaders in veterinary medicine and science is creating an environment that fosters best practices in mentoring. Faculty, staff, deans, and students all benefit from being mentored and if each of us thought for a minute, we could likely recall a key mentor in our lives that helped guide us at critical junctions in our careers.

There are various types of mentors. A mentor can serve the purpose to inform a mentee about a field of study or become more involved as a career mentor devoted to the professional development of their mentee. A life mentor often provides guidance beyond professional career growth and may discuss wellness and the balance of work-life with those they advise. Peers can be effective mentors and provide more informal guidance.

Students meet with prospective employers at the 2015 Career and Networking Night organized by the Career and Wellness Center.

Students meet with prospective employers at the 2015 Career and Networking Night organized by the Career and Wellness Center.

To be an effective primary mentor for someone requires a synthesis of all of the advice and information, and the ability to map a pathway for the professional and personal growth of the person who is being mentored. Regardless of the type of mentor-mentee relationship, effective mentoring is the joint responsibility of the academic or program unit, the faculty or clinician advisors, and the person who is the mentee. To this end, we have developed the SVM Career, Leadership and Wellness Center,  which offers numerous professional and career development services to support the success of our DVM students.

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Linking the Past to Our Future

“History is not a burden on the memory but an illumination of the soul.” – Lord Acton

This past weekend our school held its annual “Alumni Weekend,” welcoming back to campus selected veterinary classes from 1952 to 2005. Since the first graduates emerged from Haring Hall in 1952, our school has prepared more than 5,000 men and women for careers in clinical veterinary practice, research, public service and academia. Many of our alumni have become leaders in their community, teachers, researchers and scientists of international stature. The success of our alumni is one of the primary reasons that the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine is internationally recognized as a global leader in veterinary medicine, agricultural, public health, and biomedical research.

A new website has been created to highlight the history of the school and to remind our alumni that they are part of our collective history. This weekend solidified my belief that our alumni are a hidden strength to our current success—a vital link to our past and a foundation for our future.

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