“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” – William Shakespeare
As I begin my second term as dean of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, I am humbled and honored to continue to lead an institution that is the global leader in veterinary medicine. Our vision over the next five years will undoubtedly continue to be guided by the desire to lead veterinary medicine and address societal needs. As we advance the health of animals, people, and the environment, we must continue to examine how we can refine our goals and tactics if we are to remain a world leader.
To continue to educate leaders in veterinary medicine in all its many facets, we will need to seek out ways to diversify our faculty, staff, and students to fully reflect our society. We must continue to expand our innovative programs to recruit students who are both academically strong, but also reflect the demographics of the society they seek to serve. They cannot all be focused on one career path, but be trained in and willing to serve in the vast array of careers offered to veterinarians and scientists with unique biomedical knowledge and skills. Our faculty must be leaders in their fields, to maintain our leadership position in research, education, and service, but also reflect the diversity of our society.
Using a One Health approach, our school leads the world in high-impact transdisciplinary research benefitting both animals and people. We must be willing to invest in research in new ways, constantly challenging dogma with the latest technology available. Our ability to acquire and utilize data will drive us in new and exciting ways to predict outcomes from our research. Keeping at the forefront of scientific discovery will allow us to attract and train the brightest clinical specialists, graduate students, and postdoctoral scientists who will help us understand the basis of how life processes work to create the treatments of tomorrow. Translating our science to help educate the public and government leaders will be a continuing challenge we must directly face to have maximum impact in policies and public understanding of the natural world.
With our long history of inquiry, discovery and collaboration, we have helped transform veterinary medicine from a primarily livestock-oriented health profession to one that encompasses stewardship of all animal species, to be the guardian of public health, and protector of ecosystem balance and environmental health. We envision the clinical environment of the future as we plan the Veterinary Medical Center. I have asked our faculty to imagine how their discipline and clinical practice will change over the next decades to dream of the innovations that will influence how we diagnose, treat, and cure animals in the future. Our vision for the future of veterinary medicine brings a community of scholars, clinicians and veterinary students closer together. We see expanded opportunities for collaborative partnerships to advance animal health and celebrate the animal patient and client experience. Each element of the Veterinary Medical Center design will facilitate an integrated, efficient approach to patient care, with immediate access to new technologies, to diagnose and treat our animal patients, and continually raise the standard of veterinary care.
Our impact in the world will be linked to our ability to develop and foster existing and new partnerships with government, private industry, stakeholders, community leaders, and the public. We must address the issues facing our society in California and the world. Our leadership in protecting animal health and our food supply will require us to vigorously engage with key stakeholders in animal agriculture. Our ability to listen to, educate, and collaborate with government agencies and public representatives will allow us to be recognized as leaders making a difference in the world. In a time of declining state budget support, changes in the campus budget models, and increasing dependence on other sources of funding, we must continue to recognize the need to develop new, sustainable sources of revenue. This will mean continued efforts to translate our discoveries to markets that may generate revenues to reinvest in our people and our programs. Philanthropy from many sources will continue to be critical for us to fully realize our goals. We must also continue to enhance our communications and marketing efforts to promote our expertise, discoveries, services and contributions to further promote public understanding and recognition. The recruitment, retention, and cultivation of outstanding faculty and staff will remain a key element to the school’s success.
Finally, our support of the continued education and well being of our faculty, students, and staff will require us to cultivate and promote a positive community climate. It is our obligation to build and maintain a culture and climate based on mutual respect and caring in all aspects of our school. Our destiny is within us, to create through our plans, dreams, and actions.