Tag: leadership (Page 2 of 3)

Education as a Tool for the Future

“Education is not a tool for development – individual, community and the nation. It is the foundation for our future. It is empowerment to make choices and emboldens the youth to chase their dreams.” – Nita Ambani

Members of the Class of 2017 came to us nearly four years ago to begin their journey of obtaining a DVM degree. Here they recite the veterinarian’s oath during their induction ceremony.

As our graduates start their journey into the world, we are inspired by their thirst for knowledge, energy, and new ideas. They come to us seeking to be enlightened and in turn shine their radiance on us, stimulating us by sharing their dreams. Throughout their time here, they have challenged us to be better mentors and create opportunities for them to change the world. Our graduate students have discovered insights into topics ranging from the protection of our environment to mechanisms of cancer. Our house officers will be bringing their special skills to grateful clients throughout the world, expanding treatments and setting new standards of care. Our veterinary students will now be called “doctor” for the first time and disperse into fields ranging from private practice to public health, each determined to make a difference in the lives of their animal patients and humankind.

Seems like yesterday that the Class of 2016 were celebrating their commencement.

As our students, residents, and graduate students leave us, they remind us of the power of youth and dreams. Their educational journey started with their desire to gain the knowledge and skills to advance animal, human, or environmental health. They are starting into the post-graduation realm during a time of great possibilities, and many challenges. Each new graduate joins an illustrious history of UC Davis. They have enhanced the school’s legacy of producing leaders who will make a positive impact in the world. For our faculty and staff, I would ask you to reach out to those leaving and discuss their plans for the future; ask them to take a moment to reflect on their time and their fond memories, and forgive us of our short comings. Ask them to believe in themselves, as you know they have worked through difficult years of study to arrive at the place they are now.

In a few short weeks, the members of the Class of 2017 will wear graduation robes in place of these white coats.

We have provided them the tools to change the world, but it is their drive and creativity that allow them to achieve their vision. They came to us to learn, and in the process, taught us many life lessons. Each one of them have expanded the school’s history with their own distinctive stories. Their challenge will be to extend their talents beyond the classroom, clinic, and laboratory to venture into communities across the globe and build the future. Our students come to us as strangers and leave as friends and colleagues that have formed enduring bonds that will last our lifetimes.

Enhancing Global Food Security

You must look within for value, but must look beyond for perspective.”- Denis Waitley

The Health for Animals and Livelihood Improvement (HALI) Project is a collaborative research and capacity building program investigating health at human-animal-environment interfaces in Tanzania.

Recently, I was privileged to be an invited speaker at the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Global Food Security Summit: Understanding the Role of Animal Health and Well Being in Washington D.C. The summit participants included a diverse group of organizations discussing the positive benefits of public and private stakeholder partnerships and the veterinary community to promote and enhance global food security. Among other goals, the summit defined the role of animal source foods in enhancing global food security and described ways to improve animal health to create a more secure, sustainable, safe, and nutritious food supply in areas of global food insecurity.

Participants of the summit were made aware of the stark reality that approximately 75 percent of the world’s poorest people get their food and income by farming small plots of land, and the critical role of animal-sourced proteins in the first 1000 days of life to prevent malnutrition and childhood stunting. It is relatively easy to lose perspective for the plight of the world’s poor in the developed world where food sources are taken for granted. In our daily lives, it is assumed we will have access to multiple sources of nutritious food, even though we may make poor choices in the foods we choose to eat.

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Entering a Brave New Phase

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

A nearly completed student services and administration building

 As the year 2017 begins, our school is entering a brave new phase of development. Our vision to lead veterinary medicine and address societal needs requires us to never rest to seek novel ways to expand the horizons of our profession, seek expanded knowledge to understand life’s processes, and educate the next generation of veterinarians and scientists. This upcoming year will mark the opening of a student services and administration building, bringing together for the first time, teams that include information technology, student and academic programs, human and financial resources, development and alumni relations, and the dean’s office under one roof. The building will allow a more cohesive and integrated approach of these support teams to directly interact and serve the school. We are deeply grateful to our clients and campus leadership who provided the funding for the project. In addition, a new Scrubs Cafeteria will open in March, providing an expanded menu and enhanced services for the Health Sciences District. This next phase of development will provide a fresh gateway to our campus from the Arboretum, reminding us of our responsibilities to safe guard the health of our environment.  

Surgeons and staff prepare a horse for arthroscopic surgery on it’s hock.

This year, we will further advance our plans for a comprehensive Veterinary Medical Center, focused on the initial phases that include an equine performance center, livestock and medicine facility improvements, and an all-species imaging center. The Veterinary Medical Center will transform the experiences of our animal patients and their human companions through innovative building designs, coordinated patient care, and unique technical advances. We have already begun the initial renovation of existing facilities to expand exam room space and test prototype designs for the future small animal hospital phases. The 10-year plan must be carefully choreographed to ensure that patient care operates smoothly throughout the coordinated phasing of the overall project. We have raised over $90 million dollars from university sources, foundations, and private donors to allow the initial designs of the project to remain on track. Our challenge will be to continue to seek funds from multiple sources to meet our ambitious goal to define the future of veterinary clinical and translational medicine. 

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Welcome Class of 2020: Students Today, Colleagues Tomorrow

Ultimately, education in its real sense is the pursuit of truth. It is an endless journey through knowledge and enlightenment.” A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

29279341312_2e6f9f86ef_kAs we welcome a new class of veterinary students into our UC Davis family, I am struck by how fast summer progressed. Perhaps the fast and turbulent times we live in causes us to forget to pause and observe our place in time. The academic journey is one of constant renewal as each new class of students comes to us to learn the knowledge and skills that will launch them into the world. Our new class of veterinary students, like so many before them, comes to us with their own histories, talents, and dreams. Each of them has their own story to share with us. As we teach them, they will impact our lives, adding to our own tapestry of experiences.

29099653030_401abc3069_kIn the incoming class we have admitted an amazing group of students with a variety of life experiences. Some are experienced bikers, which will fit well with a community that houses the United States Bicycle Hall of Fame! One of the incoming students biked from Vancouver to San Diego. Many students have interest in wildlife. One student served in Ecuador in wildlife conservation; some have worked with non-human primates and bats. These students are drawn to us from our strong history in wildlife conservation, illustrated by the work done in the Karen C. Drayer Wildlife Health Center.

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Upholding Principles of Community

“We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community… Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.” – Cesar Chavez

Christian Munevar, Class of 2019, at last year's welcoming ceremony.

Christian Munevar, Class of 2019, at last year’s welcoming ceremony.

While the summer is in full swing, we will soon be welcoming our new veterinary student class of 2020. Our Academic and Student Programs teams are busy developing the orientation of these new students as they prepare for the week-long introduction referred to as “Prologue.” From the very beginning, our new students will be welcomed into a diverse community of learners and will hear about our commitment to supporting an environment that supports diversity and inclusion. We strive from their first days with us to impress upon them our shared values and to set a tone for their education and their involvement in our UC Davis community.

Unfortunately, our community, like so many others across our nation, has been rocked by horrific acts of violence and social injustice. The actions of police shooting unarmed African American men and the resulting public outcry are painful reminders of how far our society still needs to go to fully realize social equality and mutual trust among our disenfranchised citizens and our law enforcement community. The hatred that resulted in the killing of police officers in Dallas and Louisiana illustrate again how fringe members of our society can be triggered into violence in the midst of social unrest. Worldwide terror events remind us how fragile life can be when hate, distrust and ignorance rule the actions of a few.

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A Vision for our Future

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” – William Shakespeare

Dean Michael Lairmore listens to a speaker at this year's commencement ceremony.

Dean Michael Lairmore listens to a speaker at this year’s commencement ceremony.

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.

Blanca Camacho, a 2016 graduate, checks on a dog prepared for treatment with the linear accelerator.

Blanca Camacho, a 2016 graduate, checks on a dog prepared for treatment with the linear accelerator.

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.

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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.

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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