Tag: veterinary medicine Page 1 of 5

Celebrating Love and Compassion

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.” –Dalai Lama

The month of February has special meaning to many of us because of the celebrations surrounding Valentine’s Day. It is a day that has evolved over time beyond romantic love to include expressions of love in many forms. For our School we have the great privilege of observing the love of animals on a daily basis, as we celebrate the human-animal bond.

I have found that a good way to open conversations is to ask people if they have pets or if they are a pet parent. Typically, this question leads to favorite stories of how animals have touched their emotions or influenced their lives. Animals can bring out the truest forms of love in people, evoking the best versions of our humanity. Our interactions with animals have demonstrable benefits in promoting healthy lifestyles and in supporting those with mental and physical disabilities. It is no surprise that our society has continued to embrace the human-animal bond in these turbulent and strident times. We seek from animals what at times seems unavailable from humans: unconditional love and boundless forgiveness.

Read More

Lighting the Way into the Future of Veterinary Medicine

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

The holiday season marks not only a joyous time to celebrate the past year, but the beginning of a new year with all of its promise and hopes for the future. For UC Davis Veterinary Medicine, the past year has been a mixture of tremendous accomplishments and extreme sadness. We have opened new avenues to understand diseases that impact our society and battled disasters in our backyard. Our teachers inspired a new generation of students and learned from them in the process. The contrasts are striking between the extreme optimism of the next generation we are privileged to teach, and the problems we struggle with on a daily basis.

Our plans are made and then disrupted by the reality of the constantly changing world around us. While our beliefs are strong, we are shaken by the stark reality that our democracy faces unprecedented challenges from those who believe scientific facts are a matter of belief versus sound principles of inquiry. As we look to the future we are reminded how connected the world is and how events are part of an interwoven story that connects us to each other and the natural world.

As we envision the future, we are reminded of that connection. Our School is in a privileged position to influence the health of animals and people, while understanding the connections we all have with the environment we must share. Our scientists have unraveled the hidden sources of possible future pandemics and uncovered new treatments for diseases that plague us. We are building new centers that will transform our approach to veterinary medicine and bring transdisciplinary approaches to unravel the complexity of life’s processes and stimulate our students to be lifelong learners.

Into the uncertainty of the future, we have created a new strategic plan to address our core mission and reinforce our shared values. Our global leadership position in veterinary sciences and the education of the next generation of veterinarians and scientists means we must face this responsibility by bringing our talents, ideas, and passion to our work on a daily basis.

I am constantly motivated by our collective strength to face our challenges and move forward to help our animal patients, create new knowledge of how life works, and inspire the creativity of our students. We share a common vision to advance the health of animals, people, and the planet. This unique responsibility will light our way and lead us towards the future.

A Year of Innovation and Discovery

Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”– Steve Jobs

As the year of 2018 comes to a close, it is a good time to celebrate our accomplishments.  For the school, this past year was a time of innovations and discoveries in multiple areas of our mission—from basic science to community building.

DVM students welcomed into our Class of 2022.

We welcomed a diverse incoming class of students who are academically gifted and prepared to serve in our global society. They joined and strengthened a community united by our common sense of purpose to serve society.

Talented teams of researchers, clinicians, students, and staff used novel techniques and approaches. They advanced new treatments and helped answer fundamental questions to explain our world and advance the health of animals, people, and our planet.

Read More

Gratitude and Hope in the Midst of Tragedy

“Sometimes we should express our gratitude for the small and simple things like the scent of the rain, the taste of your favorite food, or the sound of a loved one’s voice. “ – Joseph B. Wirthlin

Galen Groff, a 3rd year DVM student, and Dr. Karen Park, a surgical resident, finish bandaging one of the cats rescued from the Camp Fire. He was later identified as Mayson and reunited with his owner.

As we look skyward through the gray smoke that hovers over us, waiting for the winter rains, it is a good time to reflect on the blessings around us each day.

A holiday to express gratitude following the deadly California fires over the past several weeks is both timely and healing. From tragedy comes hope as we observe all those who came to help the animals and people affected by the fire.

Read More

Honoring Our Alumni—Foundation to Our Success

The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.” –Oprah Winfrey

We recently hosted the combined Fall Festival and Alumni Reunion allowing us to welcome back our alumni to celebrate their memories of their time with us, their life accomplishments since graduation, and their contributions to the legacy of our school. The gathering featured major milestones for our alumni highlighted by events focused on the 50th and 60th reunions of the Classes of 1968 and 1958, respectively. During our traditional Rose Ceremony, we took time to focus on the Class of 1968 celebrating their 50th anniversary, in a poignant and heartwarming affair in which classmates shared stories, both humorous and touching, about themselves and those that have been lost over the years.

I was particularly impressed by our Friday evening festivities, kicked off with special appearances by Gunrock (the UC Davis mascot) and an energetic performance by the UC Davis marching “Band-uh,” while alumni and current students enjoyed a BBQ dinner. After entertainment by the Uncovered band (comprised of several of our talented staff), current students took part in a talent show. Their singing, dancing, instrumental playing, and spirit overwhelmed many of our alumni who were impressed by our students’ energy, maturity, and talent.

Read More

Curiosity is Key to Knowledge

Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning.” –William Arthur Ward

Dean Michael Lairmore greets attendees at the Spring Showcase.

A basic characteristic to becoming a good student, an astute researcher, or insightful clinician is curiosity. The ability to ask questions to learn new information and explore new paths of knowledge is forged from the trait of being inquisitive. Our school has led veterinary medicine and contributed to fundamental knowledge in biomedical and agricultural research by talented faculty, staff, and students who seek new and innovative ways to advance the health of animals, people, and our planet. Many of these advances were on full display at our Spring Showcase, an annual event to highlight the accomplishments and aspirations of the Centers for Companion Animal Health (CCAH), Center for Equine Health (CEH), and our Karen C. Drayer Wildlife Health Center (KCDWHC).

Dr. Michael Kent, on left, chats with donors attending the Spring Showcase.

The CCAH, led by Director Dr. Michael Kent, continues to build upon a rich history of advancing the health of companion animals through research grants, resident project funds, and equipment grants. At the Showcase, Dr. Kent reviewed how the CCAH provided over $1.5 million in research support this past year, made possibly by generous donations from grateful clients, foundations, and individuals united in their passion to help discover new ways to help animals through studies to solve the toughest problems faced in veterinary medicine. In turn, those faculty, residents, and students who are the beneficiaries of this support have responded by creating new knowledge that is at the leading edge of understanding in veterinary medicine. From the discovery of genetic clues to explain diseases in chondrodysplasia in dogs and humans, to bringing new hope to shelter animals through evidenced-based studies to reduce disease and increase adoptions, CCAH funded investigators envision ideas that lead to innovative solutions in animal health.

Read More

Resiliency as a Critical Component of Success

Man never made any material as resilient as the human spirit.”- Bernard Williams

Members of the Class of 2018 during their White Coat ceremony in 2014 at their induction into veterinary school.

As commencement season begins, my thoughts turn to our new graduates who will soon receive their DVM degree. Since the establishment of the school in 1948, we have been leaders in veterinary medicine by working to benefit the health of animals, people, and the environment in California and beyond. Our school, and its alumni, have shaped the field of veterinary medicine, from developing innovative education programs to discovering mechanisms of animal and human diseases. Our new graduates join this legacy.

The Class of 2018 came to us with an intense desire to gain the skills of this great profession and a passion to advance animal health. They are graduating into a world of great promise, and many challenges. Along the way, they have enriched the school’s history with their own unique characteristics that bonded them to each other and to those that trained them. The many hours of study and exams, along with the countless time spent with their animal patients, are the tip of the iceberg of the journey it took to get them to this moment. Each of them has their own unique story to tell. Each of them has overcome barriers, faced doubt from others and in themselves, or may have endured heartbreaking events that changed their path along this voyage.

Importantly, they would not be at this touchstone along their career unless they possessed a trait that is critical to anyone’s success in life—a characteristic as important as the knowledge learned in veterinary school. They had to be resilient in their own way. Resiliency is defined as the ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.

Read More

Celebrating Diversity as a Source of Strength

The moment we believe that success is determined by an ingrained level of ability as opposed to resilience and hard work, we will be brittle in the face of adversity.” -Joshua Waitzkin

As I watched our students celebrate our annual Diversity Day, I was impressed with their unity expressed through their voices, spirit, and talents. Our students’ energy reflected the strength that is exhibited when we celebrate our nation’s multicultural tapestry. We celebrate those that join us from various backgrounds and cultures, learning from each other as we come together with a common purpose to foster education, research, and service to society.

It is no surprise that in the business world, companies with top quartile diversity (defined as women and international representatives) on their executive boards, generated returns that were ~50% higher, on average, than the companies in the bottom diversity quartile. We should not be surprised that in our profession, when we harness the power of a diverse workforce, we better position ourselves to address society’s problems. Our school has consistently demonstrated our commitment to recruit a diverse workforce and student population. For example, we consistently rank in the top three institutions nationally in our numbers of under-represented groups for our veterinary professional students.

These statistics, while impressive, do not measure what empowers our students, faculty, and staff. Equally important to a successful and diverse workforce is resiliency. Diversity is synergistic with resiliency; mirror images of each other. When we open ourselves to learn from others and listen to their experiences, we draw strength from their ideas and history. The characteristic of a resilient person is not easy to quantify, as it is often only revealed after adversity is introduced to their lives, shattering their plans and perceptions of the future.

Read More

Excellence as a Result of Habit

Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” — Aristotle

The school has been recognized for the fourth year in a row as the #1 program in the world in veterinary science by QS World University Rankings. So how is excellence measured? It is my belief that the quality of any organization is built from the character, values, talent, and work ethics of its people. Without the habits of excellence brought to work each day by our faculty, staff, house officers, graduate students, and veterinary students, we would not be recognized as the global leader in veterinary medicine. While our buildings, laboratories, hospitals, and other resources are critical for us to do our work, we would be a far less effective organization if it were not for the quality of our people.

At the heart of what we do is the education of the next generation of veterinarians, research scientists, and veterinary specialists. Our educators work tirelessly to improve our curriculum, bringing outcome-driving, and adult-learning models to spark life-long learning as a habit in our trainees and students. The many hours our teachers and staff put into their lectures, teaching laboratories, notes, and course materials is paid back to them in the success of our graduates, who fill important jobs throughout the world in private practices, industry, and government. We seek to develop leaders in all facets of jobs that are filled by our alumni, and desire to reconnect with them as we delight in their successes.  

Read More

Love and Compassion–Essential to Humanity

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.” – Dalai Lama

On Valentine’s Day, we celebrate our love for others through gifts, flowers, or other expressions of our feelings. Daily, we may observe acts of love and compassion, but not fully appreciate how important these traits are to our feelings of fulfillment and belonging. We are fortunate to work in an environment that celebrates the human-animal bond, which at its core is a mutually beneficial relationship between animals and people, reflected in emotional, psychological, and physical interactions. Scientific research has verified the physiologic effects on both pet parents and dogs who are bonded. Anyone who has been emotionally touched by their pets understands the depths of our love for animals.

Dean Lairmore surrounded by students at the Knights Landing One Health clinic.

We extend our compassion to our community in a variety of outreach programs such as our student-run Mercer and Knights Landing Clinics. These clinics provide healthcare for pets of those in need, but who lack adequate resources. I recently visited our Knights Landing One Health Clinic on a busy Sunday morning. The clinic was a hub of activity with more than thirty students, volunteers, and clients gathered in the local community center. The compassion and dedication of our students was on full display as they interviewed clients and examined anxious pets on make-shift exam tables. Our students’ desire to serve the underserved of our society is a clear expression of their humanity.

Another form of compassion is expressed for our co-workers in their times of need. We express sympathy towards our co-workers following the loss of a family member or in times of severe stress. In addition, while less obvious, we show we care in small acts of daily kindness. The affirmative effects of kindness are experienced in the giver and to those that witness the act of kindness, spreading good feelings and positively influencing the work environment. As we envision our future, we must acknowledge the importance of compassion in solidifying the bonds between us that bring satisfaction in our work and warmth to our souls.

Compassion and love do not always extend to others, but may be just as important when inwardly directed. We must also forgive ourselves and have sympathy for our faults. We need to be aware of our own feelings to be in touch with our thoughts and moods. Self-awareness and the ability to forgive ourselves promote positive feelings and improves our resilience to life’s demands. Taking the time to pause our lives for health and wellness serves to bring self-compassion into our daily routines. When love and compassion become incorporated into our habits, we view them not as isolated gestures, but vital components to our productivity, and critical to our work satisfaction.

Page 1 of 5

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén