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Vet Gazette

Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine eNewsletter

Alums Choose A Path Less Travelled

August 16th, 2018

According to market research done by the AVMA in 2017, 65% of licensed veterinarians are working in private clinical practice. Another 8% are working for government agencies. Only half a percent work in the uniformed services. OSU alums Kristen Hinatsu and Jake Tidwell are in that small group, and living that famous recruiting slogan: ‘Its not just a job, its an adventure!’

Jake Tidwell, Class of 2015, attended the OSU Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine on a scholarship from the U.S. Army. Following graduation, his first assignment was an internship at Fort Carson, Colorado. One year later he was sent to the island of Guam.

As an Army veterinarian, Tidwell’s primary missions are to care for military working dogs, and to promote public health and safety. “My activities can vary from performing surgery on a working dog in Guam one day, to conducting food production audits of facilities in Southeast Asia the next,” he says. He has also assisted researchers on the island by performing surgery on brown tree snakes as part of a project to control invasive species.

Kristen Hinatsu also graduated in 2015, and married Tidwell soon after. Although not in the army, Hinatsu works for them as a civilian veterinarian. She also provides veterinary services at the Navy base, and at the island’s only animal shelter, where she helped start a spay and neuter clinic.

“It’s interesting practicing veterinary medicine on a tropical island, and diagnosing diseases weekly that would be considered rare back in Oregon,” says Hinatsu. “I see tick-borne diseases almost every day. Heartworm is rampant here, and leptospirosis is very common (including many clients who have contracted the disease themselves). Poisonous toads are always finding their way into the mouths of dogs.”

Due to inbreeding in the stray dog population, Hinatsu also sees a lot of dogs with genetic disorders like cryptorchidism, umbilical hernias, and demodectic mange.

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Pre-Vet Scholar Inspired By Summer Program

August 16th, 2018

Pre-vet scholar Laurel Caldwell with Razer, a quarter horse in the teaching herd at the Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine.

Last week the college held its seventh annual Summer Veterinary Experience (SVE) for academically talented high school students. The program is one of several that Dean Susan Tornquist supports with a goal of increasing diversity in the veterinary student population, and ultimately in the veterinary profession.

The week-long experience features daily short courses taught by faculty and veterinary students. Many of the courses include hands-on learning in topics like surgery skills, necropsy, equine acupuncture, echocardiographs, and laboratory skills. The high-school students also work with a member of the faculty on a research project.

“Our faculty work hard to provide interesting, real-world classes that will engage the interest of these talented young people,” says Tornquist. “Many past participants came to the program with a vague interest in veterinary medicine, among other fields, but they left with a passion for the profession.”

The program has grown from the initial eight students to 26 this year. Admittance to the program is selective, based on academic performance, family income, ethnic background, and other factors. “Many of the attending students come from low-income families. This program gives them a glimpse into college life they may not have had otherwise,” says admissions coordinator Tess Collins. “Our goal is to provide a realistic understanding of the field of veterinary medicine, and to get participants excited about higher education.”

The high school students, also know as ‘campers’, come from across Oregon to live in the Callahan dormitory, eat in the West Dining Hall and get a taste of campus life. A team of OSU undergraduates serves as chaperones.

“The chaperones live in the dorms with the students and lead the evening activities,” says Sara Smith, event coordinator for the college. “It’s a big job and they were so great.”

Laurel Caldwell will be a senior in Animal Science this fall. She is a Pre-Vet Scholar enrolled in the OSU Honors College. She applied to be a chaperone after hearing about the experience from fellow scholars.

“They mentioned how enjoyable they found the labs to be, and they were absolutely correct!” she says. “I was learning just about as much as the campers were each day. The labs the vet student mentors put on were very thorough, encompassing a variety of veterinary specialties and providing hands-on opportunities that I would argue most undergraduates have never experienced.”

Chaperones have to apply for the job and are selected based on their experience with young people, maturity, and involvement at OSU. Caldwell’s fellow chaperones were Rylan John, Reyna Villanueva, and Alexandra Behnke.

“My favorite part of SVE was the student’s eagerness and passion to learn,” says Caldwell. “They would come running up to tell me about the ‘cool’ research experiment they were working on, or what their favorite lab was that day. It warmed my heart to see them so comfortable around the veterinarians and vet student mentors, asking a myriad of questions ranging from college admission to fairly advanced medical quandries. Their zeal for knowledge was very inspiring.”

Applicants for the Summer Veterinary Experience who meet specific criteria may apply for scholarships to cover the cost. The scholarships are sponsored by the college and by Banfield Pet Hospital.

For more information about the OSU Summer Veterinary Experience, visit the SVE website.

New Leadership Course Takes A Unique Approach

July 24th, 2018

The OSU College of Veterinary Medicine provides rigorous training in academic and technical skills. They also offer Practice Management and Communications electives, but in his position as college Counselor and Wellness Coordinator, Alex Rowell realized that some students also need training in leadership and interpersonal skills.

Rowell conceived a new course, called Veterinary Leadership: Examining Inclusion, Self-Reflection and Personal Development, to provide students with opportunities to develop self-care techniques, enhance their understanding of a diverse range of people, and enable them to better lead others.

Some colleges offer leadership electives but this concept is unique “I haven’t heard of any other colleges that approach leadership through self-care and diversity awareness,” he says.

The course will be offered Winter term as a one-credit, pass/no pass elective for second and third-year students. “There won’t be exams and a lot of lectures. Students will be asked to participate in discussions and self-reflection,” says Rowell. “They will be asked to do things they probably have never done before.”

Some examples of this unique approach to veterinary learning are: an assignment to create a self-care plan; an exercise in gratitude; and a small-group discussion of what makes an effective team leader.

“Whether students know it or not, they will be leaders, so it is important that we teach them the skills to make a team cohesive and function well,” says Rowell. “Important not just for job satisfaction, but for patient care.”

According to the Institute for Family Studies, the number of pets in the United States has risen dramatically in the past ten years, and people are spending a greater portion of their personal income on animals.  A 2017 survey by the National Association of Realtors found that 33 percent of first-time home buyers say that finding a better space for their dog influenced their decision to buy, while only 25 percent cited the birth of a child.

“The human-animal bond is significantly changing so the profession is changing,” says Rowell. “This course helps prepare them for the future.”

Incoming Class of 2022: Moving Toward A More Diverse Profession

July 23rd, 2018

For several years Dean Susan Tornquist has a goal of increasing diversity in the college to better represent the national population. Several programs were created to meet that goal, including the OSU Summer Veterinary Experience, where academically talented high school students from under-represented backgrounds receive scholarships to attend a one-week, intensive introduction to veterinary medicine.

The college also participated in JUNTOS, an OSU program where 50 hispanic high school students and their families attended a full day of veterinary workshops led by Dr. Jorge Vanegas, and hosted by current students who speak fluent Spanish.

In addition, the college now uses a wholistic application process, which allows the Application Committee to focus on factors other than GPA and GRE, which can sometimes be biased against those from underrepresented, low-income, or first-generation college students. “For example, the committee considers challenges that each applicant might have faced, and how they handle difficult situations,” says admissions coordinator Tess Collins.

Collins also reaches out to under-represented groups through recruiting events and meetings with pre-vet clubs at other universities.

This year, 28% of students from the incoming Class of 2022 are from under-represented groups, and 22% are first-generation college students.

The Class of 2022 includes 40 Oregon residents and 32 non-residents. Sixteen students are older than 25 years, and 83% are female.

Students and Staff Learn About Canine Behavior

July 15th, 2018

Kate Hooper, Class of 2012, and Meredith Bleuer, Class of 2019.

The Whole Dog Academy hosted a Canine Behavior Conference in Portland in July that was organized by OSU alumna Kate Hooper, Class of 2012.

Certified veterinary technician Kimberly Warren, who works in the ICU at the OSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital, attended the conference.

“The biggest thing I took away from the conference was how many resources are available in the Pacific Northwest for animal behavior — and not limited to dogs and cats, but horses, birds, and other species as well,” she says. “This made me realize how much we can improve the overall health of our patients when they visit us at OSU.”

Warren especially valued the information she learned from Dr. Letitia Fanucchi. “Her lecture was the most interesting and helpful,” says Warren. “She focused on training for cooperative veterinary care. She showed us short video clips of how they are implementing a more cooperative care technique when it comes to patient exams, venipuncture, and other procedures in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital at Washington State University.”

Students Meredith Bleuer and Samantha Lastusfka attended the speaker sessions and also manned a fund-raising booth for the OSU Shelter Medicine Club, which provides volunteer effort and monetary donations to animal rescue groups.

“The conference was excellent,” says Bleuer. “I was able to see a lot of the lectures between representing the school and the Shelter Medicine Club. Thank you to the Dean for sponsoring such a great opportunity.”


Faculty Receive Awards

June 7th, 2018

Justin Sanders, Assistant Professor, received the New Investigator award

Fikru Nigussie received the Zoetis Distinguished Teacher Award

Natalia Shulzhenko received the Zoetis Research Excellence award.

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