Mark Spitzer, Chair of Penn Vet’s Board of Overseers, recently said the School is a “window on the future.” (Read story here.) I love this! It’s a hopeful message in an era when we are confronting new threats to food security, natural resources, and social justice in communities worldwide.
Mark’s words describe Penn Vet’s vital role in addressing many of these issues. At the nexus of education, clinical care, and research related to animals and humans, the School is perfectly positioned to create a healthier, more sustainable world for all earth’s inhabitants, from the smallest animals, such as invertebrates, to the largest, such as right whales.
This issue of Bellwether provides an overview of our work tackling complex issues with both local and global importance. Addressing Global Disease with Translational Science looks at faculty research on diseases of poverty, like hookworm, malaria, leishmaniasis, and schistosomiasis. In Speaking of Agriculture, I talk with Pennsylvania State Veterinarian Dr. Kevin Brightbill about our common interests and synergies in safeguarding agriculture. And Saving the Whales, One Orca at a Time profiles Dr. Joe Gaydos, V’94, who is taking an individualized approach to protecting marine wildlife
populations in waters of the Pacific Northwest.
Each story profiles the critical role veterinarians and scientists play in our interconnected world and touches on a cross-section of my four priorities for Penn Vet: revolutionize veterinary career paths, ensure global health, foster agricultural sustainability, and maximize animal well-being and healthcare outcomes. Read more about the priorities on the next page and drop me a note — tell me what you think. Down the road, I look forward to sharing our progress and spotlighting the amazing people who help us chart the future of veterinary medicine.
Life in the 21st century is complex; the challenges are serious and very real. This is a call to action. For the School’s community of educators, practitioners, and scientists, our moment in time holds revolutionary promise to accelerate veterinary medicine’s impact on animal, human, and environmental health. We remain at the forefront of science and clinical care because of your commitment to Penn Vet. And I want to thank you for that support.
- Revolutionize Veterinary Career Paths
We will re-imagine our curriculum to prepare current and future veterinarians for “practice-ready” careers, and for new, novel opportunities in public and human health.
- Design a new curriculum for the 21st Century, emphasizing critical-thinking, decision-making, communication, collaboration, public health, and population healthcare
- Capitalize on the profession’s ability to respond to societal needs through, new “VMD-plus” dual degree programs
- Support entrepreneurial veterinarians looking to drive change and create social impact
- Ensure Global Health
We will reduce the burden of infectious disease and tropical disease in developing nations by accelerating scientific discovery into effective treatments.
- Exploit our expertise in immunology, vaccinology, and host-pathogen interactions
- Facilitate multi-disciplinary, university-wide disease research for the benefit of human medicine
- Build our mighty faculty base through endowed chairs and professorships to push the frontiers of disease research
- Foster Agricultural Sustainability
We will bring Penn Vet’s wide range of agricultural resources to bear on the sustainability of food systems, from production to consumption to food waste management.
- Reimagine New Bolton Center’s conventional farm facilities into an integrated, sustainable model
- Invest in educational programming and “agricultural brand-building” to generate awareness among, and connection to, consumers and food market structures
- Grow student scholarships in agriculture, particularly within fields of study exploring biosecurity, and the overall food industry
- Maximize Animal Well Being and Healthcare Outcomes
We will innovate access to primary care and optimize our extensive specialty care services to enrich the quality of life for all animals.
- Build a state-of-the-art facility for emergency and critical care at Ryan Hospital
- Build a body of patient-centered research by funding endowments for professorships and clinical research
- Provide advocacy and effective instruction in animal welfare