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Student Stories

Penn Vet Hosts Student AVMA Symposium

By: John Donges Date: Mar 8, 2018

Smithsonian’s Wildlife Veterinary Medical Officer, Dr. Marc Valitutto, to Deliver Keynote

[March 8, 2018; Philadelphia, PA] – Penn Vet will host the Student American Veterinary Medical Association (SAVMA) Symposium from March 15-17, 2018, in Philadelphia, PA. The student-organized program will consist of interactive wet labs, lectures, academic and athletic competitions, an exhibit hall, and the SAVMA House of Delegates bi-annual meeting. With over 1,100 students expected to attend, this will be Penn Vet’s first time hosting in SAVMA’s 47-year history of the event.

Guest speakers from around the country, as well as many of Penn Vet’s board-certified specialists, will lecture on topics that are not usually covered in student curricula. Tracks will focus on topics such as companion animal, equine, exotics, research, One Health, food animal, diversity and wellness, and professional development. Wet labs will cover small animal, equine, lab animal, food animal, and One Health topics.

On Saturday, March 17th, Dr. Marc Valitutto will deliver the keynote presentation at the closing gala. Valitutto, wildlife veterinary medical officer for the Smithsonian’s Global Health Program, has held a variety of positions including head interim veterinarian for the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, and as general curator and veterinarian for the Staten Island Zoological Society.

Valitutto’s passion for species conservation is evident in his extensive training and research, which focuses on One Health related topics, specifically evaluating the transmission of zoonotic diseases from wildlife to humans in Myanmar. His species focus includes giant pandas, Asian elephants, pangolins, and primary zoonotic disease vectors of USAID’s PREDICT project: primates, rodents and bats. Valitutto received his veterinary degree from Penn Vet and completed his residency in zoological medicine and surgery at the Wildlife Conservation Society and Cornell University.

Lectures will be held at the Lowe’s Hotel in center city Philadelphia, as well as on Penn Vet’s Philadelphia and New Bolton Center campuses. Visit for more information. On-site registration will be available.

The Student American Veterinary Medical Association (SAVMA) was created in 1969 as the national organization for veterinary students, in order to foster communication between individual chapters. Currently, SAVMA is comprised of 37 student chapters (30 in the US, 1 in Canada, 3 in the Caribbean, and 3 in the United Kingdom), representing a total of over 16,000 veterinary student members.

SAVMA's mission is to support, empower, and inspire all veterinary students in improving their lives, education and career, along with securing a better future for our profession through collaboration with the parent organization, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).