International Exchange Program

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Koret Exchange Program

In 1994, philanthropist Susan Koret visited the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine to seek treatment for her cat. During this visit, Mrs. Koret learned about a program at the school’s Center for Companion Animal Health that facilitated an exchange for Israeli veterinary students and faculty to visit our campus.

Mrs. Koret has always been passionate about animals and veterinary education, and left the clinic determined to help expand the program. Through the Koret Foundation, which was founded by Mrs. Koret’s late husband, Joseph, in 1979, the CCAH has received support and funding.

To date, the Koret Foundation has awarded $1 million to the program, and in conjunction with other donors, formed an endowment that has funded nearly 100 faculty and resident exchanges between UC Davis and the Koret School of Veterinary Medicine at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Many of those faculty members, scientists and residents from Hebrew University have participated in the academic exchange at UC Davis. The Koret Foundation’s multi-year support has allowed us to further expand the program. This CCAH program has advanced the knowledge of veterinary medicine and improved animal health internationally across the areas of oncology, cardiology, radiology, surgery, pharmacology, dermatology, clinical pathology, internal medicine and neurology.

Dr. Allison Zwingenberger, an associate professor in the Department of Surgical and Radiological Sciences at UC Davis, recently spent two weeks at Hebrew University to teach the faculty how to read imaging from their school’s new MRI machine — acquired with funding from the Koret Foundation and the first in Israel dedicated for use in animals. She also supervised MRI training for residents in neurology, emergency medicine and surgery. “They needed a little bit of expertise, to bounce ideas off of me and to get my perspective on the cases they’re working on,” she says. “I met a lot of great people enthusiastic about imaging and with a real hunger to learn."

Most of the travel has been from Israel to Davis, where our colleagues can learn through in-person training and collaboration. For example, resident Gil Oref spent 30 days here studying how to do minimally invasive procedures using interventional radiology, as a part of his training requirements as an equine resident. Cigalle Cysel, a technician from Hebrew University, trained for 27 days in the areas of small animal hospitalization, emergency and intensive care in our veterinary hospital. Resident Kushnir Yishai trained for 42 days in our Anesthesia Service.

Dr. Chumkee Aziz, a resident in the Koret Shelter Medicine Program at Davis, recently traveled to Israel for two weeks to conduct lectures at the veterinary school. “Personally, it was very moving. It was a beautiful place and beautiful people,” Aziz says. “Professionally, it was very eye-opening. They have a lot of different challenges.”

The CCAH has expanded the program through collaborative studies between the two universities. Currently, three studies are underway, including one evaluating a treatment to reduce recurrent urinary tract infections in dogs, another involving the development of a reliable method for regional anesthesia techniques around the eye in dogs and the third study relates to bone fractures in race horses.