UC Davis to Be First Training Site of New Fellowship Program

Veterinarian working in a laboratory

UC Davis to Be First Training Site of New Fellowship Program

American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Launched Fellowship Program in 2023

The UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH) will add to its nation-leading house officer program by becoming the first facility to host a training opportunity under the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine’s (ACVIM) new Fellowship Program. The program will offer a multi-year, hands-on clinical training opportunity in cases specifically within a discipline. The first ACVIM Fellowship at UC Davis will be offered in Infectious Diseases, and fellowships in other areas of interest will be developed by the ACVIM in the coming months.

ACVIM fellowships are open to Diplomates of the ACVIM to add an additional level of expertise and mastery in a focused area of their discipline. ACVIM Diplomates are veterinarians who have completed an ACVIM-approved residency and passed board certification examinations in one of the college’s six specialty disciplines: small animal internal medicine, large animal internal medicine, cardiology, nutrition, oncology, and neurology. (UC Davis offers residencies in all of these.)

Upon completion of an approved fellowship, specialists will be officially credentialed as Fellows of the ACVIM followed by the particular domain of study – e.g. “FACVIM (Infectious Disease).”

“The ACVIM Fellowship Program represents a bold step towards redefining the boundaries of veterinary internal medicine,” said Dr. Keith Richter in an ACVIM news release. “It's a unique opportunity for passionate professionals to further their careers, collaborate with thought leaders, and drive innovation in their chosen field.”

Dr. Richter, a UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine alumnus, chaired the ACVIM Fellowship Committee and worked alongside many other committee members, including UC Davis Professor Larry Cowgill, to define the parameters of the program.

Four veterinarians have participated in informal infectious disease fellowships at the VMTH over the past decade. If certain criteria are met, ACVIM is exploring ways of formally recognizing those participants as Fellows retroactively, as well as long-time faculty members or other veterinarians who have studied infectious diseases for most of their careers.

“I think a big reason why UC Davis was selected to become the first facility to host the fellowship is partly because we’ve been working toward this for many years to build an extraordinary training program,” said Dr. Jane Sykes, professor of internal medicine with a special interest in infectious diseases. “But another part of it is the unique relationship we have with the infectious disease group at the UC Davis School of Medicine. We’ve been able to study very closely how they train their fellows and then develop our program to mimic the success they’ve had.”

Dr. Sykes, the ACVIM Immediate Past Chair, also credits the school’s Graduate Clinical Education Committee, a structured internal oversight of the house officer program, which not only balances house officer training with clinical operations, but also develops policies relating to house officer welfare and workload, clearly defining their roles within the hospital.

“We are honored to be chosen to host the first ACVIM-recognized fellowship,” said Dr. Jamie Burkitt, co-director of House Officer Affairs and Education at UC Davis. “Dr. Sykes’ and other faculty members’ backgrounds in the field, the school’s research and laboratory facilities, and the Internal Medicine Service’s expertise and caseload provide an ideal training opportunity for veterinary specialists seeking to enhance their knowledge of infectious diseases. This fellowship is an ideal fit for our house officer program and an important step in advancing specialty veterinary medicine.”

The candidate selected for the fellowship will participate in case management on the VMTH’s Internal Medicine Service, multiple consultations per day from house officers and faculty clinicians throughout the hospital and from referring veterinarians, and rotations through the clinical microbiology laboratory. Additionally, the candidate will complete two case modules in antimicrobial therapy and public health/zoonoses, attend a conference with an infectious diseases focus where subjects are presented on an expert level, complete a peer-reviewed publication pertaining to infectious diseases of companion animals, and complete a final examination, among other activities.

Historically, the informal infectious disease fellowships at UC Davis were supported by the Judith McBean Trust Foundation, which was integral in developing the fellowship from the beginning. As the fellowship now moves into its formal status, the foundation will continue its legacy of helping to develop world-class continuing education opportunities for veterinarians.

Beyond the infectious disease concentration, the VMTH hosts many other informal fellowships including other areas of ACVIM focus such as gastroenterology and renal medicine/hemodialysis. UC Davis will look to host those formal fellowships, as well, when they are officially launched by ACVIM.    

The Judith McBean Trust Foundation Fellowship in Small Animal Infectious Disease begins at UC Davis on August 1, 2024, and is a two-year training.

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