On Thursday, April 5th the School of Veterinary Medicine welcomed University of California President Janet Napolitano for a visit and tour.
It was a special honor for the school’s leadership team to update President Napolitano on program priorities and activities in support of animal, human and environmental health. Following a brief overview in Gladys Valley Hall, the heart of the school’s didactic teaching space, Dean Michael Lairmore and Dr. Jane Sykes, chief veterinary medical officer of the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, toured Napolitano through the veterinary hospital.
Thursday’s visit was an opportunity to showcase the veterinary hospital’s sophisticated level of animal patient care, discuss translational research initiatives and observe advanced veterinary educational training for students and hospital residents. Ranked #1 in veterinary science in the world by QS World University Rankings, and the only veterinary school in the University of California system, the program initiatives and partnerships found at UC Davis are among the most unique of any veterinary school in the world.
At the Center for Companion Animal Health, Napolitano talked with staff and students working on clinical treatments and translational research related to cancer. Canines often suffer from similar types of cancer to that found in humans. Through comparative studies with physicians at the School of Medicine, veterinary faculty are working collaboratively to make discoveries that accelerate the development of new, more effective therapies for both humans and animals. With more than $85 million in annual research funding (21 percent from NIH) the school hosts a robust research program on some of society’s most complex health problems.
Napolitano’s tour included stops in the small animal clinic and a visit to the Claire Giannini Hoffman Equine Athletic Performance Laboratory where she viewed a live demonstration of a horse on a treadmill, used for clinical care evaluations and exercise physiology and pulmonary research studies.
Part of the day’s discussion included the vision for a comprehensive Veterinary Medical Center which will set the standard in veterinary medicine.
“The new center will amplify our ability to collaborate and create new solutions for our patients that translate to human care,” Lairmore said. “We’ll combine compassionate health care for animals with innovation, discovery, and education.”
The school is also home to a wide range of food safety and security programs in support of healthy foods of animal origin, public health, and California’s animal agriculture industries. These efforts contribute to Napolitano’s Global Food Initiative, a collaboration among UC’s 10 campuses and UC’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
The tour concluded with a brief discussion on the One Health approach – focused at the interface of animals, people and the environment to solve complex problems that impact health and conservation. Both Dr. Brian Bird and student Marlene Haggblade shared their experiences of working in Africa on zoonotic health issues where disease is transmitted between animals and humans.