Message from the Dean
It’s difficult to believe, but another busy fall is upon us. With the dawning of another academic year, I want briefly update you on a few of the highlights from ongoing activities here at the college.
1) In constant pursuit of our vision of preeminence, and toward rightful recognition of the UFCVM as a global leader in academic veterinary medicine, we continue to build on the strategic framework we developed last year. Please visit our website for a refresher on the plan in its entirety, but our most notable achievements include our new 5,000-square-foot clinical skills laboratory completed in August. This impressive new space represents a key advancement in teaching and learning at our college. Built as an addition to the Veterinary Academic Building, the new laboratory will offer UF veterinary medical students the unique technology and state-of-the-art space needed for a variety of hands-on and other learning opportunities aimed at developing and enhancing clinical skills. Last fall, we initiated a new, required series of courses for freshman and sophomore students with the goal of ensuring technical competence when these students begin clinical rotations and as they prepare to enter practice. The new laboratory will enable us to expand training opportunities and is among the largest and most progressive of any similar space available across U.S. veterinary medical colleges. We are thrilled this project has finally reached completion. You’ll be seeing more about this exciting new space in future issues and new posts.
2) Our UF Veterinary Hospitals continue to sustain and strengthen their recognized leadership positions among peer institutions in academic veterinary medicine. Earlier this year, the UF Small Animal Hospital achieved Level 1 certification by the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society. The Ocala-based UF Pet Emergency treatment Services clinic recently achieved Level 3 certification by the VECCS as well, and in July, our Small Animal Hospital in Gainesville achieved full accreditation from the American Animal Hospital Association, becoming one of only six veterinary medical teaching hospitals to gain that distinction. As I’m sure you know, these accomplishments don’t come easily; they stem from the outstanding work of our clinical faculty and staff and require strong and effective hospital leadership. In April, we announced the appointment of Dr. Dana Zimmel as our new associate dean for clinical services and chief medical officer. Dr. Zimmel has brought talent, passion and focus to the UF Veterinary Hospitals as chief of staff for the past five years and will continue to contribute these strengths in this new leadership role for our vitally important clinical enterprise. In recent years, Dr. Zimmel has come to be recognized and respected nationally as a thought leader among veterinary medical teaching hospital executives, and I am thrilled to have her as a member of my executive leadership team. In addition, we have numerous new faculty hires in both Small and Large Animal Clinical Sciences departments and our caseloads continue to grow in most services.
3) Two new world-class research hires are now fully on board and are supplementing our existing research strengths in key areas. Dr. Roy Curtiss has joined our immunology and virology research group, and Dr. Chris Vulpe is now a part of our environmental and toxicology group. Importantly, these renowned scholars were attracted to UFCVM because of the existing strengths in our research faculty and programs, along with the exciting prospects for even greater success in the future. We have other new faculty hires we are very excited about as well, and you’ll be hearing more about their work and programs in the near future.
UF Veterinary Access Scholarship:
The college has taken a bold leadership position in aggressively addressing the problem of escalating student debt loads. Launched in January of this year, our new UF Veterinary Access Scholarship initiative is gaining critical visibility as word is spreading in the veterinary medical profession locally, regionally and nationally. Thanks to an initial Challenge Gift by Dr. Paul Nicoletti, we had already raised more than $200,000 for this fund by early May, and we are gaining more momentum every day. Our goal is to reduce veterinary student debt by tenfold and we know we are already making a difference. There’s more information about the program elsewhere in this issue, but if you wish to join us in our quest or learn more, please contact Patricia Wlasuk, director of scholarship giving, at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 352-294-4212.
40th Anniversary Celebration:
The coming year, 2016, is the college’s 40th Anniversary. We plan to celebrate with a bang and hope you’ll be a part of the celebration in some way as the year unfolds. Many of you have already heard from us, as we are actively soliciting feedback about game-changing impacts the college has had during its 40 years of existence. We plan to talk about those impacts as points of Gator pride, and hope you’ll be talking about them, too. We have so much to be proud of at the UFCVM and you’ll be hearing more in the coming months about our celebratory plans.
It is truly a time of growth, hope, energy and enthusiasm at the UFCVM. So many of you have had key roles in our successes to date, and we look forward to your ongoing, active engagement as we continue to create the future of veterinary medicine, together.
Dr. James W. Lloyd
Professor and Dean
Archives of previous Dean’s Messages can be found here.