UF College of Veterinary Medicine faculty have presented the 2014 Bayer Excellence in Communication Award to third-year UF veterinary student Andrew Torchia.
Created and funded by Bayer HealthCare LLC’s animal health division, the purpose of the award is to identify and reward veterinary students who are mastering effective communication skills. These skills are considered crucial for helping to establish strong client relationships, which in turn lead to better compliance with medications and treatment plans for their animals.
Students competing for the award, which includes a $2,500 scholarship, submit recorded interviews of themselves in a clinical setting with a client. The submissions are judged by a panel of faculty at each institution, who select their school’s winner.
This year, 27 veterinary colleges selected winners, according to Dr. Sherri Rigby, manager of veterinary technical services for Bayer HealthCare.
“We are all really proud of Andrew and all of the UF students who entered this year, as it was our first time in the competition,” said Dr. Amy Stone, a clinical assistant professor at the UF veterinary college and a judge on the panel.
The Bayer Excellence in Communication Award is one facet of a larger initiative aimed at improving the communication skills of the next generation of veterinarians. In 2001, Bayer HealthCare Animal Health partnered with the Institute for Healthcare Communication to establish the Bayer Communication Project. This collaborative partnership resulted in a set of communication skills training modules offered to colleges of veterinary medicine for incorporation into their curriculum. Selected faculty members from all U.S. veterinary colleges have been trained via the project’s “Train the Trainer” program.
In addition to Stone, five UF faculty members who have completed this program since 2012 helped evaluate the competitors for this year’s award. Those faculty members are Dr. Chris Sanchez, Dr. Amanda House, Dr. Jeff Abbott, Dr. Sarah Graham, and Dr. Dan Lewis.