Continuing its rise to national prominence, the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine jumped two spots to land at No. 7 among veterinary colleges nationwide in the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings.
“This new ranking is a tribute to the hard work and commitment to excellence that I see every day in our faculty, staff and students,” said Dr. Dana Zimmel, dean of the UF College of Veterinary Medicine.
“Our college community works tirelessly to advance animal, human and environmental health across our core missions of teaching, research, clinical service and community outreach,” Zimmel said. “They’ve done this despite the unprecedented challenges of the past four years and have accomplished incredible things. To see our collective efforts recognized this way with the new rankings is extremely rewarding.”
Sharing the No. 7 spot with UF are the colleges at the University of Georgia and the University of Wisconsin.
U.S. News & World Report ranks veterinary colleges and other graduate programs every four years. In 2018, the last ranking cycle, UF moved five spots — more than any other college listed — from No. 14 to No. 9. The new rankings place the college at No. 5 in the nation among veterinary colleges at public universities.
In recent years, the college has boasted a number of key achievements.
- Applications to the college’s D.V.M. program have risen 56% over four years, from FY’18 to FY’22. The number of D.V.M. students increased from 452 in FY’18 to 518 in FY’22. An additional class expansion initiated in response to the national shortage of veterinarians should raise the total number of D.V.M. students to 600 by August 2025.
- The number of faculty has risen 170 to 188 in 2022, a 10% increase.
- Cancer vaccine studies for melanoma, osteosarcoma and glioma show promising results, with preclinical data being used for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of human vaccines. The discovery of canine influenza virus and the vaccine to protect against it in dogs was developed at the UF veterinary college, along with other vaccines used to prevent salmonella in poultry.
- The UF Veterinary Hospitals pioneered a series of standardized quality improvement initiatives previously alien to the field of veterinary medicine, becoming the first veterinary health system to implement a series of standardized quality improvement initiatives aimed at improving patient safety.
- Recent patient care innovations include advances in 3D printing used to improve outcomes in both small and large animal surgery, a first-ever total ankle replacement surgery on a dog and the acquisition of a state-of-the-art linear accelerator, or LINAC, on a par with those used in human hospitals. The new LINAC allows the use of highly targeted radiation to deliver more precise and faster treatment of tumors within the abdominal cavity or the chest.
- In 2022, as a result of an entrepreneurial collaboration with the World Equestrian Center in Ocala, the college opened a new, 40,000 square-foot veterinary hospital at WEC. The state-of-the-art facility provides needed services on-site at WEC, a premiere equestrian venue and increasingly popular tourist destination in Florida, as well as to animals from the surrounding community.
- The UF Shelter Medicine program, a leading influencer in a growing field, has gained national recognition for the college through its multi-pronged approach to improving animal welfare through teaching, research, community outreach and patient care. The college also offers three robust shelter medicine clerkships aimed at helping veterinary students hone their surgical skills to be day-one ready for practice after graduation.
- A new $10 million grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is enabling infectious disease experts at the college to investigate COVID severity in some countries relative to others. In July, the CDC’s Southeast Regional Center of Excellence in Vector-Borne Disease, led by a college faculty member, received an additional $10 million in renewed funding to continue its work for another five years.
- Leveraging strengths in zoological medicine, virology and microbiology, UF veterinary researchers discovered a new bacterium strongly associated with death in gopher tortoises. These findings are of interest to veterinarians, wildlife biologists and those involved in rehabilitation of gopher tortoises, and could lead to better diagnosis and treatment of the long-living reptiles.
- Biomedical researchers at the college developed a novel mucosal vaccine prototype for use against a devastating strain of brucellosis that affects small ruminants and has shown groundbreaking effectiveness in conferring long-term immunity in mice.
- In late 2022, a collaboration between UF College of Veterinary Medicine researchers, aquatic animal health experts and state and federal laboratories identified highly pathogenic Avian influenza in an American dolphin, making it the first cetacean to be diagnosed with the virus in America and only the second known case in the world.
- College investigators are embracing challenges in the prevention and treatment of animal diseases by implementing approaches powered by artificial intelligence, or AI. A partnership between UF and NVIDIA, who have invested $50M in UF innovation in AI, enables CVM researchers to apply supercomputing and machine learning to solve today’s problems with tomorrow’s technology. College researchers have applied AI techniques to improve dairy cow uterine microbiota to prevent metritis and have adapted microbiota to deliver therapeutics to treat canine dermatitis.
- As part of UF’s Artificial Intelligence initiative, the college hired a faculty member focused on developing novel diagnostic and clinical applications in the field of comparative oncology and translational medicine by utilizing AI and machine learning.
“We’ve worked hard, and we’ve accomplished so much,” Zimmel said. “No list of achievements can fully capture all of the great things being done here at the college. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”