About Lawrence N Garcia
Dr. Garcia is a Clinical Assistant Professor in Shelter Medicine and Surgery. During his tenure, he has developed curricula for and launched two clinical clerkships in which third and fourth year veterinary students are integrated into a municipal animal shelters agency. He also serves as the Medical Director for the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Veterinary Emergency Treatment Service (VETS) Team. He spent the early years of his career in small animal general practice, then transitioned to the role of herd health and high-quality, high-volume spay & neuter veterinarian at a large municipal shelter prior to joining the University of Florida. His interests include: canine and feline surgical sterilization training of veterinary students, population management, sanitation, outbreak prevention, developing standard operating procedures and protocols for shelter operations and County and state level county disaster preparedness, response and recovery planning.
My research agenda is two-pronged, both having a veterinary medical education focus. My research agenda goal is to provide actionable information schools of veterinary medicine can use to enhance the educational opportunities for students and for continuing education opportunities for practitioners. My primary research interest is in canine and feline surgical sterilization training of veterinary students. It is becoming more common that graduating veterinarians report a lack confidence in common surgical procedures despite numerous training opportunities in the veterinary curricula. Veterinary students at the University of Florida, College of Veterinary Medicine encounter a variety of required and elective surgical training opportunities throughout the curriculum. This training is in the form of both group and one-on-one instruction in a variety of settings. I am at the point of data collection in an IRB-approved study that is designed to evaluate student perceived confidence levels following their cumulative surgical training. For each of 21 common surgical procedures, the students will approximate the number of procedures performed as primary and assistant surgeon. The students will then need to identify in which of the clerkships, externships and other on-campus opportunities they performed those procedures. The students will assign a perceived confidence level they feel presently as they are about to graduate and assume responsibility as primary surgeon in general practice, for each procedure performed. Given current trends in veterinary education to competency-based education and outcomes, this information will be valuable to efforts to adjust/improve curricula as needed to provide state-of-the-art educational opportunities to our students. My second area of scholarship is with natural and man-made disaster-preparedness, response, and recovery as it pertains to the veterinary community. Disaster preparedness, response and recovery capabilities, although improving, are still in need of further development. Multiple sources support preparedness and planning as key to effective response and recovery. Veterinarians, as experts in animal care, welfare and husbandry and should be stakeholders in developing sustainable plans for preparedness, response and recovery. Few veterinary programs offer courses in these topics as part of the core curriculum. I have a proposal that is ready to submit to the IRB for approval. I am waiting to submit the proposal until I hear back from Ralph Johnson, CEO of Veterinary Medical Association Executives, with regard to his willingness to provide the link to my survey to their listserv. At this point, he has expressed interest and requested a copy of the survey. As a first step, veterinary practitioners locally and nationally will be surveyed to assess their level of preparedness for common natural and man-made disasters. In addition to investigating ways practitioners might benefit from continuing education opportunities, the survey will use this information to suggest opportunities to better prepare veterinary students to be prepared for disaster response and recovery..
In addition to my own developing research agenda, I have served in a research oversight role for one student pursuing an MPH, as well as summer research students. In this role, I have provided guidance and support to students in planning and execution of projects, as well as manuscript preparation and submission. Projects include evaluating parasitosis upon entry and discharge from an animal shelter while using existing deworming protocols.
As a group, the VCOP team plans to continue leveraging the data power provided by our large program caseload of over 5000 shelter and rescue animals per year. The diversity of our caseload allows for population-based research including disease occurrence, sterilization surgery related complications and anomalies and looking at baseline values in a diverse population.