October 01, 2002


 Consortium to connect animal scientists, veterinarians

Posted Sept. 15, 2002 

The Animal Health Consortium is a new resource available to veterinarians, pharmacologists, and other professionals in the animal health sciences.

The consortium and its Web site were officially launched in June to provide a Web-based forum where scientists and practitioners from all over the world can share ideas, set up collaborations, and track the latest developments in the animal health sciences, according to Marilyn Martinez, PhD, a senior biomedical research scientist at the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine and one of the site's creators.

Dr. Martinez and fellow site founder, Michael Rathbone, PhD, director of research at InterAg, explained that there is not enough communication among veterinary scientists. Dr. Rathbone added there was a need for a medium that would facilitate interaction among scientists in all the specialties of veterinary medicine and veterinary product development worldwide.

"The area of veterinary science is vast, and within it are a multitude of different sciences, including veterinary, animal, pharmacologic, and pharmaceutical, each of which focuses on a different aspect of the overall area,"

Dr. Rathbone said. "Although each is served well through its own societies and networks, there wasn't a medium that promotes and facilitates interdisciplinary communication."

Dr. Martinez said that diversity is a strength of the veterinary sciences and that the Animal Health Consortium will help scientists in diverse fields to better understand and meet the challenges each specialty may face.

"The main thing is to use our diversity as a health profession as a benefit rather than a barrier," she said.

The Controlled Release Society committee focusing on veterinary products came up with the idea of a consortium and has spent the past year establishing the Animal Health Consortium Web site, www.controlledrelease.org/ahc/, which is a page on the Society's website. The CRS is an international organization whose mission is to advance the science and technology of chemical and biological delivery systems.

The consortium site features a listing of meetings and events, a semiannual newsletter, a listing of requests for collaboration, and an e-mail discussion group moderated by Dr. Rathbone.

Dr. Martinez said she hopes to build up the site with submissions from scientists and practitioners.

"We've tried to make it a site that is rich in information," she said. "However, its value will be only as great as the contributions and information shared by our animal health colleagues."

For more information about the Animal Health Consortium or to be included on the list serve for the semiannual newsletter, visit the Web site or contact Dr. Martinez at MMartin1@cvm.fda.gov, or Dr. Rathbone at mjr@interag1.co.nz.