July 01, 2007


 Colleges decide whether to partner with Banfield

Posted Jun. 15, 2007

One veterinary college is completing construction on a Banfield teaching hospital, while another college has abandoned plans to operate a community practice in conjunction with a Banfield pet hospital.

The Western University of Health Sciences College of Veterinary Medicine in Pomona, Calif., began building its Veterinary Clinical Center in late 2006. The center will feature the Banfield, The Pet Hospital and Wellness Center. In 2007, the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine discontinued discussions regarding an affiliation with a new, nearby Banfield animal hospital.

The Maryland VMA distributed a statement from Dr. Gerhardt Schurig, dean of the Virginia-Maryland college, about the Banfield talks.

The statement outlined reasons for considering the collaboration. The college needed to establish a clerkship in community practice for fourth-year students. Practitioners in the area had been consulting with the college about the need to establish an after-hours and weekend emergency clinic. The teaching hospital had a backlog in certain specialty services. The college also was attempting to address the need to develop capital support to expand instructional, research, and clinical facilities.

When the college invited input, some stakeholders expressed strong opposition to a formal collaboration with the new Banfield hospital. One of the most common concerns involved the idea of students undertaking a mandatory clerkship at a Banfield hospital. Many private practitioners expressed concerns that the college could create a perception that it endorsed a particular brand or type of practice.

Dr. Schurig wrote that the Virginia-Maryland college will establish the clerkship in community practice at the veterinary teaching hospital, despite limitations on space—while some students probably will complete externships at the Banfield animal hospital. Dr. Schurig wrote that the Banfield hospital likely will be open around the clock and operate a specialty practice.

Dr. Shirley Johnston, founding dean of the WesternU veterinary college, said at the time of the groundbreaking on the Veterinary Clinical Center there that she is grateful for donors' investment in the education of future veterinarians. Banfield and other donors funded the center, which will showcase an 8,000-square-foot Banfield teaching hospital.

According to a release from WesternU, Banfield's vision of providing affordable and quality health care for pets has been an important match with principles of the veterinary college such as student-centered learning and clinical education through strategic partnerships. Students will continue to complete off-campus clinical rotations.

According to the WesternU release, the Banfield clinic will offer students access to more than 260 Banfield Learning Center teaching modules and a psychomotor-skills area for mastering clinical skills.

The WesternU veterinary college isn't the only one to partner with Banfield. In 2005, the National Autonomous University of Mexico opened a veterinary teaching hospital in cooperation with Banfield.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly implied that veterinary students at Western University would not continue to complete off-campus clinical rotations after construction of the Veterinary Clinical Center.