The Veterinary Homeland Security Certificate Program, a graduate-level, distance-learning program at Purdue University, has gained national certification as a curriculum for response personnel in the event of a major animal health emergency.
The Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service examined and reviewed courses in the one-of-a-kind program, which is offered by Purdue's School of Veterinary Medicine and is managed by the Purdue Homeland Security Institute. The agency then granted the program certification because it complies with National Animal Health Emergency Management System guidelines.
Since coursework began in May 2006, there have been 62 individuals enrolled from 27 states, the District of Columbia, and Singapore. Most students are private practice veterinarians, but there also are professionals enrolled from the military, USDA, public health departments, animal health departments, and veterinary schools. Veterinary students and veterinary technicians also participate, as do those who are applying the coursework to degrees in public health.
To qualify for the certificate, participants have four years to complete nine courses, which are available 24 hours a day online or by CD.
Lectures address issues such as swine disease, rabies, anthrax, and plague. Among the veterinary experts providing lecture material are Purdue adjunct professors Dr. Marianne Ash, director of biosecurity and preparedness planning at the Indiana State Board of Animal Health, and Col. Marc Mattix, assistant chief at the Montana Department of Livestock Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory for the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps. Dr. Ron DeHaven, AVMA executive vice president and former administrator of the USDA-APHIS, has also been a lecturer.
The University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine has opened its state-of-the-art, $14 million Louise and Doug Leatherdale Equine Center on the St. Paul campus.
The center was named in honor of Louise and Doug Leatherdale of Medina, who made a generous lead gift to the university. Tad and Cindy Piper of Long Lake made the lead gift for the Piper Performance Clinic, a performance medicine and reproductive clinic in the facility.
The 60,000-square-foot equine center boasts new technology such as computerized gait analysis and high-speed cameras to test for lameness, an aqua treadmill used in rehabilitation, and a high-speed treadmill that allows a horse's breath and heartbeat to be monitored while galloping up to 30 miles per hour.
The new facility will be home to the first metro site of the We Can Ride therapeutic riding group. The group teaches riding and carriage driving to children and adults living with cognitive and physical disabilities.
The University Mounted Police unit will also be housed in the facility, which offers a conference center and an indoor and outdoor arena for demonstrations, meetings, and programs by community horse organizations.