April 01, 2008


 College news

Grant aids Cummings' one-health efforts in Indonesia

The Rockefeller Foundation has awarded the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University a $200,000 grant to assess veterinary health services in Indonesia and consider how advanced training of Indonesian veterinarians can enhance that nation's capacity to prevent and control zoonotic diseases.

"In the event of a zoonotic disease outbreak, the world's poorest people, who largely depend on animals for their livelihoods, are hit the hardest with threats of disease, malnutrition, and economic destitution. At the same time, we see a divide between the fields of veterinary health and human health leading to poor communication and inefficient use of resources to detect and respond to outbreaks," said Tara Acharya, PhD, associate director at the Rockefeller Foundation.

The award will build on a nationwide community-based training program for prevention and control of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Indonesia led by the Cummings School. With the support of the Rockefeller Foundation, the Cummings School will test the effectiveness of Indonesia's veterinary training and education system using highly pathogenic avian influenza, and apply its findings to other diseases that may be transmitted from animals to people.

The Cummings School's program in Indonesia, known as the Participatory Disease Surveillance and Response project, focuses on early warning and early reaction to avian flu. Eight Tufts veterinarians and a senior administrator have worked with the Indonesian government, nongovernmental organizations, and private citizens to establish a nationwide, community-based network of 1,200 teams that monitor and respond to outbreaks of avian influenza.

"The PDS/R Project in Indonesia has taught us many things about how to mobilize communities against an infectious disease outbreak, and these lessons can be applied to controlling zoonotic diseases around the world," said Dr. Deborah Kochevar, dean of the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. "Thanks to the support from the Rockefeller Foundation, we hope to expand this important public health project."

ISU establishes, fills entrepreneurial professorship  

Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine has named its first professor of entrepreneurial studies, Dr. Donald D. Draper, to help instill entrepreneurial and business skills in veterinary students.

The college established an entrepreneurial studies program in veterinary medicine eight years ago. The new professorship is part of a plan to develop a curriculum, speaker series, off-campus internships, and chair in veterinary entrepreneurship. A commitment from Dr. David R. Trask, an ISU alumnus, created the professorship.

Dr. Draper, an ISU professor of biomedical sciences, has been on the faculty of the veterinary college for 37 years. He received his veterinary degree from ISU in 1966 and his master's of business administration from ISU in 1997. He has taught courses in entrepreneurship and practice management, and he was a member of the 2001 task force behind the formation of the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues.

UF receives record-setting estate gifts  

The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine has received approximately $6 million from the estates of two South Florida cattle ranch owners—the largest private gifts received by the college.

The estate gifts are eligible for matching funds from the state's major gifts trust fund, which would result in a total of $12 million.

The UF veterinary college announced in January that the funds will be used to create an endowed chair in veterinary medicine and an endowed professorship in bovine medicine, as well as an endowed fund to support teaching, research, and programs at the college.

College administrators are excited about what the gifts mean to the institution's future, particularly in the area of bovine health, which is facing critical shortages in veterinary medicine. The bovine professorship may aid in attracting more students to this field as well as enhance disease research in this area, administrators say.

The legacy was from cattle owners Harriet Weeks and her daughter, Robin. It came about largely because of the friendship Robin developed with her veterinarian, Dr. Mike McNulty, a mixed animal practitioner and 1983 UF graduate.

"In this time of decreasing state budgetary support, endowments are critical," said the college's dean, Dr. Glen Hoffsis. "For our college to receive two endowed positions simultaneously is just extraordinary."