Tufts University's Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine signed a memorandum of understanding Sept. 20 with the International Fund for Animal Welfare. The agreement is meant to encourage collaborative research, teaching, and student opportunities between New England's only veterinary school and the internationally recognized group, which is dedicated to assisting animals in crisis.
Signed by Cummings School Dean Deborah T. Kochevar and Azzedine Downes, IFAW's executive vice president, the agreement acknowledges mutual areas of interest between Tufts and IFAW and lays out intentions to work together and to share training opportunities for staff and students.
The international components of the partnership will enhance an already strong International Veterinary Medicine program at Cummings. The program consists of a core course as well as electives, selectives, a certificate program, and international experiences in places such as Nepal, South Africa, Bhutan, Indonesia, and Uganda.
Several Cummings School students already have worked on IFAW-sponsored projects, including elephant rehabilitation in India, raptor rescue and rehabilitation in China, and improvement of community dog and cat welfare in Mexico and Native American reservations in the United States.
Plus, four students from Tufts' Master of Science in Animals and Public Policy program have completed externships with IFAW. One went to Navajo territory to assess attitudes among the native peoples toward dog ownership. Another traveled to Cozumel, studying the health of free-roaming dogs.
IFAW also is represented at the instructional level, as the group's representatives teach in the veterinary school's curricula, both for the DVM-degree and the master's program. For example, Kate N. Atema, the organization's program director for companion animals, teaches the qualitative methods class within the Animals and Public Policy curriculum. Also, IFAW has helped to launch the Disaster Medicine elective course, offered for the first time this past April.
Now with the agreement signed, Tufts and IFAW have already begun investigating many more opportunities for collaboration and hope to roll those out within the next year, said Tufts spokesman Thomas Keppeler.
IFAW is headquartered in Yarmouth, Mass. With more than 1.2 million supporters worldwide, IFAW works to engage communities, government leaders, and like-minded organizations around the world to achieve lasting solutions to pressing animal welfare and conservation challenges for dogs and cats, wildlife and their habitats, and animals in crisis.