Center for Animal Health in Appalachia created

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​Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine in Harrogate, Tennessee, announced Dec. 1, 2014, the formation of the Center for Animal Health in Appalachia. Located at the DeBusk Veterinary Teaching Center in Lee County, Virginia, CAHA will host an annual conference on animal and public health issues in Appalachia each October, starting in 2015. 

Overall, the mission of CAHA is to improve animal health and public health in the Appalachian region through conferences, workshops, and training programs to raise awareness and advance knowledge of the issues. These events will feature veterinarians, physicians, public health officials, scientists, researchers, and policymakers with interests in Appalachian health issues.

One of the training programs aims to provide veterinary students from Lincoln Memorial and other schools with the opportunity to earn a Rural Animal Practice Certificate. It will combine training in mixed animal medicine, surgery, veterinary business practices, communication, and public health through clinical and in-house placements throughout Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia as well as the veterinary college’s facilities.

CAHA also plans to host community educational programs for Appalachian residents, farmers, and veterinarians both on campus and online. In addition, it will provide public education, advocacy, and research related to Appalachian animal health and public health, including through annual publication of a report on the State of Animal Health in Appalachia.

Leading CAHA will be its executive director and chief veterinary officer, Dr. Jason Johnson, and the veterinary college’s one-health director, Dr. Gary Vroegindewey. Supporting it will be CAHA director of administration Ashley Knight and policy adviser Mark L. Cushing of the Animal Policy Group. LMU’s veterinary college clinical faculty will provide the CAHA Rural Animal Practice Certificate curriculum as well as public education programs.