Ohio State opens $9M clinical laboratory

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The Ohio State University's new clinical skills laboratory has simulation models and practice areas where students can learn on their own.

At press time, the College of Veterinary Medicine's Clinical and Professional Skills Lab was scheduled to open in August. It is a 16,000-square-foot addition to the existing Veterinary Medical Center, at a cost of $9.3 million.

The laboratory includes simulation models, an instruction space for 80 students, and seven mock examination rooms.

Dr. Rustin Moore, dean of the veterinary college, said students in the laboratory will be able to use 3D printed organs that are flexible enough to imitate real ones, giving them practice on procedures such as canine abdomen palpation, ear examination, and feline intubation. They can use projector-based simulations to perform virtual surgery.

Dr. Moore said students in the examination rooms can record interactions with trained actors to see how they handle conversations about, say, pets in need of euthanasia, clients who can't afford procedures, or medical errors.

Concept drawing
Concept drawing of the expanded Veterinary Medical Center (Courtesy of Ohio State University)

The expansion will give veterinary students more hands-on experiences starting in their first year, and it will supplement existing training. Dr. Moore said the additional clinical experience in realistic environments will build skills and confidence so that graduates are more prepared for practice. They will be better able to provide care for animals whether they are owned by clients who are rich or poor.

In a newsletter published by the veterinary college earlier this year, Dr. Tatiana Motta, who oversaw the laboratory's development and is an assistant professor of companion animal surgery, said the laboratory will help students master abilities at their own pace.

"Our aim is to graduate students who are ready to practice deeper thinking and work on all levels of complexity once they enter clinical practice," she said.

University officials designed and built the Clinical and Professional Skills Lab with money given in 2016 by the Stanton Foundation. It is the foundation of the late Frank Stanton, PhD, who was president of the CBS television network from 1946-71 and who earned a master's degree, a doctoral degree in psychology, and an honorary doctorate at Ohio State.

The donation provided $19 million to establish the Building Preeminence in Veterinary General Practice Education program, which includes the new laboratory, an endowed chair in general practice and canine health and wellness, seven more faculty, 12 staff members, and a mobile veterinary clinic. The foundation also pledged that, if the university met certain goals, it also would receive another $20 million, five years later, to endow the program.

Related JAVMA content:

$39M given to The Ohio State veterinary college (Nov. 15, 2016)