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Wiederhold Foundation continues support for Cornell's shelter, conservation medicine programs

The John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation has committed $300,000 of support during the next three years to the shelter medicine and wildlife conservation medicine programs at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. The foundation has generously supported the program since 2012 and has provided training opportunities for students and trainees at shelters, zoos, and wildlife preserves, and grants to support research to improve the health of endangered animals.

Previous support from the Wiederhold Foundation has enabled Dr. Elizabeth Berliner, the Janet L. Swanson Director of Shelter Medicine, to offer one-year specialty internships

A Maddie's shelter medicine intern inspects a Boston terrier.

through the Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at Cornell. These internships train vets in infectious disease management, high-quality high-volume spay and neuter procedures, population management, shelter animal behavior, and data analysis. Dr. Lisa Rodriguez, the most recent intern is now a veterinarian at the Animal Rescue Foundation of San Antonio Texas, a non-profit animal shelter. The Wiederhold-sponsored intern from 2015-2016 is now a vet at the Houston SPCA, directly involved in saving animals affected by Hurricane Harvey.

The foundation also supports research projects that are farther afield, such as the work of Dr. Robin Radcliffe, senior lecturer in wildlife and conservation medicine, to monitor the health of the highly endangered Javan Rhinoceros

Dr. Robin Radcliffe with a Javan rhinoceros

population in Ujung Kulon National Park in Indonesia. Radcliffe is studying how diseases spread from water buffalo to the rhinoceros and working with local farmers to reduce that risk.

The new Wildlife Health Cornell program led by Dr. Steven Osofsky may also benefit from the Wiederhold Foundation’s support in the coming years. A College of Veterinary Medicine Center of Excellence, Wildlife Health Cornell seeks to leverage the expertise of top wildlife experts to develop comprehensive, science-based solutions to health problems faced by wild animals around the world. Osofsky’s work, in particular, investigates issues arising from the intersections of wildlife, agriculture, and human health and livelihood.

“We’re so pleased that the Wiederhold Foundation has renewed its commitment to these programs,” says Dr. Bettina Wagner, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education. “I look forward to seeing how this support will translate into hands-on experiences and positive outcomes for wildlife, domestic animals, and the environment.”

--By Patricia Waldron

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