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Fall veterinary conference promotes educational verve

Veterinary professionals at every stage in their career converged on Ithaca this weekend for the Fall 2018 New York State Veterinary Conference (NYS-VC). The three-day continuing education event featured traditional lectures as well as new learning formats designed to optimize learning. Interactive case studies, games for learning and educational technology labs helped attendees practice applying what they learned in the new state-of-the-art facilities at the College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM).

NYS-VC draws veterinarians and veterinary technicians from across the Northeast. Nearly 850 people attended this year, a record number that includes approximately 150 students and other members of the CVM community.

“Attendees really liked our new interactive, applied learning sessions,” said Jodi Korich, D.V.M. ’97, associate dean for education. “Moving forward, we will develop CE [continuing education] programs that offer greater levels of customized learning.”

Applied learning is a component of President Martha Pollack’s educational verve initiative for Cornell. “This is what we must aspire to in education: a vitality that leads our students to a lifetime of discovery, a passion for ideas and a commitment to seeking truth,” said Pollack during her summer 2017 inauguration ceremony. NYS-VC aspired to that and more this weekend, with several different tracks attendees could choose from, including companion animal, equine, bovine, small ruminant, camelid and veterinary technician tracks.

New this year was a track on backyard poultry, a rising interest among owners who want to install chicken coops and raise their own farm-fresh eggs. Jarra Jagne, D.V.M. ’90, senior extension associate, and Dr. Elizabeth Buckles, associate clinical professor, led attendees through backyard chicken treatments, vaccinations and diagnostic approaches. They followed their lectures with hands-on labs featuring live chickens so attendees could practice techniques to safely examine and restrain them.

The conference is co-sponsored by CVM and the New York State Veterinary Medical Society (NYSVMS). Each year, NYS-VC holds a celebration dinner to honor veterinary professionals with prestigious awards. This year’s dinner was held at the Lab of Ornithology, where Lorin D. Warnick, D.V.M., Ph.D. ’94, the Austin O. Hooey Dean of Veterinary Medicine, recognized the recipients for “advancing the veterinary profession, each in their own unique way.” This year’s award recipients included:

  • Stephanie West, D.V.M. ’90: Outstanding Service to Veterinary Medicine
  • Ian Wetherly ’61, D.V.M. ’62: Distinguished Life Service Award
  • Dr. Bill Miller and Julia Miller, D.V.M. ’12: Joint winners of the Outstanding Speaker Award
  • Bruce Haynes, D.V.M. ’52: Daniel Elmer Salmon Award for Distinguished Alumni Service

This year’s conference included networking events for everyone, from early career veterinarians to seasoned practitioners and licensed veterinary technicians. There were even events for the animals themselves, like the annual DeeDee Arrison Concert for the Animals. The concert featured internationally-acclaimed violinists and members of the Stradivari Society Tim Fain and Francisco Fullana, accompanied by Grammy-nominated pianist Robert Koenig. The concert, open to people and animals, has been a regular feature at the college since 2009. It is sponsored by Clement and Karen Arrison in honor of their dog who was treated for bone cancer at the Cornell University Hospital for Animals.

The weekend also included an official dedication ceremony for the new Small Animal Community Practice, which opened to patients this summer. Warnick and Dr. Meg Thompson, associate dean of hospital operations and corporate relations, thanked everyone for their support for the facility, whose completion marked the end of the class expansion project. Dr. William Hornbuckle, the Rudolph J. and Katherine L. Steffen Professor of Veterinary Medicine emeritus, returned to the college to offer attendees in the crowded atrium a brief history of the community practice service, from its origins in the 1980s and its many moves to the evolving role of students and veterinary technicians.

Said Hornbuckle, “I’d like to congratulate Dr. Thompson, Dean Warnick and the rest of the administration who supported the building of this clinic, and I wish my associates – new and old – good luck in the future ahead.”

By Melanie Greaver Cordova

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