Winter 2017 Issue

by Bryan Slinker, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine

As we begin another fantastic year in the life of your College of Veterinary Medicine and I reflect back, there is so much to be grateful for. And much of that is the generosity of the many of you who give back to us in so many ways.

We are nearing the completion of our More Than a Machine campaign for our much-needed new MRI and just a few more gifts would put us over the top to keep this essential advanced imaging technology up and running to provide unparalleled care to our patients. Among others, we have also received numerous gifts to enhance our veterinary educational program, including several to support our growing Clinical Simulation Center with much needed equipment.

Importantly, our grass-roots campaign to enable us to lead the charge to eliminate rabies as a public health problem through our programs of intervention and research (see, for example, the article in this issue on page 3 about our recent research regarding thermostable rabies vaccines). We now have six clinics enrolled in our campaign that provide financial support, and 21 clinics that actively promote the WSU Rabies Vaccination program. And more are joining our efforts each month. My goal is to have every veterinary practice in the state of Washington enrolled in this noble cause to eliminate rabies as a public health problem (you may remember that more than 59,000 people each year die of rabies around the world, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia). We will also invite clinics from Idaho, Montana, and Utah, our WIMU program partners, and the rest of the country to join this noble effort. We know how to prevent the suffering and death due to rabies in our domestic animals—it is a matter of logistics and funding to marshal the response needed to make it happen.

Also, when I talk with our great veterinary students, I am always reminded that much of what makes us special—a real family in a way not all veterinary schools can match— is because of the engagement of so many who give not just of their money, but also their time. For example, our preceptors, the many who volunteer as communication coaches, and the many who give their time to our Diagnostic Challenges in the fall of the second year of our curriculum. None of this would be possible without the engagement of our broader family: alumni, families of our students, staff, faculty, and the many others in our extended family who care about animals. We are blessed with a commitment to our program that makes a real difference for our students on their way to becoming excellent veterinarians. This is also a time of year to look forward, forward to the many opportunities a new College of Medicine will bring to us for collaboration, to moving ahead with our new WSU president, Kirk Schulz, to foster a broad identity in One Health, and to continue our strategic thrusts in individualized medicine, antimicrobial resistance, functional genomics of livestock, and many more. We have welcomed new faculty and said goodbye to some long-time stalwarts. Thanks to all of those dedicated to our success. The future looks great from my perch.

Go Cougs!