A New Model for Companion-Animal Primary Health Care Education
ABSTRACT The majority of graduates from veterinary schools in the United States and Canada join companion-animal practices. In most schools, their clinical learning and client interaction experiences occurred primarily in referral teaching hospitals. These specialty hospitals play an essential role in the veterinary care continuum by providing advanced training, clinically-based research, and sophisticated diagnostics and procedures. However, they are not ideal as the principal setting for preparing veterinarians to bring value to the primary health care practices that they join. A new model for companion-animal primary health care education and service delivery has been developed at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. The nine integrated programs, which have defined learning objectives and outcome assessments, include communication, nutrition, rehabilitation, behavior, welfare, One Health (ecosystem approach to health), preventive and general medicine, good citizenship, and research. The learning experience begins with first-year student veterinarians and takes place in a practice setting with paying clients from the community. Significantly, the students are learning in an environment that emphasizes the importance of the client experience, teamwork, and practice management while ensuring quality health care for patients. The future of companion-animal primary health care and the optimal preparation of veterinarians are critical issues for the veterinary colleges and profession. Enhanced research into new models for primary health care education and service delivery is urgently needed.
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ABSTRACT: Shelter medicine is a rapidly developing field of great importance, and shelters themselves provide abundant training opportunities for veterinary medical students. Students trained in shelter medicine have opportunities to practice zoonotic and species-specific infectious disease control, behavioral evaluation and management, primary care, animal welfare, ethics, and public-policy issues. A range of sheltering systems now exists, from brick-and-mortar facilities to networks of foster homes with no centralized facility. Exposure to a single shelter setting may not allow students to understand the full range of sheltering systems that exist; a community-classroom approach introduces students to a diverse array of sheltering systems while providing practical experience. This article presents the details and results of a series of 2-week elective clinical rotations with a focus on field and service learning in animal shelters. The overall aim was to provide opportunities that familiarized students with sheltering systems and delivered primary-care training. Other priorities included increasing awareness of public health concerns and equipping students to evaluate shelters on design, operating protocols, infectious disease control, animal enrichment, and community outreach. Students were required to participate in rounds and complete a project that addressed a need recognized by them during the rotation. This article includes costs associated with the rotation, a blueprint for how the rotation was carried out at our institution, and details of shelters visited and animals treated, including a breakdown of treatments provided. Also discussed are the student projects and student feedback on this valuable clinical experience.Journal of Veterinary Medical Education 01/2014; 41(1):1-7. DOI:10.3138/jvme.0813-105R · 0.83 Impact Factor