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Sources: Jishu Shi, 785-532-4506, jshi@vet.k-state.edu;
Frank Blecha, 785-532-2741, blecha@vet.k-state.edu;
and Ralph Richardson, 785-532-5660, rcr@vet.k-state.edu
Pronouncer: Jishu is Gee-shoe and Shi is She.
Photo available. Contact media@k-state.edu or 785-532-2535.
News release prepared by: Joe Montgomery, 785-532-4193, jmontgom@vet.k-state.edu

Friday, May 28, 2010

K-STATE COLLEGE OF VETERINARY MEDICINE PROFESSOR WORKING ON ANIMAL HEALTH PARTNERSHIP WITH CHINA

MANHATTAN -- A Kansas State University professor is working to develop an animal health partnership between K-State and China.

Dr. Jishu Shi, veterinarian and associate professor of anatomy and physiology in K-State's College of Veterinary Medicine, visited China in late March and early April to advance his idea for the U.S.-China Center for Animal Health, a K-State-based training center for the improvement of Chinese animal health education, research, government and industrial work force.

Shi developed his idea for the animal health partnership with the help of Dr. Ralph Richardson, a veterinarian and dean of K-State's College of Veterinary Medicine; and Dr. Frank Blecha, university distinguished professor and head of the department of anatomy and physiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Shi also received a $1,500 International Incentive Grant from K-State's office of international programs to help with his trip.

Shi thinks the center will create more jobs in Kansas and expand opportunities for U.S. animal heath businesses to have greater access to the Chinese market.

"We are trying to capitalize on our expertise in Doctor of Veterinary Medicine training here at the College of Veterinary Medicine and also our connections with the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor," he said. "There's a need in China for improving veterinary education. We can bring veterinary students here or we can go to China to teach workshops and generate educational opportunities as well as business development opportunities."

"Benefiting from Dr. Shi's vision and a growing network of K-State alums in China, the U.S.-China Center for Animal Health represents a tremendous opportunity for our college, university and state; an opportunity that will to extend our capabilities and expertise in the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine curriculum, animal infectious disease research, and animal health work force development," Blecha said.

Shi said the first step is to have two or three students from China enroll at K-State, while the overall goal is to help improve the Chinese Doctor of Veterinary Medicine training system and meet American Veterinary Medical Association accreditation standards.

Shi has been working with the Chinese Veterinary Medical Association to establish the China Veterinary Continuing Education Center in Beijing. The K-State College of Veterinary Medicine would send its staff or faculty to teach as part of an outreach opportunity, especially veterinary specialists.

"In China, they have 55 colleges that can graduate students and then call them veterinarians, but only two Chinese schools have full colleges of veterinary medicine like K-State," Shi said. "It's believed there are anywhere from 300,000 to a million veterinarians in China. Now they're trying to board certify their veterinarians and learn from the American Veterinary Medical Association system. They just started in December, so they really want to learn how colleges are accredited. They have invited Dean Richardson to China in October to talk about how to prepare for AVMA accreditation as a veterinary school."

Clinical training is the one area that Shi said the Chinese veterinary organizations are most interested in for their veterinarians.

"I went to talk to the potential partners -- the Chinese Veterinary Medical Association, China Veterinary Center for Disease Control, China Agricultural University, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, animal health companies in the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor, as well as Pfizer Animal Health Asia Pacific," Shi said. "If we can provide the training and expertise, then they will pay to sponsor it for their students and practitioners."

Shi said he would like to eventually have K-State veterinary medicine students work or study in China for a semester, which could allow them to learn traditional Chinese veterinary medicine techniques such as acupuncture.

"My goal is to make it a selective course," Shi said. "This would give Chinese veterinary educators a chance to work with some of our best students, while giving our students a unique opportunity to study abroad."

Another component of the partnership is to train animal and public health officials from all levels of Chinese government on animal disease control management and how to work with international animal health organizations.

"My interest as a Chinese native and K-State faculty member is in helping both countries," Shi said.

While the U.S.-China Center for Animal Health is only in its early planning stages, Shi sees lots of potential. The center could become the leverage point for K-State to become listed as an official Overseas Training Institute and a university member of the China State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs.

"This is really a development opportunity that could help increase our reputation," he said. "The Pfizer Consortium for Chinese Veterinary Education wants us to be there. The Kansas Department of Commerce in Topeka has talked to us three times about how this center may improve opportunities for Kansas companies to get into the Chinese market for animal health. The Kansas Bioscience Authority wants to work with the center to attract Chinese commercial interests to Kansas.

"If we can get the best students from China to come to K-State for veterinary training and then return to China, we increase our reputation as an international training university. It's really a win-win-win for everybody," he said.