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Source: Brad White, 785-532-4243, bwhite@vet.k-state.edu;
and Bob Larson, 785-532-4257, rlarson@vet.k-state.edu;
and David Anderson, 785-532-4259, danderso@k-state.edu
News release prepared by: Greg Tammen, 785-532-2535, gtammen@k-state.edu

Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010

VETERINARIANS EDIT, CONTRIBUTE TO JOURNAL ON CHANGING PROFESSION

MANHATTAN -- Three Kansas State University veterinarians traded their stethoscopes for keyboards in an effort to keep fellow practitioners in the know.

The professors edited and contributed articles to the most recent issue of the Online Journal of Rural Research and Policy, a journal related to the Great Plains. This edition focuses on ensuring that veterinarians in small- to medium-size rural practices stay informed about the evolution of their profession and new opportunities resulting from these changes.

"We know rural practice is changing, and we wanted this issue to provide easily accessible knowledge on this evolution to veterinarians in the field, allowing them to make informed decisions on the future of their practice," said Brad White, associate professor of clinical sciences and one of the issue's editors.

White collaborated with fellow clinical sciences professors David Anderson and Bob Larson, who is also the Edgar E. and M. Elizabeth Coleman Chair in Food Animal Production Medicine. The issue, number seven of volume five, includes 12 articles and a forward regarding the evolution in rural veterinary medicine.

"We did this issue because we wanted to recognize the important role veterinarians play in rural communities, as well as the fact that practices in rural communities are changing. Farms are changing; technology is changing; the gender makeup of practitioners is changing," Larson said. "Veterinarians in rural areas, though, are still an important part of their community, even with this evolution."

Articles include the possible future of such veterinary practices, grassroots efforts to address the veterinarian shortage in rural areas, using bilingual training modules to benefit feedlot and diary workers, and exposing more youth to the profession.

"Technology is changing the lives of ranchers, feedlots, veterinary practices -- as it is for all facets of society in the USA," Anderson said. "We hoped to highlight the work people are doing to improve the opportunities available in rural practice."

Both Larson and White were in rural mixed animal practices prior to joining K-State.

"There are higher expectations about the quality of medical care and additional areas of expertise veterinarians need to have these days than was expected when I first graduated," Larson said. "Our clients now expect us to have more breadth and more depth in our professional knowledge."

One of Anderson's favorite journal articles is a video interview with Dan Upson, K-State professor emeritus in veterinary medicine, about changes in the profession since he began practicing in the 1950s. Upson discussed the new directions the profession is taking.

White said if readers take away just one thing from the issue, it should be that the changes in rural veterinary medicine can be viewed as positive for practitioners.

"I think there are opportunities in these changes, and this issue of the journal describes methods and tools practitioners can use to capture value from some of these new opportunities. Articles in this issue also illustrate some practices other veterinarians have done that are working," White said.

An abstract and a full version of each article can be found online at http://ojrrp.org/journals/ojrrp/issue/view/106.

The journal is a peer-reviewed publication that showcases academic and community-based research, commentary and policy articles focused on the Great Plains in a way that is of interest to both the academic and community audiences.

The journal's executive editor is Tom Gould, associate professor of journalism and mass communications. Associate editor is Jacob Mauslein, doctoral student in security studies.