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K-State Today

October 14, 2015

College of Veterinary Medicine hosts second reunion of U.S.-China Joint DVM Program

Submitted by Joe Montgomery

Reunion photo

The U.S.-China Center for Animal Health in the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine welcomed special guests — senior executives of the Consulate General of China in Chicago, American Veterinary Medical Association, Zoetis, Banfield Pet Hospital and a representative from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, as well as deans from five partnering veterinary colleges in the U.S., Europe and China — as part of its second annual reunion event Sept. 26-27.

The reunion centered around reports from the 16 students in the U.S.-China Joint Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Program who have all attended or are attending Kansas State University for pre-veterinary studies. Twelve of the students are now in the first, second or third years of their Doctor of Veterinary Medicine programs at three different universities. Six students are at Kansas State University, five are at the University of Minnesota and one is at Iowa State University.

"It is exciting to see that the program has become reality and grown bigger since it was an idea five years ago," said Jishu Shi, director of the U.S.-China Center for Animal Health. "Our focus on this program is to train future trainers of veterinary medicine for China. We hope that the students will go back to China to become faculty members teaching the next generation of students in China. The program also creates an opportunity for the world's future most influential leaders in animal health to become colleagues and best friends now."

"As we start to look at the world being more globalized, and how we address critical challenges in both animal and human health, this center and the students that are emerging from this are absolutely critical to the future," said Tammy Beckham, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Enmin Zhou, dean of Northwest A&F University's College of Veterinary Medicine, said it's important for Chinese students to study in the United States.

"The students have to be here physically to understand the differences between the Eastern and Western culture for veterinary medicine, especially for the North American veterinary system in comparison to the Chinese," Zhou said. "The students will experience how much we are behind and what we need to learn in order to build and to improve the veterinary training program in China."

The reunion event was created for the students attending Doctor of Veterinary Medicine programs at different schools to connect with and learn from each other through sharing their experiences in the pre-veterinary program at K-State, summer learning opportunities and respective DVM studies.

"I took nine courses last year and I can feel that every instructor tried their best to use different ways to stimulate students to think and to learn," said Huan Zeng, now a first-year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine student at the University of Minnesota.

"I feel in my pre-vet year that not only did I broaden my horizons in my professional field, but I also became more mature emotionally — more mature to tackle the stress coming from academics or relationships," said Chiyu Guan, a first-year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine student at Kansas State University. "I think that's very important to prepare me for the DVM program."

Qiu-Wen Kou, a sophomore Doctor of Veterinary Medicine student at Kansas State University, compared her learning experiences in the U.S. and China.

"One of the most common questions that I have been asked since I have been here is what is the difference between the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program in the U.S. and in China," she said. "We have 135 hours for gross anatomy lab, compared to 16 hours in China. I cannot believe I have spent so much time with those specimens."

"Last year, we had the most intense course load, but it was very fun," said Yi Ding, a junior Doctor of Veterinary Medicine student at the University of Minnesota. "I felt satisfied at learning a lot every day."

All the students are appreciative to the people who have supported them.

"This year, I got a car. If you have a car, you actually cannot go far unless you have fuel," said Aolei Chen, a sophomore Doctor of Veterinary Medicine student at the University of Minnesota. "All the people here — you are my fuel. You took me far away from China to the U.S. — 7,500 miles across the Pacific Ocean. I believe we could go further onto the international stage sometime in the future."

The U.S.-China Joint DVM Program is sponsored by Kansas State University, the China Scholarship Council, International Veterinary Collaboration for China/Zoetis and the Chinese Veterinary Medical Association. The U.S.-China Center for Animal Health coordinates and leads the partnership in mobilizing the program.

The reunion also created an opportunity for supporters to review the program.

"It's great to listen to the students sharing their experiences and to know that our investment has been worthwhile," said Tony Tan, group director of business development and global alliances for Zoetis. "I'm confident this is the best investment Zoetis has made to make a difference in veterinary education in China."

Jun Liu, the deputy consul general of China in its Chicago office told the students, "We are very proud of you. This is a prestigious program. In my opinion you're already standing on giant shoulders so you can make a big difference once you graduate and return to China. You can make history."

The program also partners with Banfield Pet Hospital; the American Veterinary Medical Association; USDA; University of California, Davis; University of Minnesota; Iowa State University; and 12 agricultural universities in China. This unique collaboration with universities, governments and animal health industry in the U.S. and China creates unprecedented learning opportunities for students in the program. Over the summer, some students served internships at Banfield Pet Hospital, American Veterinary Medical Association and the UDSA.

"We have had two students who are working with and have worked with Banfield. They are completely model students and model people," said Dan Aja, chief medical officer for Banfield Pet Hospital. "At Banfield, we feel like it's our responsibility to lean in and share best practices that can help the veterinary profession grow, not just in China, but globally. It's really, really important."

Joseph Kinnarney, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association told students, "History will be made when you go back to China. As president of the AVMA, I will help you. I will be committed to helping the Chinese Veterinary Medical Association and the Chinese veterinary profession to enhance and grow. Worldwide, we have to have a strong 'One Health, One Profession' in order to meet the needs of the world."