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Iowa State Still Making History


1879 was the year Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, Albert Einstein was born and Iowa State University established the nation’s first public veterinary school.

Clearly, 1879 was a time for pacesetters.

Like Edison and Einstein, Iowa State’s College of Veterinary Medicine has a long history of achievement:

  • Playing a key role in the eradication of hog cholera, bovine tuberculosis, brucellosis and pseudorabies.
  • Creating the nation’s first four-year veterinary curriculum, in 1903.
  • In the early 1950s becoming the first veterinary school in the Midwest with its own radiation therapy machine.
  • In 1961, ramping up research capabilities with the purchase of an electron microscope.
  • Starring on the global stage as host of the National Animal Disease Center, the National Veterinary Services Laboratories and the Institute for International Cooperation in Animal Biologics.

"We have a long heritage in veterinary education and animal health care delivery," says Associate Dean Eldon Uhlenhopp, DVM, MS.

Dr. Uhlenhopp is especially proud of the college’s research, noting "exceptionally strong" programs in neuroscience, immune mediation, food safety, infectious diseases of production animals, emerging diseases of zoonotic importance, antimicrobial resistance and global parasitology.

Teaching more than 600 DVM and graduate students are some of the best minds in the field. The college employs 52 board-certified specialists, including orthopedic surgeon James Toombs, DVM, MS, Dipl. AVCS, who holds the Bacon Endowed Professorship, and award-winning clinical pathologist Holly Bender, DVM, Ph.D., Dipl. ACVP.

Like many U.S. veterinary schools, Iowa State hasn't been unscathed by the faltering U.S. economy.

"The national recession has resulted in a significant plateau in our efforts to grow and enhance the college physical plant and educational resources," Uhlenhopp says. "We are continuing our large-scale capital projects that have been previously approved and will continue with strategic renovations. Faculty and staff growth will be feasible only in areas of critical importance."

Still, he sees a bright future for the college. Among the long-term goals:

  • Offer the leading comprehensive program in food supply veterinary medicine in the U.S.
  • Be ranked among the top five veterinary schools in the U.S. by 2014.
  • Have 200 faculty members by 2020.
  • Be a leader in international veterinary education.

Well into its second century, the college continues to grow in the face of the recession. A 108,000-square-foot equine and production animal building opened recently. The next step is the doubling in size of the companion animal hospital. It’s all part of a project to expand by 25 percent the size of Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center.

Other gems on Iowa State’s 1,984-acre campus include:

  • The Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, which completes about 50,000 submissions annually and is one of 12 core laboratories in the National Animal Health Network.
  • The Veterinary Medical Research Institute, whose faculty focuses on applied and basic livestock health research.
  • The Food Safety Consortium, which works to safeguard the food chain through rapid identification of contaminants and developing methods to evaluate potential health risks.
  • The Iowa Center for Advanced Neurotoxicology, which does research into and teaches students about animal- and human-related neurotoxicological problems.

Uhlenhopp, who for 12 years owned and operated a mixed-animal practice, sees the veterinary field evolving over the next 20 years.

"Private practices will become larger and more complicated in structure," he says. "Veterinarians in private practices will assume more management responsibilities. Third-party payers will become more important in the delivery of health care.

"Veterinarians will assume more responsibilities for a broader range of scientific roles, both in human health and animal health. The distinctions between veterinarians’ roles and medical doctors’ roles will become more blurred. Individual professionals will assume positions based upon skills, knowledge and abilities rather than based upon academic degrees.” <HOME>

Click Here to view all Vet School Spotlights.

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