International Student Exchange Program Intended to Create a More Unified Global Veterinary Medical C

Ten veterinary schools in the United States have sent students to five European colleges and hosted students from abroad in an attempt to expose students to international approaches to medicine.

“We have a responsibility to prepare students for the future; to have a global understanding,” said JD Krehbiel, DVM, director of the International Veterinary Focal Studies Program. “Reemerging diseases have a global significance that is critical.”

A total of 26 students have participated in the international program, which is funded in part by Pfizer Animal Health and student contributions. U.S. schools sent three students to London, Dublin, Scotland, Germany, and the Netherlands for a 19-day experience. In 2006, European students traveled to the United States for tours of the 10 veterinary colleges, which include Michigan State, Purdue, Ohio State, and the University of Minnesota. While in Europe, in 2005, American students learned about the clinical trials, new drugs, animal welfare and research issues in the different countries, Krehbiel said.

In Ireland, topics ranged from historical animal remedies to tuberculosis in wildlife. In England, students learned about BSE. In Scotland, students listened to information about grass sickness and parasites, and in the Netherlands, tour guides focused on dairy production issues.

While in the US, European students learned about the unique aspects of animal health in the country – from West Nile virus to equine lameness – as well as partnerships that the colleges have established with industry. For example, MSU works closely with a dairy north of campus to provide veterinary students with practical experience, he said.

Deans of the respective colleges invite first year students to submit applications for the program, which is expected to grow in numbers, Krehbiel said. To date it has been limited to three students per school, and most schools had five applications. Selection criteria for student acceptance to the program vary by college, Krehbiel explained.