Veterinarians are well-suited for comparative and biomedical research due to their knowledge in basic physiology applied to multiple animal species and their clinical training. Veterinary specialists in biomedical and comparative research are essential for successful research at all levels and locations and a shortage of veterinarians with the background and training for biomedical research has been documented in reports by the National Academy of Sciences and is predicted to increase. The College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) at Iowa State University (ISU) has a stellar history of educating veterinarians many of whom have entered careers in biomedical research. The CVM at ISU has a cooperative educational agreement with the University of Nebraska at Lincoln (UNL) whereby UNL School of Veterinary medicine educates an additional 25 students per year for two years of the veterinary curriculum. Today, ISU CVM has one of the largest class sizes among U. S. Veterinary Schools and Colleges which makes an excellent pool of student trainees for recruitment into the summer scholar program. The CVM enrolls over 140 graduate students. ISU CVM research funding has increased to $17 million in 2011 with faculty members, including veterinarians who receive NIH grants. Nearby ISU is the USDA/ARS-National Animal Disease Center which is the largest animal research facility in the world with veterinarians dedicated to animal research. ISU CVM began a summer scholar training program for veterinary medical students in1991 and received T35 support in 2001 with renewal in 2008. The T35 has supported 75 trainees during this time. The broader summer scholar program at ISU CVM (supported by Merial, LTD, Iowa Healthy Livestock Advisory Committee, Morris Animal Foundation) has consistently supported 20-25 trainees for 20 years. Many of these enter biomedical research fields. The objective of the T35-supported scholar training and the overall Veterinary Medical Summer Scholars Research Program (SSRP) at Iowa State University is to expose first and second year veterinary medical students to biomedical research by direct laboratory experience and through participation in allied activities including seminars, workshops, journal clubs and presentations. The overall goal of the SSRP is to increase the number of scientifically-trained veterinarians that are successful as biomedical scientists. The objectives and goals are met through a 13 week summer program that includes fruitful laboratory experiences with highly engaged and qualified, NIH-mentors that includes veterinarians in superb facilities;lectures and seminars on animal care, ethics, conflicts, inter-student and mentor interactions, scientific writing;and deep engagement with veterinarians as mentors in biomedical research.
There is a need to increase the number of veterinarians trained in biomedical research to support the nation's health. Iowa State University's (ISU) College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) has a summer scholar research program (SSRP) since 1991 that has trained over 343 veterinary medical students. It is a 13-week program with a wide pool of qualified veterinary students with increasing diversity, broad student interest, dedicated mentors (including a significant number of veterinarians with NIH funding), and has grown to include other colleges at ISU, the USDA/ARS-National Animal Disease Center, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Veterinary Biomedical Sciences.
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