Global veterinary leadership.Vet Clin North Am Food Anim Pract. 2002 Nov; 18(3):389-99.VC
The public needs no reminder that deadly infectious diseases such as FMD could emerge in any country at any moment, or that national food security could be compromised by Salmonella or Listeria infections. Protections against these risks include the knowledge that appropriate and equivalent veterinary education will enable detection and characterization of emerging disease agents, as well as an appropriate response, wherever they occur. Global veterinary leadership is needed to reduce the global threat of infectious diseases of major food animal and public health importance. We believe that the co-curriculum is an excellent way to prepare and train veterinarians and future leaders who understand and can deal with global issues. The key to the success of the program is the veterinarian's understanding that there is a cultural basis to the practice of veterinary medicine in any country. The result will be a cadre of veterinarians, faculty, and other professionals who are better able (language and culture) to understand the effects of change brought about by free trade and the importance of interdisciplinary and institutional relationships to deal effectively with national and regional issues of food safety and security. New global veterinary leadership programs will build on interests, experience, ideas, and ambitions. A college that wishes to take advantage of this diversity must offer opportunities that interest veterinarians throughout their careers and that preferably connect academic study with intensive experiential training in another country. At its best, the global veterinary leadership program would include a partnership between veterinarians and several international learning centers, a responsiveness to the identified international outreach needs of the profession, and attention to critical thinking and reflection. The global veterinary leadership program we have described is intended to be a set of ideas meant to promote collaboration, coalitions, and discussion among veterinarians and veterinary educators who may be intrigued by the concept. The impact of the program can be summarized as follows: Outreach Programs: The global veterinary leadership program will establish new partnerships between veterinarians and veterinary college faculty as they supervise the international internships and see a relationship between their goals and the value of food safety to this country. Strategic Opportunity: The program will build on the critical role that US veterinarians and veterinary colleges already play in strengthening the safety of free trade in this hemisphere. Diversity in an Age of Specialization: The program will combine a global orientation, language ability, and access to comprehensive, research- and economic-related work/study opportunities to expose veterinarians to the expanding world market for veterinary expertise. New Linkages Through Corporate Partners: Through the success and high visibility of current research and education programs, most veterinary colleges are well positioned to engage industry, government, and university leaders in ways to use the proposed program to increase the flow of new ideas and talent into the world food enterprise. International Funding: A new partnership among veterinarians, industry, government, and university leaders can coordinate strong multilateral requests for funding from national and international sources. An Interdisciplinary Strategy that Benefits Veterinary Medicine: The program will combine the diverse veterinary research and education system with our strong national and international network of collaborators to provide globally competent veterinarians who will be needed for the corporate and public opportunities of the future.