Education of global veterinarians.Prev Vet Med. 2009 Dec 01; 92(4):275-83.PV
In 2003, the University of Florida (UF) College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) created an Office of International Programs (OIP) in response to one of ten initiatives of the UF Strategic Plan: internationalization of the curriculum. The OIP has developed coursework that provides students with an opportunity for international exposure during the veterinary curriculum at three levels. In Level 1 (on campus) students can participate in a seminar series in global health: www.ufglobalhealth.org. This is an elective course offered to professional students at the UF Health Science Center (Dentistry, Medicine, Pharmacy, Public Health, and Veterinary Medicine). In Level 2 (abroad), students can participate in structured study abroad programs under the supervision of UF faculty and international scholars from collaborative institutions abroad. In Level 3 (on campus and abroad), students can participate in a certificate program in international veterinary medicine. This is a 15-credit program, parallel to the veterinary curriculum. By offering courses on campus and abroad, we want to empower the curriculum with a global perspective of the veterinary profession, as well as with a humanist education that can help students recognize the importance of respect for cultural differences and the reasons for different degrees of development and growth in the world. In addition, this paper presents the need for veterinary medicine and other disciplines in the health sciences to communicate with other disciplines in the social sciences and natural sciences to create development practitioners equipped with cross-disciplinary knowledge and skills needed to formulate, implement and evaluate solutions aimed at breaking the cycle of poverty and disease in low income societies. Finally, this paper makes a call to the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education to assess the need to recognize the importance of internationalization of the veterinary curriculum as a key standard for accreditation of colleges or schools of veterinary medicine.