Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Veterinarians Essential to Human Health, Too

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Veterinarians Essential to Human Health, Too

Article excerpt

As the school year comes to an end, I say congratulations to the graduates and their very happy parents. For everyone else, I want to share some information about the only veterinary school in Pennsylvania. Three of the five doctors who work at my office graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.

A veterinarian graduates with a wealth of knowledge about the health of many species including humankind. Penn Vet graduates find careers in biomedical research, teaching, human medicine and public health along with the traditional roles of caring for animals.

Founded in 1884, Penn Vet boasts 6,000 graduates and the vast majority of veterinarians in Pennsylvania are Penn graduates. The unique V.M.D. degree gives Penn veterinarians a distinctive signature. All of the other 28 schools in the U.S. give a D.V.M. degree.

Penn Vet dean Joan Hendricks is fond of pointing out that veterinarians constitute "the profession that stands between all of humanity and plague and famine." What she means is that veterinary medicine makes a significant contribution to assuring a safe, plentiful and affordable food supply.

On the farm, veterinarians do everything from developing a herd health program to checking the efficiency of milking machines. They also ensure the safety of eggs, poultry, swine and cattle. As the movement to "eat local" continues to grow, it becomes even more important that the University of Pennsylvania train and retain the best veterinarians in the country.

Agriculture is the biggest industry in this state and every payday hundreds of thousands of workers bring home a paycheck from the $61 billion agriculture and agribusiness industry.

Veterinarians have been at the forefront of medical research that has advanced animal and human health. Penn Vet alumnus and faculty member Ralph Brinster last year was awarded the National Medal of Science, which is the highest award that can be bestowed upon a scientist. …

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