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IIAD education theme leader presents poster at global conference on Veterinary Education

Originally posted on the IIAD website. View the original article at http://iiad.tamu.edu/2016/06/iiad-education-theme-leader-presents-poster-at-global-conference-on-veterinary-education/

The Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases’ (IIAD) program manager and theme leader for education and outreach systems, Heather Simmons, DVM, MSVPH, was selected to present a poster at this week’s 4 th World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Global Conference on Veterinary Education. Elizabeth Parker, DVM, IIAD chief veterinarian, also represented the Institute, which is an OIE Collaborating Centre for biological threat reduction and a Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Center of Excellence, at the conference.

The three-day conference, held in Bangkok, Thailand, brought together more than 600 professionals across the veterinary education field, including: OIE national delegates, government representatives, deans of Veterinary Education Establishments (VEEs), representatives of veterinary statutory bodies, international and national public- and private-sector organizations and individual experts, representatives of institutions in charge of the accreditation of VEEs and representatives of veterinary para-professional organizations. During the conference, attendees discussed the current situation of veterinary education worldwide, innovative teaching practices for initial and continuing veterinary education, implementing OIE guidelines and standards for veterinary education and the importance of having a well-rounded veterinary education portfolio that includes communications, business and leadership training.

The poster session was designed to highlight innovative activities of VEEs and veterinary organizations from across the globe that contribute to the implementation of OIE guidelines for ensuring excellence in the veterinary profession. Simmons’ poster, titled “ Building Sustainable Veterinary Education and Outreach Programmes to Strengthen International Capacity and Competency Standards for Veterinary Paraprofessionals and Professionals,” was co-authored by Parker along with IIAD interim director, Gerald Parker, DVM, Ph.D., M.S., and IIAD associate director, Melissa Berquist, Ph.D.

Simmons’ poster focused on the importance of protecting against ongoing global animal health threats by building sustainable capacity to strengthen and foster veterinary educational programs at all levels. The Institute manages a portfolio that includes international veterinary education programs focused on building capacity to improve animal health worldwide through technical training and certification. Many OIE Member Countries rely on veterinary paraprofessionals to perform routine surveillance and laboratory duties, while also forming a crucial link between animal caretakers and veterinarians. The poster highlighted the Institute’s successful veterinary education programs, including the Veterinary Science Certificate Program, which has provided the skills and training needed for certified veterinary assistants to more than 30,000 youth in the U.S., and the professional training program, which has provided 208 personnel in 15 countries with laboratory, epidemiology and surveillance training.

“The conference highlighted discussions on day one competencies of graduating veterinarians with subsequent information on future innovations in teaching methods to further improve the quality of the veterinary profession as a whole,” said Simmons.

The Institute’s programs are in synergistic alignment with international standards and the OIE Performance of Veterinary Services pathway – an evaluation report that is dedicated to the sustainable improvement of the quality of veterinary services in OIE member countries.

Headquartered in College Station, Texas, IIAD was founded in 2004 as a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Center of Excellence. The Institute focuses on research, education and outreach to prevent, detect, mitigate and recover from transboundary, emerging and/or zoonotic diseases, which may be introduced intentionally or through natural processes. In 2014, IIAD was recognized by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) as a Collaborating Centre in the specialty of biological threat reduction. IIAD is the only centre of this kind in OIE’s America’s region and the only OIE Collaborating Centre within the Texas A&M University System. For more information, visit iiad.tamu.edu.