Total Pageviews

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dr. Elaine Watson named dean of Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine

Posted October 26, 2011 by Donald F. Smith, Cornell University
Ross University’s veterinary school on the island of St. Kitts in the Caribbean is having a banner year. In March, they became accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association, and yesterday they announced the hiring of Dr. Elaine Watson as their next dean.
An internationally-recognized scholar in veterinary reproduction and seasoned administrator―she has served as dean of the veterinary school at the University of Edinburgh since 2003― Dr. Watson will bring experience in international veterinary medicine to a program that has until now been largely U.S. focused. She succeeds Dean David DeYoung.
The veterinary program at Ross University is one of three medical schools in the region owned by DeVry, Inc., the other two being Ross University School of Medicine and the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine.
Ross admits three classes of veterinary students each year and graduates approximately 420 students per year (most veterinary colleges on the mainland graduate 80-140 students per year). Because they do not have a comprehensive teaching hospital, Ross students complete their clinical training in an accredited veterinary college in the U.S.
Most Ross students are American citizens, and return to the United States to practice clinical medicine. Over 60% locate in just eight states, either in the northeast (11% of their graduates are in New York State), or in Florida, California, Illinois and Ohio.
Ross University rides the crest of a “back to the future” wave in veterinary education. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a substantial proportion of veterinarians graduated from private, for-profit veterinary programs. These schools all disappeared by the late 1920s but a similar model for professional education has again emerged with Ross being the largest and best known.
Historically, the most successful of the early proprietary veterinary schools was the Ontario Veterinary College, founded in 1862. American students flocked to Toronto to receive a veterinary degree from the Edinburgh-educated Andrew Smith. Over a century later, another Edinburgh icon, Elaine Watson, has assumed leadership of the largest and most successful private veterinary school serving U.S. students.
Dr. Smith invites comments at

Friday, October 21, 2011

Dr. Mitch Kornet and A Tradition of Mentoring

Guest Blog by Michelle Pesce, Cornell DVM Class of 2012
Posted October 21, 2011

Careers for Veterinarians Series

When Mitchell Kornet took his 89-cent hamster for a six-dollar veterinary appointment in 1968, he was making an investment in a good deal more than the rodent’s well-being. Dr. Albert Drolesky’s kind attention that evening was what first led 13-year-old Mitch to direct his aptitude for science towards veterinary medicine.

The 1979 graduate of Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine considers himself fortunate to have had a series of mentors throughout his education and early career. Their guidance helped him establish a successful small animal practice with loyal clientele, as well as a deep-rooted sense of benevolence towards students pursuing a career in veterinary medicine.

Dr. Mitch Kornet CVM (Cornell '79) examining
his own dog, Ferrous, at the Mid Island Animal Hospital.
As the first of his family to attend college, Mitch was apprehensive about attending Cornell as an undergraduate. After finding his footing academically in his freshman year, he sought experience in the large animal clinic as a sophomore. Dr. Lawrence Kramer, who had recently been appointed as head of the clinic, offered Mitch a job in the pharmacy dispensary and took a special interest in his development as a prospective veterinary student.

Following his first year of veterinary college, Mitch returned to the practice he had visited years before with his hamster. The new practice owner, Dr. Richard Lange, helped Mitch understand the workup on cases and also shared with him how much fun one can have being a veterinarian.
Dr. Kornet had been among the youngest students in his graduating class, and his youth was recognized by clients when he took ownership of Mid Island Animal Hospital in Hicksville, NY in 1983 at age 28.
I received a hostile call from a client one afternoon… she proceeded to give me a list of demands that included which employees to retain and hours that I should be open. I listened carefully and was very polite. Then Mrs. Weber said, ‘and one more thing young man…..’ That didn’t sound right to me and I had to take control of the conversation – quickly. So without thinking, I said, ‘That’s enough Mrs. Weber, from now on when you address me, you will call me Dr. Young Man.’”
Mrs. Weber hung up on “Dr. Young Man” that day, but did eventually return to the practice. Mid Island Animal Hospital evolved into a busy American Animal Hospital Association-accredited small animal practice as hours were extended, emergency appointments were invited, and the employee base expanded.
In 1998, Dr. Kornet began volunteering as a member of the Long Island Veterinary Medical Association’s Disaster Preparedness Plan. A far cry from anyone's expectations, the plan was put into action following September 11th, 2001.
Mid Island Animal Hospital, Hicksville, N.Y.
In the ensuing two months, Dr. Kornet assembled teams of veterinarians and technicians who worked 12-hour shifts around the clock at veterinary triage site for search and rescue dogs. For his efforts, Dr. Kornet was honored as Long Island’s Veterinarian of the Year.
As a student in Dean Smith‘s “Versatile Profession” course in February 2010, I took great interest in his reference to Dr. Mitch Kornet, and wondered if his practice would merit a visit. I mailed him a letter and a copy of my résumé, and what followed was one of the most worthwhile summer jobs I’ve ever had, redefining my concept of a model small animal practice.
At Mid Island Animal Hospital, the greatest care and attention is provided to every patient, whether routine or unusual, and the legacy of mentorship that had  begun many years earlier was passed onto my generation of veterinary students, as well as aspiring animal health technicians.  
As Dr. Kornet reminded me: “What’s remarkable to me is that no matter what generation we are in, we are all the same. Veterinarians want to learn, do well, and be good doctors for the sake of our patients. We love animals, and we have unending energy to make the lives of our patients better. And because of the broad scope of our training we are capable of doing some extraordinary things.

Author Michelle Pesce, Cornell's DVM Class of 2012, and Dr. Mitch Kornet '79
Michelle grew up in Massapequa, N.Y. on the southern shore of Long Island.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The First Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in the U.S.

By Donald F. Smith, Cornell University
Posted October 7, 2011.

Everyone has to start at the beginning, even if that person is destined to become one of the most famous veterinarians in history. On this date, October 7, 143 years ago, Daniel Salmon began his veterinary studies when Cornell University opened its doors for the first time. He would become the nation's first D.V.M. graduate.(1)

Celebrating what came to be known as the university's Inauguration Day, founder Ezra Cornell said, “I hope we have laid the foundation of an institution which shall combine practical with liberal education …. [and] which shall prove beneficial to the poor young men and poor young women of our country.” Wisely, Ezra Cornell also insisted that veterinary medicine be among the subjects to be taught from the very beginning of his new university.

Daniel Elmer Salmon
(Photo by Cornell University)
James Law, an eminent Scottish veterinarian had arrived in Ithaca only weeks earlier to become the nation’s first university professor of veterinary medicine. Though Professor Law had several students who became leaders in veterinary medicine and animal health research in the late 19th century, none was more famous than Daniel Salmon.

When the Bureau of Animal Industry was established in 1894 to promote the health of livestock, and to establish a national standard for meat inspection, Daniel Salmon was chosen as its first director. He is also attributed with the discovery of the bacterial organism that bears his name, Salmonella.

The students who started their veterinary education at Cornell in August of this year have a special kinship with every new veterinary student who has entered this university since Daniel Salmon. Though they are now immersed in the challenging studies that are necessary in the making of a veterinarian, they can also look with pride at the man who started on a similar journey 143 years ago today.

(1) Salmon actually received his veterinary degree in 1872.  At that time, the degree was called the B.V.M. and he was the the second Cornell student to be so recognized.  Salmon then did postgraduate work in Europe and Cornell to qualify for the DVM degree in 1876.  In the modern era, that additional work would roughly quality for what we now designate as the PhD. So, perhaps it would be more accurate to say that Salmon received his equivalent of the DVM in 1872, and the modern equivalent of the PhD in 1876.

Dr. Smith invites comments at