Serving Society & Animals: The School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

– I’m Joan Hendricks I’m the Dean of the
University of Pensylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine. Penn has a wonderful,
rich history that makes it so we understand the
concept of one health, which is a concept
that veterinarians
like to talk about. When animals are
healthy, people benefit and when people are happy,
it’s good for the animals so living things
are all connected. We all do best when both halves of the equation
are the strongest. We’re also very conscious
that the veterinarian’s oath is that we serve
society and animals. Penn is a phenomenal
place for that because all the schools
are so integrated so we work very closely on
essentially a daily basis with the medical school
but we also frequently have collaborations
with biology, with engineering, we
have a double degree with the biomedical
graduate school. One small example
probably exemplifies this, Doctor Nicky Mason did her PhD
in immunology in our school and at the end of that
time, she really wanted to use her training
to attack cancer and because of her relationship
with Carl June’s laboratory in the medical school,
she’s got new approaches that have been highly
effective against bone cancer in dogs who have bone cancer
and there’s the real potential for the same approach to be
effective in breast cancer and in both cases, this
could work cross-species so it would benefit
people as well. Veterinarians
certainly take care of our beloved animals
that are companions but we also take
care of the animals that serve humanity
producing food, fiber, participating in
medical studies, doing work around the world,
the Working Dog Center is an area we’re very proud of. The New Bolton Center includes
very important teaching for all of our students. There’s a field service
that’s like a normal large animal veterinarian. We run our own dairy
and we run our own incredibly innovative swine unit where the students can
get hands on experience taking care of the animals. We do a lot of research
to improve the health and well-being of farm animals, to improve the productivity,
to help farmers deliver a safe,
healthy, economically
appropriate product. Society’s worried about the
environmental impact of farming and society is worried about
the well-being of animals and we’re really great
at problem solving so we’re very focused on
improving the well-being of the animals and
helping the farmers and also helping farmers
to farm in a more environmentally sustainable way. The reason that I’ve been
at Penn for 40 years, I came here initially to study, is because the array of
ways that we can have an impact on society is endless and our students come
to us with ever new, more creative,
amazing ideas on how they can change the world.

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