Florida A&M University (FAMU) hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new Animal Healthcare Complex, which will support the veterinary technology program starting this fall.
“The best is yet to come,” said FAMU President James H. Ammons. “African Americans represent only 1.9 percent of the veterinary medicine profession. The total representation of minorities in the profession is 7.7 percent. This new animal healthcare facility will impact FAMU’s ability to help address a critical nation shortage of minorities in the field of veterinary medicine, and related disciplines.”
FAMU will become one of only 11 other major universities in the nation that will offer a four-year degree in veterinary technology, and it will be the only institution in the country with a program that places emphasis on regulatory education and training. The first classes in the new discipline will begin in the fall 2008.
According to Makola Abdullah, Ph.D., dean of the College of Engineering Sciences, Technology and Agriculture (CESTA), the new facility will further FAMU and CESTA in its mission as an 1890 land-grant institution.
P.S. Benepal, Ph.D., director for multicultural services and educational resources development for the United States Department of Agriculture, echoed Abdullah’s sentiments.
“FAMU has made very effective use of land-grant funds with the development of state-of-the-art facilities,” he said.
According to Benepal, since 1983, FAMU has received approximately $12.1 million from the facility grant program as an 1890 land-grant institution.
Charles H. Bronson, commissioner of agriculture for the State of Florida, said the future of the United States depends on facilities like the Animal Healthcare Complex.
“The development of facilities like this one shows FAMU’s commitment to producing the safest food supply in to country,” he said.
Jocelyn Martin, a graduate of CESTA’s animal science program and a spring 2009 candidate for a doctorate in veterinary medicine at Tuskegee University, was also on-hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“I am definitely proud to be a Rattler from CESTA,” she said. “I just left FAMU in 2005, and to see it expand so much since then, especially in my area of study, is just wonderful.”
The plans for the new multi-functional complex are designed to enhance instructional delivery and learning of students enrolled in the various animal science academic options in the FAMU College of Engineering Sciences, Technology and Agriculture. The educational and experiential training of the program will encompass vital aspects of food safety and biosecurity through the most up-to-date instructional, research, teaching, and service programs. The facility will also aid in maintaining proper herd health measures required by the Animal Welfare Act for those animals currently residing at the FAMU Research and Extension Center.
Funding was appropriated for the new facility through grants from the United States Department of Agriculture Animal Plant Health Inspection Service and the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES). The state-of-the-art complex will house an animal science clinical laboratory, research facilities, upgraded technology and conference center, and custom designed small ruminant and cattle facilities. Academic, research and extension educational activities will take place interchangeably at the facility.
One component of the complex includes a fully functional surgery suite with Polycom capability to allow students to view and participate in surgical procedures while simultaneously broadcasting the live surgical procedures through internet/electronic transfer to other institutions around the world.
This facility will be very important in the successful training of students enrolled in the veterinary technology program, which will be offered by the University for the first time in the fall 2008. Students will be exposed to laboratory and field experiences, as well as hands-on instruction that are necessary to prepare for professional careers in veterinary medicine and related career paths. The animal health facility will impact the university’s ability to help address a critical nation shortage of minorities in the field of veterinary medicine, and related disciplines.
Photo caption: (From left to right) FAMU President James H. Ammons, Thomas E. Peterson, DVM, extension veterinarian, Cooperative Extension Program, and Ray Mobley, DVM, director of the Cooperative Extension Program, discuss the surgery suite at the animal healthcare facility.