The center will be the first in the nation dedicated to providing veterinary students and practicing veterinarians from across the United States and around the world with extensive hands-on experiences and education in swine health and production. As the top hog-producing state in the country, Iowa is the perfect location for a center focused on keeping pigs healthy. “Veterinary medical education in North America is evolving towards a model where the core curriculum is taught in each of the 28 veterinary colleges during the first three years and then those students who chose to specialize have the option to go to other veterinary colleges for a portion of their clinical education in the fourth year,” said Dr. Pat Halbur, chair of the Department of Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine at Iowa State.
Now that the Regents have approved the proposal, the next steps will be modifying facilities to accommodate students, organizating and structuring of the curriculum, and fundraising efforts. “When the center is fully operational, the annual cost will be approximately $250,000, at least half of which will need to come from the pork industry,” said Dr. Locke Karriker, center director and associate professor of production animal medicine at ISU’s College of Veterinary Medicine. The center is expected to accept students in the 2011/2012 academic year.