Speakers, workshops, poster sessions, community-service event and vet-themed game show are on the agenda
Unleashing the leader in DVM students is the goal of a new student-run conference being held at the Ontario Veterinary College this month.
The inaugural “OVC Leadership Week: Unleash the Leader” to be held Sept. 18 to 23 will introduce leadership skills through a mix of speakers, workshops, a community-service event, poster sessions and a vet-themed game show to be hosted by OVC dean Elizabeth Stone.
The conference keynote speaker is 1976 OVC graduate Carin Wittnich, a professor of surgery and physiology at the University of Toronto and the OVC Alumni Association's 2005 Distinguished Alumna.
“Members of the public rely on veterinarians to educate them and guide them in the care of their animals, and it is only through good communication and leadership skills that this is possible,” says Jackie Parr, a second-year DVM student and conference student manager.
In addition to treating animals, veterinarians must be able to advocate for the welfare of animals and know how to share research findings with the public effectively, she says.
The event is targeted at first-year DVM students but will also attract second- and third-year students, says Parr. Attendees will learn skills such as communication, teamwork and self-direction intended to help them succeed at vet school and beyond, she says.
“Fostering strong relationships among students today lays the foundation for a unified veterinary profession in the future.”
The week will also provide an opportunity for networking with senior student veterinarians and professional veterinary orgranizations, says Blánaid Donnelly, a second-year student and member of the Leadership Week committee.
Workshop sessions about OVC's strategic plan will discuss animal health and well-being, human-animal health links and connections between public health and animal population health. Students will be invited to attend poster presen- tations on OVC's summer leadership and research projects.
The student vets will also have a chance to participate in a community-service project with Big Brothers Big Sisters. Children involved in that program will participate in a number of activities designed to expose them to a side of veterinary medicine they may not be aware of, says Donnelly.
“Veterinarians are first and foremost scientists, so this event, while designed to be fun, will be educational, too. The children will learn about proper care of small animals and some fun, interesting facts about other domestic species. They'll also learn about surgical instruments via toy surgery and will even be able to relate some basic domestic animal anatomy at an archeological dig site.”
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