OVC Receives $9.5 Million From Province

February 12, 2008 - News Release

The Ontario government is investing $9.5 million in a unique educational centre in primary healthcare at the University of Guelph's Ontario Veterinary College (OVC). The announcement was made today by John Milloy, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities.

The new facility is part of the overall redevelopment of OVC and the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, said president Alastair Summerlee. “The new primary health-care centre is an example of the leadership by the provincial government in investing in the future of our universities and colleges,” said Summerlee. “It will provide an opportunity for private/public partnership in creating better campus facilities for our students.”

The primary health-care centre will provide educational experiences in all aspects of primary health care, from surgical and technical skills to business and communication skills to preventive medicine, nutrition and animal welfare and behaviour. Students will learn to educate owners about the health of their animals and to enhance the bond people feel for their animal companions.

Recent studies have shown that animal owners have rising expectations for the health of their animals and are looking to veterinarians to provide that care. Last year alone, people spent $8 billion on pets in Canada, with 20 per cent ($1.6 billion) of that going towards veterinary care.

A unique aspect of the centre is that student veterinarians will be integrally involved in its management and operation. They will provide treatment and care under the supervision of a core staff of veterinarians, technicians and receptionists who will serve as mentors, trainers and evaluators.

“The centre will give our student veterinarians unprecedented and invaluable learning and training opportunities and bring vital infrastructure improvements to the entire OVC campus,” said OVC dean Elizabeth Stone.

Currently, OVC’s Teaching Hospital operates primarily by referral, and doctors see mostly specialty cases.
Students see the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment procedures, but there are limited opportunities for students to participate in routine health care.

At the new centre, students will have the opportunity to log upwards of 300 clinical hours during the four years of their DVM program and be involved with many more routine patient visits than in the current curriculum.

In addition, students will be trained on new and emerging technology and procedures, allowing them to add value to their future employers and veterinary practices.

“This will enhance OVC’s already strong reputation for excellence and improve both the competence and confidence of our graduates,” said Stone. “We hope to shape the future of veterinary education in primary health care.”

The primary health-care program will be embedded into OVC’s core curriculum. No other North American veterinary college has an equivalent program, she says, so this initiative is an opportunity for OVC and the University to be at the forefront of learning and research in veterinary medical education.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, l.hunt@exec.uoguelph.ca or Deirdre Healey, Ext. 56982, d.healey@exec.uoguelph.ca.

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1