Our history, philosophy, and future
The program is modeled after a veterinary program that’s been running at Ithaca’s Southside Community Center since 1996. Organized by Cornell parasitologist Dwight Bowman and veterinarians Daniel Fletcher and William Hornbuckle, the clinic allows first- and second-year veterinary students to hone skills that are used during typical wellness visits. During the clinic, students will perform wellness visits on pets that may not otherwise have access to veterinary care. Pets diagnosed with any clinical condition are referred to local veterinary practices for further diagnostics and follow-up.
When Bowman won a Kaplan Family Distinguished Faculty Fellowship in Service Learning award in May, he decided to invest in one of his passions: student-community engagement. The annual award honors two Cornell faculty members for making a significant impact on Cornell education by involving students in service learning. Bowman and Fletcher, assistant professor of clinical sciences, will use the $5,000 award to fund the clinic in the Bronx.
“Students come to veterinary school to touch animals,” said Bowman. “We wanted to give them that opportunity as soon as possible, so we developed a community practice training program that immediately allows students to make a difference. They handle everything from interacting with clients to examining patients. As supervisors we watch and assist only when needed, while older students mentor the younger students and manage the clinic. Bringing them to New York City will give us a chance to work and network with our many alumni in the area, begin interacting with New York City communities where need is great, and gain greater exposure.”
Bowman and his colleagues are working to turn the service program into an official course in the veterinary curriculum’s Community Practice Service rotation, offering credit to its student leaders. He hopes the clinic’s expanding exposure and scope will help attract the funding needed to endow the program and ensure its future.
Dr. Dwight Bowman
Dr. William Hornbuckle
Dr. Daniel Fletcher