SOS Cornell Student Teaching Program
Principal Investigator: Brian Collins
Co-PI: Leni Kaplan, Leslie Appel
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant):
Providing practical, experiential primary care learning opportunities for students is a principal objective of the Community Practice Service (CPS) at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. In an effort to procure additional surgical experience for the clinical year veterinary students, in June 2009 Cornell created a collaborative relationship with Shelter Outreach Services (SOS), a non-profit organization that provides low cost surgical sterilization services to cats and dogs in our region. By utilizing the system refined by Shelter Outreach Services, we have been able to provide a popular and effective high quality surgical learning experience for veterinary students outside of the academic setting. The SOS-Cornell Student Teaching Program’s objectives include: enhancing the hands-on clinical and surgical experiences of Cornell veterinary students; providing an affordable resource for our regional shelters, 501c(3) local feline rescue organizations, and low income community members to have their cats spayed and neutered; augmenting student training for private practice and shelter medicine; exposing students to safe management of feral cats; and raising student awareness of and contribution to controlling pet overpopulation by spaying and neutering feral and barn cat colonies. A Cornell faculty veterinarian, a staff LVT, and one or 2 students accompany the SOS team (one DVM and one LVT) at one of 4 area shelters for a day-long HQHVSN clinic. Working in close proximity to the SOS team the Cornell students examine, anesthetize, vaccinate, and surgically sterilize 5 cats each. Surgical instruments, drugs, anesthesia machines, and other materials are provided by SOS for the program. This collaboration has been supported through various funding sources, and it has been an educational success as evidenced the observed improvement in student surgical skills, and positive testimonials from DVMs, veterinary students, and shelter personnel.