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Dear Alumni and Friends:

The following letter has been sent to all veterinary practitioners in New York State as well as those in a few neighboring counties in New Jersey and Connecticut.  Please let me know if you have any questions. 




Dear Veterinary Colleagues:

As a result of our recent strategic planning process, which involved faculty, students, and external stakeholders, the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine is exploring options for establishing a satellite referral teaching facility in the New York Metropolitan area. I would like to share with you the reasons why we feel this initiative is vital for the College, as well as what this clinic will do and how it will operate. I have had many conversations with practitioners, faculty, students, and alumni over the course of the last several months and appreciate the time and thoughts that have been shared; I also look forward to additional conversations as we move toward implementation of this component of our plan. Recently, I met with Drs. Paul Amerling and Pat Collins, President and President- Elect, respectively, of the Westchester Rockland Veterinary Medical Society, to discuss our plans and to solicit suggestions as to ways in which the College can contribute to and enhance local veterinary practices, while pursuing our strategic goals. We also discussed the need to directly communicate our plans and vision with all veterinarians in the region, and I am grateful to Paul and Pat for their excellent advice and suggestions.

As the College looks to maintain its role in continually strengthening our profession, it is imperative that our students and house staff see cases that reflect the entire spectrum of veterinary medicine. In Ithaca, our students are increasingly seeing cases that require tertiary care – non-typical and advanced cases that are at the most critical end of the spectrum. Similarly, our house staff, who are some of the most highly selected graduate veterinarians in the country, are increasingly presented with a range of cases that is less than optimal for their training. Nationally, an increasing percentage of residents are being trained in a private referral practice setting that provides limited exposure to academic medicine, decreasing the likelihood that they will develop into the academic trainers and clinician-scientists of the future. These are trends that we expect to continue, and to which Cornell and other veterinary colleges are responding in an effort to ensure the outstanding preparation of the next generation of clinicians and clinician educators/scientists.

At the proposed satellite teaching facility that we expect to locate north of New York City, Cornell house staff will spend regular rotations assisting staff veterinarians, experiencing a broader caseload, and seeing more typical cases. Similarly, veterinary students will observe a more typical referral and emergency practice, learning the pace and expectations of real life medicine and surgery. This model, which has been successfully implemented by numerous human and veterinary academic medical centers, will foster the training of specialists in an environment that includes academic medical support, more closely linking clinical research and specialty medicine. It will also provide the College and the profession with extended opportunities to advance evidence-based medicine through rigorous clinical trials. Importantly, our satellite referral hospital will not engage in general practice, but rather provide the highest quality of specialty medicine available to clients referred by area veterinarians. Following treatment, clients will be sent back to referring veterinarians for appropriate follow up as soon as possible. Referred clients and patients will also have access to leading specialists affiliated with the nation’s top-ranked veterinary college, and accordingly to the most cutting edge procedures and protocols. The referral center may also offer 24-hour emergency and critical care services, but this will depend on a variety of factors.

In addition, the metropolitan practice will enable us to extend our continuing education and outreach initiatives, bringing them closer to practices in the New York Metropolitan and Hudson Valley areas. We envision workshops and lectures that will foster interactions between referring veterinarians, specialists, house staff, students, and technicians that will enhance our outreach mission.

I want to assure you that in pursuing these efforts, I will continue to consult and collaborate with veterinarians and stakeholders across the state, and will share updates as the exploratory process develops and our plans become more specific. In the meantime, if you have questions or suggestions, please feel free to contact me.


Michael I. Kotlikoff, VMD, PhD

Austin O. Hooey Dean of Veterinary Medicine


©2010 Cornell University    Last Update March 6, 2009
College of Veterinary Medicine - Ithaca, New York 14853-6401
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