Four graduate with food animal certificates

Amy Wysocki

Amy Wysocki

Last year during commencement exercises for the UF College of Veterinary Medicine’s Class of 2011, six veterinary students who received their DVM degrees became the first from UF to wear green cords signifying completion of a subgroup of courses aimed at helping students develop a mastery of skills related to food animal medicine.

They were the first group to successfully complete the Food Animal Veterinary Medicine certificate, which the college began offering in 2008. This year, four students received their FAVM certificate.

“These are four very different individuals as far as background, experiences and expectations for the future,” said Dr. Owen Rae, professor and chief of the Food Animal Reproduction and Medicine Service.

“We definitely do not have a cookie cutter mold for our certificate recipients.”

One of the certificate recipients, now-Dr. Amy Wysocki, had no background at all in food animal medicine when she entered veterinary school. She said that through the meetings and web lab hosted by the Food Animal Club, she learned many of the basics of animal husbandry and care.

“Those were in addition to veterinary skills, and were things that others who come from an agricultural background might already know,” said Wysocki, who served as the club’s secretary as well as the fundraising chair for the Public Health and Service Club while a student.

“In the process of meeting the requirements for the certificate, I not only learned almost everything I know about food animals, but was also able to develop personal relationships with many of the FARMS faculty,” she added.

Wysocki thinks her interest in food animal medicine comes from visiting the farming community where her mother grew up in Nova Scotia, Canada. Her grandfather was a farmer and had a huge influence on her life.

“I love working with large animals, particularly cattle, and being outdoors,” Wysocki said. “Food animal medicine is my way of helping hard-working farmers, like my grandfather, provide for their families and our country.”

Added Rae, “Amy is a good example of why the certificate exists. She will be able to provide the service needed by that hard-working farmer, and she is ready to do it now.”

New graduate Dr. Jason Delapaz said he was attracted to food animal medicine due to a higher sense of purpose.

“We all love our dogs and cats and find a great deal of satisfaction in treating them, however our food animals provide a great service to us and provide tremendous challenges for practitioners to improve animal welfare as well as farm profitability,” he said.

Prior to veterinary school, Delapaz received a master’s degree and worked with ABS Global as a reproductive technician. In that role, he predominantly worked with large dairy farms and provided artificial insemination.

He will be joining the staff at Lecanto Veterinary Hospital, a mixed animal practice, and continuing his work with ABS.

This year’s other FARMS certificate winners included  Drs. Mike Alber and Nika Grigsby.

The certificate was developed to encourage the development of students and future practitioners capable of providing professional service to the area of food animal veterinary medicine, Rae said.

“Students participating in this program are mentored through didactic, clinical and extracurricular activities, including many weekend wet labs, that provide a strong entry level training in food supply veterinary medicine,” he said.

All students admitted to the DVM program are encouraged to participate, regardless of their background or experience level, Rae said, adding that students who successfully fulfill the certificate requirements are deemed to be strong employment prospects for entry level positions in food animal practice or a food systems profession.

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