A message from our dean

Dr. Dana Zimmel

Dr. Dana Zimmel


The New Year has landed, and as usual, its arrival comes with a flurry of activity and excitement on many fronts.

Our Office for Students and Instruction is busy reviewing candidates for the Class of 2026 from the full application pool, as we prepare to extend invitations to participate in the interview process. The start of any new year here at UFCVM is always exciting for this reason alone, as we eagerly anticipate the seating of another class of veterinary students at the University of Florida, with all the hopes their presence and enthusiasm will generate.

Speaking of veterinary classes, I recently spoke at a college town hall event about the national shortage of veterinarians, particularly large animal veterinarians. This is an issue that many within the profession are aware of, but others may not be. I also addressed this issue in an op-ed piece I co-wrote with Dr. Scott Angle, senior vice president of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at UF and leader of UF-IFAS. This article, which was published by many state and national outlets, touched on the billions of dollars in sales, spending and jobs in Florida that working animals account for — when they’re healthy — and why the shortage of veterinarians is an economic as well as an animal health issue. Because the article is hidden behind a paywall in many of these outlets, we have included it in this issue, where you can read it here.

Our college turns away over 1,500 applicants a year due to limited capacity; space, instructors and much more is needed to educate Florida’s future veterinarians. In our op-ed piece, Dr. Angle and I made the case that we need to admit more students to our college, and to convince more of them to choose programs like our food animal medicine program, and stated our support for expanding federal loan repayment programs for veterinary school graduates working in rural areas.

We have requested funding from the Legislature to expand our class size by 20 students a year, and are investing tuition into our hoped-for larger class of future veterinarians. Although we do not yet know the outcome of our request, Dr. Angle and I felt it was important to educate the public about what the national shortage of veterinarians means to them, and to all of us in the veterinary profession.

In other news, we are excited about the creation of a new shelter medicine clerkship at the Alachua County Animal Services, or ACAS, led by Dr. Simone Guerios, who formerly coordinated the college’s shelter animal sterilization and population management clerkship at Miami-Dade Animal Services, or MDAS. The new clerkship at ACAS began last fall and continues to receive rave reviews from students. The MDAS clerkship, on hiatus during the pandemic, is now back in operation as of this semester, and is being led by Dr. Janet Sosnicki. Both of these clerkships supplement the course offered by our Veterinary Community Outreach Program, and other learning opportunities available through the Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program. Our shelter medicine operations are truly multi-faceted and offer our students an incredible array of hands-on training in not just spay-neuter surgery, but also exposure to a variety of issues faced by shelters today, ranging from disease control and prevention to better ways of keeping animals with their families versus being surrendered to shelters.

On Feb. 9, UF President Kent Fuchs set aside a day of reflection for members of the UF community to collectively and individually reflect on the core values that have sustained us as we have navigated nearly two years of challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. This was a useful opportunity for me to reflect on the six core values UF has established, and on how we are remaining true to these every day at our college. I hope some of you were also able to spend a little time contemplating the ways in which these core values continue to inform your life and work on a daily basis. A website with images and videos taken over the past two years and capturing some of the meaningful efforts that have taken place despite these challenging times can be found here.

Thanks to all of you for everything you do each day for the college, and for each other.


Dana Zimmel, DVM, DACVIM
Dean and Professor

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January-February 2022

Dr. Dana Zimmel

A message from our dean

A message from the college’s dean, Dr. Dana Zimmel.

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