Expanding the Veterinarian’s Skillset

Dr. Pat Gorden
Dr. Pat Gorden

Dr. Terry Engelken
Dr. Terry Engelken

Dr. Pat Gorden, associate professor of veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine, feels there needs to be improvement in the way bovine veterinarians are taught.

That’s why Gorden and Dr. Terry Engelken, professor of veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine, are developing a series of modules to enhance the skill sets of not only veterinary students but practitioners out in the field.

In particular, Gorden and Engelken will focus on creating training materials for bovine production epidemiology, improved food safety through antimicrobial and drug stewardship, beef and dairy welfare, and quality assurance, farm economics and sustainability.

“I graduated 30 years ago with my DVM and we still need to teach the areas better,” Gorden said. “There is a critical need to grow and strengthen existing food animal training programs to address the demand for bovine practitioners with an expansive production medicine skillset and knowledge base.”

Gorden and Engelken have received a three-year, $250,000 grant from the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture for the project, “Enhancing Delivery of Bovine Production Medicine Using Cloud-Based Teaching Modules.”

The grant is part of the USDA’s program to support rural veterinary services through the Veterinary Services Grant Program.

In addition to developing an expanded library of bovine specific training materials, the faculty duo will also create cloud-based training modules. These modules will allow for distance-based delivery of training materials to veterinary students outside Iowa State University as well as to veterinarians in private practice.

“We plan to develop modules on specific areas in preventive medicine for bovine veterinarians,” Gorden said. “Those modules will also be applicable for veterinary students.”

This is important according to Gorden and Engelken because the bovine veterinarians of tomorrow need expanded skillsets on top of the existing individual animal and preventative medicine skills that every veterinary school teach.

“As farms get to be better with the business component, having a veterinarian with a skill set above and beyond the traditional materials will not only be valuable to the veterinarian but to the farm as well,” Gorden said.

“This will give practitioners an opportunity to improve their skill level in data analysis, animal welfare assessment, sustainability and business management,” Gorden continued. “These training modules will give veterinarians all over the country, easy access to this training.”