Sled dogs, reindeer and musk oxen will join the animals of interest as Colorado State University and the University of Alaska Fairbanks launch a collaborative veterinary training program.

The program will allow students in Alaska to earn degrees from CSU’s Professional Veterinary Medicine Program.

Starting in fall 2015, the partnership will introduce a rigorous veterinary curriculum at UAF. Meantime, the partnership will present new research opportunities for CSU faculty and graduate students.

Among these will be One Health investigations at the juncture of human, animal and environmental health, conducted in the remote state uniquely rich in natural resources, CSU officials said.

UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers and CSU President Tony Frank signed an agreement to formalize the veterinary partnership Dec. 19.

“Our partnership is paving the way for new educational opportunities that didn’t exist going in,” said Paul Layer, dean of the UAF College of Natural Science and Mathematics, where Alaska students will begin studies in veterinary medicine.

The collaborative veterinary program will start in 2015 at UAF and will admit 10 students each year, with preference given to students from Alaska. The students must meet established admissions standards for the CSU Professional Veterinary Medicine Program.

Students will study for 2 years on the Fairbanks campus and move to CSU’s Fort Collins campus for their final 2 years of veterinary training. CSU will confer the doctor of veterinary medicine to students in the program, and graduates will return to Alaska to pursue careers.

CSU annually admits about 140 students to its highly competitive vet school, which is ranked No. 3 in the country, according to U.S. News and World Report’s 2014 Best Graduate Schools.

Students coming from UAF are expected to fill spots vacated by those who leave the CSU veterinary program through typical attrition, a model that will maintain both tuition revenue and instructional quality at CSU, said Dean Hendrickson, associate dean in the CSU College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Alaska residents admitted to the collaborative veterinary program will pay annual tuition equivalent to that of Colorado residents admitted to CSU’s veterinary school, expected to total just under $27,000 in fall 2015.

Students will pay CSU nonresident tuition when they move from the Fairbanks campus to the Fort Collins campus for their final years of veterinary study; the nonresident tuition rate is expected to total about $54,000 when the program’s first class arrives at CSU.

Mark Stetter, dean of the CSU College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, said the collaboration with UAF will provide CSU graduate students and scientists with teaching and research possibilities on topics including wildlife disease and health, marine-animal science, sports medicine and rehabilitation with sled dogs,and a variety of global public-health challenges that involve both human and veterinary medicine.

“Alaska is fertile soil for One Health studies, and we’re really excited about that,” Stetter said. “The One Health concept of looking holistically at human, animal and environmental health is critically important as our university seeks solutions to complex global challenges.”

From Colorado State University

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