Fat Dogs and Coughing Horses: K-12 Programming for Veterinary Workforce Development

Published:2013, Journal of Veterinary Medical Education
40(4): 419-25. doi: 10.3138/jvme.0313-053R
Authors:San Miguel S, Parker C, Adedokun O, Burgess W, Cipriani Davis K, Blossom T, Schneider J, Mennonno A, Ruhl H, Veatch J, Wackerly A, Shin S, Ratliff T
Type:Project Generated
PMID:24052417 , PMCID:PMC3837546

Workforce development, K-12 education, veterinary medicine, curricula, traveling exhibit, children’s books

View Publication http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24052417


Workforce development strategies to educate, inform, and diversify the veterinary profession of the future must begin with children in elementary school. This manuscript provides a description of the Fat Dogs and Coughing Horses program, which takes a multifaceted approach toward informing young students, beginning in first grade, about the interesting work and career opportunities available in the field of veterinary medicine. The program, a collaboration among Purdue University and Indiana public schools, is supported by a Science Education Partnership Award from the Office of Research Infrastructure Programs, a component of the National Institutes of Health. The overall goal of the program is to provide formal and informal educational opportunities for students, parents, teachers, and the public about the science involved in keeping people and their animals healthy. Examples of health concerns that impact both people and their pets are used to inform and excite children about careers in the health sciences. The program resulted in (1) curricula for students in grades 1–3, 6, and 9; (2) four children’s books and a set of collectible cards which highlight veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and research scientists who work with animals; and, (3) four traveling museum-grade exhibits. Preliminary assessment data has shown that the implementation of the curricula enhanced student science learning, and science attitudes and interests. The program provides evidence that partnerships among professionals in veterinary medicine and K-12 education can result in impactful workforce development programs.