September 14, 2010

University Launches China Dairy Institute

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After the Sept. 6 launch of the Cornell China Dairy Institute, seven professors and two students have traveled to China’s Hebei Province to teach local veterinarians the latest in dairy veterinary practices. The four-week program, which is based about 37 miles east of Beijing at the Huaxia Dairy, aims to impart advanced techniques to the 33 enrolled Chinese dairy veterinarians. The program is funded by Huaxia Dairy, corporate sponsors including Pfizer, and the local Chinese government, as well as tuition paid by the students or their employers.The Chinese students will study ways to diagnose and treat common diseases affecting cows as well as calf and heifer health and quality milk production. The program is taught by Cornell professors with assistance from two veterinary school students. Classes are to be delivered in English and translated into Mandarin by a team of local translators.The Chinese students traveled from all over the country to attend the Institute; Lorin Warnick, associate dean of veterinary education, believed it to be the only one in China to combine lecture and hands-on training in veterinary continuing education. The project is a key step in the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine’s mission of improving animal care around the world, according to Warnick. He said that China is a particularly receptive venue for such continuing education programs, since both the government and many professionals are eager to improve the quality of their work.“The dairy industry is growing rapidly in China and there is a great deal of interest in dairy veterinary education,” Warnick said, speaking just days after returning from Hebei Province, where he was a keynote speaker at the Institute’s opening. Charles Shao, chairman of the Huaxia Dairy Farm, told the Cornell Chronicle, “Our veterinarians are thirsty for the information that Cornell can share … This collaboration has the potential to have a strong impact on the delivery of veterinary services to dairy farms in China.”Warnick emphasized that the program will be educational for the Cornellians as well as for the Chinese students, and expressed hope for a productive cultural exchange. “In addition to teaching, another reason we are here is to learn.  Whenever we become involved with veterinary services or agriculture around the world, we always benefit from seeing new ways of doing things and learning from our international colleagues,” he stated.Will Leone, a fourth-year veterinary student who will be participating in the program, said that he hoped to do as much learning as teaching during the trip.Commenting via email soon after his arrival in China, Leone said the language barrier had been a challenge but that he was excited to learn more about China. “My primary objective in coming over here was to see what China was all about,” he said. “I wanted to get a good feel for what actually goes on here, and thus far I have definitely seen a lot. Our hosts have been extremely hospitable and I really hope that we are able to provide them with the type of training and information that they are looking for. “After his return to the United States, Leone looks forward to continuing his studies with a better understanding of both veterinary practices and a foreign culture.“Ultimately I hope to bring insights back to Cornell and the United States that will help us move forward and ever upward,” Leone said.

Original Author: Eliza LaJoie