With all that’s going on in the world right now, it seems rather fitting that our latest featured veterinary student, Katie Como of the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine (Class of 2020), has a deep interest in OneHealth and is also working towards a Masters of Public Health. She was chosen by Nationwide field veterinarian Dr. Brandon Thornberry.
Will you please share something unexpected you learned on your path into veterinary medicine?
What surprised me most about veterinary medicine is the truly remarkable community.
I chose this field because I love animals and veterinary work, but I expected a clearer divide between my work life and my “life life.” Instead, I was met unexpectedly by an amazing group of movers and shakers who simultaneously inspired me to be a better veterinary student and a better person. I would be hard-pressed to find another profession with such dedication towards mentorship and camaraderie.
In an undergraduate setting, school felt like a race to the finish line, where all that mattered was getting into veterinary school. When I finally got here, it was refreshing to discover that veterinary school is not a journey that’s meant to be taken alone. If I have questions, I ask them. If someone needs help, I give it. In this field, I really only succeed if we all do.
What is your vision for the future of veterinary medicine and how does it influence the way you’re preparing?
As with many of my colleagues, there was a brief period of time during which I considered going to medical school rather than veterinary school. I love medicine, science, and innovation. I think as veterinary professionals, we often feel the need to add the word “veterinary” to those subjects, but I think it’s unnecessary. It is medicine; it is science; it is innovation.
In a “One Health” class I took in undergrad, I learned that the town doctor and the town veterinarian were historically the same person. While I am not advocating for that, mostly because I don’t think I could stand to learn any more comparative anatomy, I do think they might have had the right idea.
I think a lot of us in the veterinary medicine community forget, or may not know, that in our oath, we pledge to “promote public health and the advancement of medical knowledge.” In pursuit of this pledge, I found myself in a classroom with MD students this summer, working towards a Master of Public Health.
While I know the skill set conferred by a MPH will be very useful, the opportunity to sit in a room with other medical students and discuss complex health issues as well as collaborative solutions was invaluable. In my opinion, the most important thing our profession must do moving forward is to take our seat at the “One Health” table. We have an obligation to share our knowledge and to continue to grow our professional community.
Can you tell us one thing about yourself that would surprise your veterinary colleagues?
Outside of the world of veterinary medicine, I have a true passion for learning about other cultures. I come from a family with strong Cajun roots in South Louisiana where two of my grandparents spoke Cajun French. As a kid, I loved learning French, so I could talk to my grandmother in the language of her parents. Eventually, I decided to switch gears entirely and minored in Spanish in college. I love traveling and have been to eight other countries!
Thank you, Katie and Dr. Thornberry!