In our latest feature on veterinary students, the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine‘s Amanda Fox (2020) talks about interconnectedness, One Health and sustainability. Another well-chosen student, this time from Nationwide Field Veterinarian Dr. Tonya Sparks!
Will you please share something unexpected you discovered or learned on your path into veterinary medicine?
In the vast and ever-growing field of veterinary medicine, each day brings opportunity to grow and learn. Something unexpected I discovered on my path through veterinary school stems from exposure to human medicine through my roommate.
A graduate student pursuing a Masters in Health Administration, my roommate brought a new perspective to the interconnectedness between human and veterinary medicine. One particular example she shared with me was regarding research that the UF CVM oncology department conducts on osteosarcomas in large breed dogs in relation with the disease and its treatment in humans.
After discovering this, I wanted to look into other collaborations between the veterinary school and our neighboring hospital. I learned that the ophthalmology department is currently working on models for corneal wound healing in humans while one of our immunologists is working with the Feline AIDS virus to help learn more about HIV.
Working off of my last answer, my vision for the future of veterinary field includes a deepening relationship between human and veterinary medicine. I believe that there is much to be learned from human medicine about veterinary medicine and vice versa.
Whether it includes research into microbiology or food safety, disease or cancer, and even preventative or holistic medicine, there are plenty of links between the two major facets of medicine as a whole. As a student interested in pursuing a career in Clinical Nutrition, I believe it is important to prepare for this collaboration because nutrition is important for both humans and animals.
One way that I’m preparing is by making and keeping connections with friends and colleagues that work in human medicine, such as my roommate (mentioned above) and her classmates. Another way to prepare is to read and keep up with current events not only within my own field, but also within the human medical field in order to stay informed on current and up-in-coming research.
Can you tell us one thing about yourself that would surprise your veterinary colleagues?
Something that many of my colleagues may not know about me is my keen interest in the environment. I try my hardest to commit to sustainable practices in all aspects of my daily life.
As an officer for two clubs and a student representative for Royal Canin, I host many lunch and dinner meetings throughout the school year. Many of my co-officers have watched (and helped!) as my commitment to recycling leaves me staying upwards of 30 minutes after these meetings to clean and properly dispose of all the recyclables.
I hope to one day find a way to use this passion while practicing veterinary medicine and find ways to promote sustainability among my peers!