Duffields' Maddie's Fund gives $1.7 million to Vet College for shelter medicine program

Janet Scarlett
Alexis Wenski-Roberts/CVM
Janet Scarlett, director of the shelter medicine program at Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine, tends to a cat at the Tompkins County SPCA. The Maddie's Fund grant for Cornell will continue the quality of care for homeless animals through diagnostic support, research and training for veterinary residents and students.

Maddie's Fund has awarded Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine a $1.7 million grant over six years to support a program in shelter medicine, to be called Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program at Cornell.

The fund was started by David Duffield '62, MBA '64, and his wife, Cheryl, in honor of Maddie, the couple's miniature schnauzer, their pet for 10 years. The couple has spent more than $33 million to date saving the lives of unwanted cats and dogs.

In 1997, David Duffield helped launch Duffield Hall, Cornell's nanotechnology research and education building, with a gift of $20 million. The facility was dedicated last year.

The goal of the shelter medicine program is to educate veterinarians and veterinary students in the field of animal shelter medicine to help guarantee a home for all healthy and treatable shelter animals, thus avoiding euthanasia.

"Veterinarians need to be actively involved in saving the lives of homeless animals and ensuring that they receive quality medical care in animal shelters," said Janet Scarlett, director of the shelter medicine program. "We are very grateful to the Maddie's Fund for their support enabling us to provide veterinarians with the skills to most effectively attain these goals."

The shelter medicine program will consist of four components:

• Residency training. The cornerstone of the program will be the establishment of a three-year residency. In addition to being certified by the veterinary college as proficient in shelter medicine at the completion of the program, residents will also complete training for an MS in epidemiology.

Residents will take related coursework and rotate through pertinent veterinary services; consult with core shelters, evaluate and recommend changes in existing medical and behavioral programs and design shelter protocols; assist in the instruction and supervision of veterinary students; and design and implement a research project and publish the results in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

• Veterinary student training. Two elective courses will be available to veterinary students -- Issues and Preventive Medicine in Animal Shelters and Managing Infectious Disease in Small Animal Populations. Two core classes will include material on shelter medicine. Students will also be able to participate in an elective rotation in Shelter Medicine and apply for externships.

• Diagnostic support. The Animal Health Diagnostic Center (including virology, bacteriology, mycology, parasitology and clinical pathology) will provide diagnostic work-ups to evaluate the populations at core and affiliated shelters. The work-ups will help identify the cause of problems, develop problem-specific preventive or control strategies, evaluate the effectiveness of the strategies and identify the causes of outbreaks.

The shelter medicine program will work with two core shelters, the Tompkins County SPCA and the Humane Society of Rochester and Monroe County at Lollypop Farms. It will also work with two adoption-guarantee affiliated shelters, Pet Pride of New York and Peace Plantation Animal Sanctuary of New York.

"We are very excited about working with Cornell, consistently ranked as the nation's top college of veterinary medicine,'' says Laurie Peek, Maddie's veterinary consultant. "I have no doubt that [the program] will quickly become a leader in the emerging field of shelter medicine."

Donald F. Smith, the Austin O. Hooey Dean of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell, considers the gift as one of the most significant educational developments in recent years. "The abiding commitment to shelter medicine is of enormous importance to the advancement of veterinary medicine, in general, but especially to the vital relationship between pets and humans," he said.

Maddie's Fund®, The Pet Rescue Foundation, (www.maddiesfund.org) is a family foundation funded by PeopleSoft Founder Dave Duffield, and his wife, Cheryl, to help create a no-kill nation. The first step is to help develop programs that guarantee loving homes for all healthy shelter dogs and cats throughout the country. The next step will be to save the sick and injured pets in animal shelters nationwide. Maddie's Fund is named after the family's beloved Miniature Schnauzer who passed away in 1997.


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