Levine Addresses Patient Care, Clinical Trials, Education at Nov. 17 College Hour
Posted November 22, 2017
The Small Animal Clinical Sciences Department (VSCS) within the
College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) is
continually seeking new ways to improve upon its teaching,
research, and client services programs.
VSCS professor, Helen McWhorter Chair, and department head
Jonathan Levine provided an update on what’s happening in the
department and how it aims to fulfill its missions of education,
patient care, and scholarship at the Nov. 17 College Hour.
Addressing a large audience in VENI Room 101C, Levine said the
department has established three main focus areas for its
initiatives: patient and client care, clinical trials and research,
and transformational teaching and learning.
Levine said all of the patient and client care initiatives aim
to utilize the best technology, clinicians, and communication
procedures to ensure quality patient care.
Technology allows for clinicians to employ minimally invasive
approaches to various procedures that shorten patient recovery
periods and improve their quality of life. It also has allowed
doctors to treat cases they wouldn’t have been able to treat in the
By using technologies that create 3-D models of patients, Levine
said surgeries in the cardiology and soft tissue surgery areas, for
example, have gone much smoother.
“Our surgeons actually practiced a surgery on a 3-D model making
precise cuts,” Levine said. “They were able to practice and didn’t
have to do it all in the operating room.”
Levine said part of improving client care means investing in
improving the structure of the hospital itself.
“Our Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital made an investment
this summer to go through a retreat with a series of focus groups
to find areas where we could continue to see improved,” Levine
In addition, partnerships with other colleges at Texas A&M
are also making a difference. For example, undergraduates in the
Dwight Look College of Engineering have helped with the creation of
a process mapping system to identify key areas of the hospital that
could be contributing to inefficiencies.
“The maps are going to be incredibly helpful as we look toward
getting better,” Levine said.
Client communication also will improve with the referring and
veterinarian client portal, which will make communication with the
clinic easy and quick.
“Clients can make appointments without having to talk to
somebody over the phone,” Levine said. “Veterinarians and clients
can access their medical records 24/7.”
In the clinical trials and research focus area, Levine said the
oncology, cardiology, and dermatology services have been developing
large portfolios of clinical trials to help understand various
conditions and treatments. Partnerships with private and public
entities have been valuable to the department’s growth and support
in clinical trials, Levine said.
Another large part of growth in clinical trials and research is
the department’s initiative to build its capacity to conduct
trials. Levine said one way the department has done so is by
building a bio-repository.
“[The bio-repository] collects 10 critical tissues that are of
important translational impact,” Levine said. “We’re also part of a
viral banking group, and we had a bio-banking symposium here this
past spring. We’ve learned a lot and talked with people around the
world about how we improve this.”
Through the focus on transformational teaching and learning, the
VSCS has created multiple programs to enhance student learning.
The teaching peer review program, for example, provides
clinicians and other faculty feedback beyond just student
evaluations. In addition, the winter initiative to encourage
teaching requests for proposals allows faculty to elevate their
educational credentials, as well as learn how to provide new and
innovative methods that promote learning in the classroom and at a
Levine expressed the importance of continually improving
teaching, scholarship, and ensuring learning, at which he feels the
students and faculty remain central for the department.
“Students are a key, as are our resident trainees and our
graduate interns,” Levine said. “They’re our future. And our
faculty has been so key in driving our curriculum revision process
forward. It’s a really exciting time.”
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