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Griffin Joins Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Center

Posted May 17, 2016

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Dr. Dee Griffin

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – As the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) celebrates its centennial year, the college is excited to announce its newest landmark faculty hire as part of the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Center (TVMC) partnership at West Texas A&M University (WT). Dee Griffin, DVM, M.S., will serve as director of the TVMC at WT. He will direct the first of the statewide partnerships being launched as the CVM remains dedicated to “Serving Every Texan Every Day.” Starting on July 1, 2016, Griffin will utilize his extensive experience in livestock health, feedlot production medicine management, education, and outreach to serve Texas, its livestock industries, and the students of Texas with aspirations for careers in veterinary medicine and related fields, especially those interested in large animal and rural veterinary medicine. He and his team will work with the excellent faculty, staff, and students at WT and the CVM to create a first-of-its-kind, program of excellence designed to meet the unique regional veterinary, educational, and livestock health needs of the Panhandle region of Texas. Griffin will be an invaluable asset to the state of Texas, WT, and the CVM.

Griffin comes to the Texas Panhandle directly from the University of Nebraska’s Great Plains Veterinary Educational Center, where he served as professor since 1991 in a program focused on food animal health and production. His research, teaching, and extension interests include feedlot medicine and management. He was active in the development of the Nebraska Cattlemen Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Program. He also has developed and teaches techniques for BQA and production monitoring in beef harvest facilities. Prior to teaching, he practiced veterinary medicine for 10 years throughout Oklahoma. In 2012, Griffin was awarded the inaugural National Beef Quality Assurance Educator of the Year Award. He has been a BQA Certified Trainer and served on the Nebraska BQA Advisory Board since the program’s inception in 1987. He started the first train-the-trainer sessions in Nebraska and has traveled extensively and has certified over 1,000 producers.

As director, Griffin will develop and oversee the teaching, research, and outreach missions of this landmark partnership. He will also be responsible for shaping the program at WT and solidifying collaborations among WT, the CVM, the veterinary profession, the livestock industry, and the other TVMC partnerships. These include strategic partnerships with other Texas A&M University System universities, including Prairie View A&M University, Texas A&M University Kingsville, and Tarleton State University.

“West Texas A&M is in the heart of the beef industry where a third of the nation’s beef is fed and where more and more dairy and swine operations are locating,” said John Sharp, chancellor of the Texas A&M University System. “It is important that Texas A&M provides veterinary support to one of our state’s most important industries. This new hire is the first step in the regional partnerships that ultimately will educate more large animal and rural veterinarians who are badly needed.”

Griffin is joining a talented team of teachers and researchers working across the state in the new initiative. Since 1916, the CVM has educated several thousand talented veterinarians, earning national and worldwide accolades along the way. This past year, the CVM was ranked third in the nation and boasts one of the lowest student debt loads, making it one of the best values in veterinary education in the United States. The TVMC is set to build on the CVM’s long history of success and expand its reach to serve even more Texans. A major thrust will be enhancing pre-veterinary programs, recruiting and mentoring rural and minority students interested in veterinary careers, and strengthening the existing agricultural programs unique to each campus.

“This initiative is ultimately about service to our state. It extends the reach of our highly-ranked College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, while also putting the prospect of a veterinary education on the radar of more students throughout Texas, especially those intending to serve rural communities,” said Michael K. Young, president of Texas A&M.

By building on existing infrastructure, the TVMC is a logical and cost-effective way of reaching out to the communities throughout Texas to better serve their veterinary needs. West Texas A&M—located in the heart of the cattle feeding industry—already operates its own feedlot and is home to the Beef Carcass Research Center and Nance Ranch Teaching and Research Facility.

The new TVMC partnership will provide opportunities for collaboration with West Texas livestock industry aimed at improving animal and human health. Prairie View A&M’s International Goat Research Center is one of the largest and oldest small animal ruminant programs in the nation and an important resource to the growing Texas sheep and goat industries. The TVMC will work with Prairie View educators to improve research and undergraduate education in small acreage animal health, public health, and the global One Health Initiative.

“Dr. Griffin is the ideal individual to direct the TVMC partnership at WT,” said Dr. Eleanor M. Green, Carl B. King dean of veterinary medicine at the CVM. “He has extensive professional experience in livestock health and veterinary education, and he has the personal attributes to ensure success.  He is well-respected and well liked widely within the veterinary profession and the livestock industries. Additionally, he will be an important role model and mentor for students seeking veterinary careers in large animal fields and in the rural communities in Texas.”

In South Texas, Texas A&M-Kingsville runs the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, which the TVMC will use as a base to expand its efforts in deer and wildlife medicine. Tarleton State already operates its own dairy and has deep ties with the local dairy industry, a logical place for the TVMC to reach out to Texas’s dairy producers. In addition, both Texas A&M-Kingsville and Tarleton State have strong veterinary technology programs that will benefit from an enhanced partnership with the TVMC.

One of the main goals of TVMC is to recruit rural students interested in veterinary medicine who may one day return to serve the veterinary needs of their communities. Thus, the TVMC is dedicated to expanding and enhancing each campus’s pre-veterinary programs, including increased hands-on and mentorship opportunities. By offering more undergraduate opportunities to work with the CVM faculty, Texas A&M hopes to prepare promising future rural veterinarians for entrance and funnel a more diverse class of talented students to the TVMC.

"West Texas A&M University has a rich history of serving the livestock industries located in the Texas Panhandle and beyond. This partnership with TVMC and the addition of Dr. Griffin to our faculty will enhance our ability to serve the feedlot industries, allied industries associated with feedlot operations and the students who seek a world class education at WT, “ said Dean E. Hawkins, the dean of agriculture and natural sciences at WT. “Ultimately this partnership will benefit all of the stakeholders served by TVMC, the Texas A&M Sysytem, and WT. This partnership fits perfectly with our departmental mission to serve Texas. We are ecstatic that Dr. Griffin will join our team.”

The timing of the TVMC launch coincides with the opening of the CVM’s new, state-of-the-art Veterinary and Biomedical Education Complex (VBEC) in College Station, TX. In August 2016, the CVM will move into these new facilities, which provide the most current in veterinary educational innovations and technology. For many years, the size of the existing CVM facilities has limited incoming classes to 132 students. The new VBEC will allow the CVM increase its class size immediately and continually adjust to the ever-changing needs of Texas well into the future.

“What a tremendous opportunity to continue to serve the livestock industry,” Griffin said. “I am envious of the next generations of veterinarians willing to serve cattle and the rural communities in which most have their roots.  From my perspective the future is bright for those willing to dedicate their professional lives to the livestock industry.  With great excitement, my wife and I look forward to coming back to the Panhandle area.”

In its 100th year, the CVM is uniquely poised to revolutionize veterinary education and medicine to serve the unique needs of every Texas community.

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For more information about the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, please visit our website at vetmed.tamu.edu or join us on Facebook.

Contact Information: Megan Palsa, mpalsa@cvm.tamu.edu, 979-862-4216, 979-421-3121 (cell)



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