View from Our Interim Chair

Chris Sanchez

Chris Sanchez, DVM, PhD, DACVIM

The Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences is one of two clinical departments in our college. The Department’s mission in education and research in the areas of aquatic, equine and food animal health is accomplished through clinical services in; Anesthesiology,  Aquaculture, Food Animal Reproduction and Medicine, Medicine, Surgery and Theriogenology. The Department also collaborates with the Diagnostic and Ophthalmology clinical services in the college. Our clinical services maintain a caseload commensurate to the profession’s   expectations for clinical instruction of veterinary students during their large animal clerkships. It also serves the same purpose for interns and residents throughout their specialty training.

We have a state-of-the-art large animal hospital that is a major referral center for the entire Southeast region with an emphasis on diagnosis and treatment of diseases in horses. The Food Animal Reproduction and Medicine Service uses the farm setting to train students, interns and residents in food animal production medicine and disease prevention practices.  Aquatic Animal Health is a multi-disciplinary program in which expertise in medicine and pathology is combined with a strong knowledge base in agriculture (i.e. aquaculture), natural resources, fisheries and environmental sciences.

To enhance the readiness of our students to enter practice, three unique programs have been developed within the Department. The certificate programs in Aquaculture, Food Animal Medicine and International Medicine offer a credentialing process (15 credits) that documents students’ intensive study and expertise in these emerging areas of veterinary medicine. The Practice Based Equine Clerkship (PBEC) is a collaborative effort with veterinarians across Florida. The PBEC program provides an experiential learning environment with on-farm primary care experience with horses (and other large animals if applicable) in physical examinations, diagnosis, treatment, herd health, routine surgery, medicine, and practice management. Some 50 veterinarians across the state are currently enrolled as Courtesy Assistant Professors in the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences in this program.

The scope of extension and outreach activities is essential to the mission of land grant universities such as the University of Florida. There are six faculty members in the Department engaged in extension. Our extension veterinarians play important roles in connecting their research and those of the Department to Florida’s aquatic animal, equine, cattle and poultry industry. They also maintain a high level of engagement with these stakeholders and are well-connected with other faculty members within the Department and the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS).

To achieve excellence in the instruction of veterinary students, interns and residents, clinical experience and research must be integrated as teaching tools. The practice of this philosophy has made the Department unique with its research productivity, collegiality and integration with IFAS and the College of Medicine. Few other Colleges of Veterinary Medicine have such a functional integrated program.

We recognize that there is a changing academic landscape of diminishing financial support with greater expectations from faculty.  As chair of the Department, I look forward to working with our talented faculty and staff to cultivate a financially sustainable environment that meets their needs, as well as those of our students, stakeholders, clients and patients.